Idaho Child Custody
As parents, our primary duty is to make sure that our children's needs are adequately met. The law of Idaho recognizes this parental duty. Idaho, like most other states, has enacted child support "Guidelines". These guidelines provide a logical and unbiased "formula" for determining the parents' support obligations. Their use determines how much monthly support is paid, how the parents share the children's health insurance, health care and daycare costs, and how any tax benefits are shared.
Child Support is always an issue when two people who have children together do not live together. Although there are some cases in which a child support order is unnecessary, those cases are very rare. In virtually all cases a reasonable and appropriate child support order benefits not only the child but both parents as well. A child support order clearly defines what each parent's financial obligation is to the children. It provides both parents with a "yardstick" which can be used to determine whether each parent is meeting his or her parental and legal obligation to support the children.
The Guidelines include a formula that is based on what the mother earns, what the father earns, and the schedule on which the parties share time with their children. The formula, when properly applied, fairly allocates between the parents the financial responsibility for meeting the needs of the children. It recognizes that the "custodial" parent spends more money on the children each month than the support that he or receives from the other parent in that month.
Our philosophy concerning child support is simple.
- The needs of the children are paramount to those of both parents.
- A child support order that includes a monthly amount that is too high hurts the children. Because the amount has been set too high, the parent who owes the excessive support often does not have the ability to support himself or herself adequately or to provide adequately for the children when they are in his or her care.
- A child support order that includes a monthly amount that is too low likewise hurts the children. The "custodial" parent often cannot, despite the monthly child support that is received, adequately provide for the children.
- Seeking custody of the children solely for the purpose of avoiding having to pay the other parent or minimizing child support is shortsighted. Mathematically, it would be cheaper for a parent to let the children live with the other parent and to pay full monthly support to the other parent. The "savings" (in the form of a reduced monthly child support amount) are most often less than the additional costs the parent will incur on a day-to-day basis for clothing, transportation, extra utility costs, school registration fees, lunch tickets, food, entertainment and other costs. If the monthly outgo is what is important, a parent is often better off letting the children live with the other parent and by paying full child support. The schedule on which the parents share time with the children should be decided based on what is best for the children; it should not be determined because of a desire to receive support for the other parent or to minimize support payments to the other parent.