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Co-Parenting In Idaho: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Idaho Resources for Parental Rights and Responsibilities

One of the basic elements of co-parenting is that each parent holds specific rights and responsibilities that must be respected. Idaho provides a wealth of resources for parents to be informed of the laws and legal expectations in regards to child custody and parental rights. The Idaho state government website provides information on laws and processes related to parenting, and the court website has a comprehensive library of court forms available, including those related to co-parenting and parental rights.


Idaho Law Regarding Child Custody and Visitation

Idaho law outlines the rights of physical and legal custody of parents, as well as the rights of grandparents. Generally speaking, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child in determining custody. The law also outlines standards to be used in determining which parent should be entitled to custody. For both legal and physical custody, the court will consider the following factors:

  • the wishes of the child's parent or parents
  • the wishes of the child, taking into consideration the child's maturity and ability to express his or her own wishes
  • the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests
  • the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • the mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent
  • evidence of past or present abuse by either parent
  • whether either parent has knowingly failed to pay court-ordered child support

The Idaho state statutes (§ 32-717) set forth the parameters of visitation and how it can be affected by circumstances. If the court determines that there is a substantial risk of harm to the child, the court may deny visitation or impose reasonable conditions or restrictions on visitation. Examples of such risks include, but are not limited to, an active criminal court case against one of the parents; a history of domestic abuse, especially when committed against the child or one of the parents; evidence of domestic violence, abuse or neglect between the parents; substance abuse; or any mental, emotional, or physical illness or condition that could affect the child’s safety or emotional, physical or mental health.


Idaho Child Support Guidelines

Idaho child support is calculated by the court according to a set of guidelines. These guidelines use income, the number of children, the cost of health insurance, the cost of work-related childcare, and other factors to determine the amount of child support that each parent is responsible for. The amount of maintenance and support will be made in high enough amounts to cover the needs of the child so that they can enjoy the standard of living they did prior to the divorce, or as close to it as is practical. (§ 32-704). The parent obligated to pay child support can make certain voluntary deductions from gross income to arrive at a more accurate net income. (§ 32-705).



Idaho Parental Rights and Decisions

The court bases decisions relating to the child’s welfare on the child’s best interests. Idaho law allows for the granting of joint legal and physical custody, or the granting of sole physical custody or sole legal custody. If the court grants joint legal custody, both parents will have the same rights and responsibilities when making decisions regarding the child’s welfare. If the court grants joint physical custody, the child will have significant and continuing contact with both parents. If the court grants joint physical custody, both parents must be able to provide an adequate home environment for the child. If the court grants sole physical custody, the custodial parent will make decisions regarding the welfare of the child, but the non-custodial parent willstill be able to exercise visitation rights. (§ 32-717C).



Idaho Co-Parenting Expenses

Parents sharing custody of a child are both responsible for the child’s reasonable expenses, including reasonable medical and dental expenses, day care and educational expenses, and reasonable travel expenses for reasonable visits between the parent and child. In determining which parent is responsible for certain expenses, the court will consider the following factors:


  • the financial resources of both parents;
  • the relative abilities of the parents to contribute toward the expenses;
  • the amount of time each parent has physical custody; and
  • whether either parent receives public assistance.

The court may enter an order providing for one parent to pay certain reasonable expenses directly to the third party who has provided the services, or to the other parent for reimbursement for the services. (§ 32-718).


Idaho Parenting Plan

In Idaho a parenting plan must be submitted to the court as part of the divorce proceedings or to modify prior custody arrangements. Parenting plans should be tailored to the individual situation, taking into consideration all relevant factors. A parenting plan must include provisions for physical custody, legal custody, support, and visitation arrangements. A parenting plan should also include provisions for the child’s spending time with each parent, communication between the parents, transportation, vacations and holidays, dispute resolution, and other issues related to the raising of children. (§ 32-710).


Idaho Visitation Rights

Visitation rights are granted to the non-custodial parent in Idaho, and can take several forms. The court may grant the non-custodial parent reasonable visitation rights, the right to spend certain holidays with the child, and the right to take the child on vacation. Typically, visitation rights will include the right to communicate with the child, by phone or other means, including emails and text messages. Visitation rights may be suspended or restricted by the court if there is a substantial risk of harm to the child or if the non-custodial parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support. (§§ 32-713 and 32-714).


Idaho Mediation for Co-Parenting

In Idaho, mediation can be used for resolving co-parenting disputes. Mediation is a process that allows parents to work together to create a parenting plan to determine the terms of their child’s custodial arrangements. Idaho law requires the court to provide the parents with information regarding mediation and the availability of such services prior to the court’s ruling on custody and parenting plan matters. (§ 32-717A). In addition, the court may order the parents to attend mediation if both parties agree, or if one parent seeks mediation. (§ 32-717B). Mediation is generally viewed as a more civil and less expensive process than litigation, and can provide an opportunity for resolution of the issues in proceedings involving the rights of parents concerning their children.



Co-parenting can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity for both parents to work together to create a healthy and nurturing environment for their child. It is important for both parents to be familiar with the laws of Idaho and the options available to them in order to ensure that their rights and the rights of their child are protected.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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