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Child Custody

I will give you an honest assessment of the legal prospects for establishing your personal objectives. I will tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. I will work diligently to pursue the resolution you seek in matters of child custody, visitation, and child support.

Child custody concerns the living arrangements, education, religion, lifestyle, health care, and values of children. I can help to establish a child custody arrangement that works with the emphasis on what is best for your child or children.

I will help you establish child support according to the Idaho Child Support Guidelines.

Many times when a child is born, the parents are not married to one another. In these cases, the parent who does not have primary custody usually has a duty of support to the child. If the couple cannot or does not want to get married, a court order must be put in place to specify which parent has what rights concerning care, custody, control and support of a child.

There are only certain individuals who may bring a custody suit, and there are timelines that may affect one person’s ability to file such a suit. How the case is approached depends on the facts of each unique case, and therefore a consultation with a family law attorney on child custody issues is necessary.

Modification and Enforcement Suits

If you or your child’s other parent is moving or some other change has occurred that requires a modification, I can advise you and assist you in the process necessary to have those issues addressed by the court. When a parent fails to make child support payments, I can assist in enforcement of child support orders.

There are many reasons to change an original custody order or a final divorce decree that includes child custody provisions. Sometimes a change in residence or new spouses of one parent makes this necessary, and sometimes the safety or development of the child makes filing a modification suit necessary. Some aspects of an order are easily modified, but many aspects are very difficult to modify, and it must be proved to a court that there has been a material and substantial change of circumstances that makes a modification necessary and that the modification is in the best interest of the child. As with original suits, all cases are very unique and specific to their facts, and therefore a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to see if your child custody case is appropriate for filing a modification suit.

Some of the most common reasons people file custody modification suits are:

  • Moving from one state to another.
  • New spouse or boy/girlfriend of one parent has problems with child.
  • Old order no longer works due to new life changes or parent or child.
  • Safety issue regarding child.
  • Change in residence of child from one parent to another.
  • Support issues.
  • Visitation schedule in the Order or Decree is incompatible with one or both parents’ work schedules.
  • Special medical/educational needs of child.
  • Limit/Remove visitation under certain circumstances.

Paternity

Paternity refers to the biological relationship between a child and his/her male parent, and it is an issue that usually arises after parents have decided to end their relationship. When parents decide to break up, and they have a child or children together, several things must be addressed such as child support, child custody, and visitation. In most cases, before these issues can be reviewed and decided upon, the paternity of the child must be proven.

Child paternity can be agreed to by parties but if one party questions the paternity then paternity may need to be established through DNA testing. DNA testing is usually conducted through the examination of blood and/or saliva. If a male participates in a paternity test, and it is determined that he is the father, he will be entitled to certain parental rights. Additionally, he will also have to take on certain parental responsibilities, such as providing for the safety and financial security of the child.

Visitation Rights (Obtain and Enforce)

An original suit must be filed for a father who is not married to the mother of his child to obtain enforceable visitation rights to a child. Also, if a prior custody order was issued by a court without visitation provisions, the father must file a modification in order to attempt to obtain visitation rights. In these cases, a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to determine what you should do, based on your facts and Idaho law. Visitation rights can be enforced against a parent who is not complying with a court order by having an attorney file a contempt motion. There are very specific facts required to file for contempt, and a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to determine if your child custody case is ready for such a motion.

Grandparent Visitation / Custody

Several factors, including one major U.S. Supreme Court case from 1999, affect the ability of grandparents to seek visitation with, or custody of, their grandchildren. These issues are legally complex, and require a consultation with a family law attorney to see if your facts are right under Idaho and federal law to file for visitation with, or custody of, your grandchildren.