Idaho Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Idaho and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Idaho courts.
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
It is usually best for parents to try and work together on their custody agreement. This is especially true when the parents are trying joint custody arrangements.
If you and the other parent are able to agree on custody, the court will accept your agreement. If the arrangements are contested, you can present a proposed agreement to the court, but the judge will determine the final custody arrangements.
Incorporating the laws and statutes of the State into your parenting plan while including the proper components and writing the plan with the best interests of the child in mind will ensure your plan is more likely to be successfully approved by the court.
The State of Idaho has specific laws pertaining to child custody and visitation that should be taken into account when creating a parenting plan. These laws can be found in the Idaho Statutes, Title 32, Domestic Relations.
Chapter 7 of Title 32 contains the laws regarding child custody in divorce actions. These laws apply to non-married parents, as well. Included in Chapter 7 are the definitions of custody terms, the factors the court finds relevant when ruling on child custody cases, and many other correlating laws.
Section 32-717B and 32-717A of the Idaho Statutes have some good information about joint custody in the state:
- Idaho courts have a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of a child, unless there is a history of domestic violence in the family.
- Joint physical custody means an order awarding each parent significant periods of time in which the child resides with or is under the care and supervision of the parent. This means that each parent should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, but not necessarily split the child's time equally.
- Joint legal custody is a judicial determination that the parents are required to share the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education, and general welfare of the child.
- Joint custody means an order awarding custody of the child or children to both parents. The court can award joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both as is best for the child.
- Even if joint custody is not granted, both parents shall have access to the child's records and information. This includes medical, dental, health, and school or educational records. Information concerning the child's address can be deleted from the records if the custodial parent has advised the people keeping the records in writing.
Unless you have very compelling reasons why joint custody is not best for your child, you will most likely make a joint custody agreement in the state of Idaho. This certainly affects all aspects of the agreement.
When creating a parenting plan in the State of Idaho, there are certain elements that should be included and these features of the parenting plan (requested by the District Courts in the State of Idaho) are:
- A statement acknowledging that the parents agree that it is beneficial for the child to have frequent and continuing contact with each of them
- A statement recognizing that the well-being and needs of the child are a major concern to both parents
- A statement agreeing that each parent will meet the basic physical needs of the child by providing the child with adequate amounts of nutritious food, clean and weather appropriate clothing, and any necessary medical treatments and/or examinations, when the child is in their immediate care
- A statement agreeing upon the importance of parenting the child by making day to day decisions involving the child's care when the child is in the respective parent's care
- An agreement to be flexible and cooperative with the other parent as the child's situation and future needs evolve as the child grows and matures
- An agreement that each parent will teach and expect the child to be respectful of his teachers and of the law
- An agreement that each parent will require the child to attend school until graduation, excused absences excepted
- A child visitation schedule (also called a parenting time schedule) that includes a regular schedule of the days and times the child will spend which each parent
- A holiday and vacation schedule, as well as a schedule for the child to have uninterrupted time with each parent
The "standard" form of the Idaho District Courts also contains options for schedule changing policy, delegating responsibility to one or both parents for making major educational decisions, provisions for parental communication with the child, an agreement with stipulations to maintain the health and safety of the child, and more.
However, the "standard" form is just a guideline and may not contain adequate space to incorporate all of the elements and details the parents may wish to include in the parenting plan.
The State of Idaho considers the best interests of the child to be the determining factor when ruling on custody cases.
Chapter 7 of Title 32 of the Idaho Statues details the factors the court considers when determining the best interests of the child:
- The parents' wishes pertaining to the custody of the child
- The child's wishes as to his or her custodian
- The dynamic of the relationships the child has with each parent and any siblings
- How well the child is acclimated to his or her home, school, and community and the need to maintain stability and promote continuity in the child's life
- The character and circumstances, such as home environment, of all involved parties
- Any evidence of domestic violence, and whether or not any violence was committed in front of the child
- The fitness of each parent and their ability to meet the obligations and responsibilities of raising a child
You should keep these factors in mind when developing your parenting plan / custody agreement so you can create a good plan for your child.
The top thirteen cities in Idaho (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Boise City, Nampa, Meridian, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Caldwell, Twin Falls, Lewiston, Rexburg, Post Falls, Moscow, Eagle.