Idaho law encourages parents to work out custody arrangements themselves before bringing the issue to court. If they cannot come to an agreement, courts make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child. The courts typically favor joint custody unless there is evidence of domestic violence.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a detailed, written agreement that sets out how divorcing parents will share legal and physical custody of their children. In Idaho, parents must submit a parenting plan to the court before their divorce is approved. If parents cannot agree on a plan, they must submit separate, proposed parenting plans. The court may also order mediation (a dispute resolution process) if the parents cannot come to an agreement.

What Does the Court Consider in Assigning Custody?

Idaho courts balance a series of factors when determining the best interest of a child.  These factors include:

  • The depth and quality of the parent-child relationship,
  • The physical and mental health of the child and parents,
  • The child’s connection to his or her home, school, and community,
  • The strength of the child’s relationships with his or her siblings,
  • The parents’ conduct and character,
  • Evidence of child abuse or spousal abuse,
  • The child’s reasonable preference (if age appropriate), and
  • The parents’ wishes.

 A parent’s gender is not considered as a factor. The court also cannot discriminate against disabled parents. If there is concern about a disabled parent’s ability to raise his or her child, the parent can present evidence of their capability. In a custody dispute, a guardian ad litem may be assigned to advocate for the child and help assess his or her best interests.

What Happens When the Court Has Made a Decision?

Once the parenting plan and divorce order are approved, they are filed with the court clerk. Both parents are then bound by the approved custody order and the court must approve any modification of the plan.

Should I Contact an Idaho Lawyer Regarding my Custody Issues?

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and require a detailed understanding of the law. If you have concerns about custody and parenting time, it is important that you speak with an experienced family law attorney. A child custody lawyer will help advocate for you and your child and work to secure the best possible parenting arrangement for your family.