Idaho Child Custody Laws

Parents who choose to divorce or legally separate have a lot to consider. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you prepare yourself for the decision you will have to make. Your child custody agreement will play a huge role in the lives of both you and your co-parent, as well as your kids. For this reason, it is important that you know what to expect as you work out your agreement. You should educate yourself on child custody laws in Idaho so that you are prepared for your case.

Creating child custody agreements

In Idaho, parents are first given the opportunity to create their own agreement on how they wish to share custody. If they cannot come to an agreement on both legal and physical custody, a judge will work out the agreement for them. While making this determination, a judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child by examining several factors. Some of these include the wishes of both parents and the child, the relationship the child has with each parent, and the relationship that the child has with their siblings or other children of either parent. Other factors that are examined include the stability of each household and how well suited each parent is to be responsible for their child. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, child visitation in Idaho may be considered and will be determined based on similar factors.

If one of the parents has a disability that could affect their ableness to parent, Idaho law will still consider giving custody rights to that parent. A disabled parent must demonstrate to the court that they have the equipment or other supportive services which help them in caring properly for their children. Parents who serve in the military are also not out of the running when it comes to being granted child custody. In Idaho, being a member of the military or being called to duty is not considered to be a great change in circumstance for a parent, so this would not affect parent’s chance of being granted custodial rights.

Types of child custody recognized in Idaho

At the beginning of every case, Idaho child custody laws favor joint custody. They are happy to award parents joint legal and/or physical custody as long as there is evidence to support that this is in the child’s best interests. Joint legal custody in Idaho would mean that both parents are legally responsible for making major decisions regarding the child’s life on matters like education and health care. Joint physical custody in Idaho means that both parents are physically responsible for the daily care and wellbeing of the child. If agreed upon by all parties involved, parents can formulate their own parenting time arrangement to best suit the needs of their family. If not, the court will determine the parenting time arrangement for the parents.

Modifying child custody agreements

In Idaho, it is possible for changes to be made to agreements for both child custody and child support, but only under certain circumstances. One reason that may call for a child custody change is if a parent is moving somewhere that would significantly disrupt the child's current schedule. While this is true, it does not apply to situations in which a parent, who is a member of the Idaho National Guard, has been called to active duty. Another reason that would justify a child custody change in Idaho is when there has been a significant change to the lifestyle of a parent that is affecting the child. This could mean that there is a big change in parent's work schedule or a change in the child's level of safety in a parent's home. On the other hand, a child support order can be modified in certain instances such as if there is a large change in a parent's level of income, or if there is a change in a parent's ability to work. In any case in which some aspect of the agreement must be changed, it can only be done by a court order. To grant the proposed change, the court must agree that it fits the child's best interests. 

If you are a resident of the state of Idaho and are considering divorce or legal separation, please consult an attorney for legal guidance and more information. This information is not meant to serve as legal advice. For family law attorneys and other professionals in your area, check out our Idaho state resources page. No matter what the case may be, the OurFamilyWizard website is dedicated to helping co-parents manage their child custody arrangements, as well as provide a communication platform for the entire family. 


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.