CHILD CUSTODY & VISITATION
Legal custody and physical custody of children are two separate concepts that are often confused.
Legal custody is decision-making power. It is the right and responsibility to make major decisions concerning your child. Such decisions include, but are not limited to, consent to marry, consent to enter military service, consent to obtain a driver’s license, authorization for health care and choice of school and religion.
Physical custody is the right and responsibility of a parent to have the child physically reside with him/her. When a parent has physical custody of their child, that parent has the right to make routine, daily decisions regarding the child’s care. Sole physical custody means the child lives with one parent continually and has limited or no visitation with the other parent. Primary physical custody means the child lives with one parent the majority of the time, while the other parent has more liberal visitation. Joint or shared physical custody means the child resides with each parent on a frequent basis.
Decisions regarding legal and physical custody of children can be very complicated and even contentious, due to the emotional involvement of the parties. When parents cannot agree on custody, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child.
At Fulcher Koontz Law, we offer guidance and advise our clients as they work through legal and physical custody issues, including modification of prior custody orders. Custody agreements are often reached, but occasionally these issues must be litigated. The Fulcher Koontz Law firm will help you determine the most efficient means for a fair resolution.
The Best Interest of the Child is the standard courts use to determine custody issues. Courts believe that in most cases, children benefit from the active involvement of both parents in their lives. In the event that both parents cannot agree on a plan for child custody, the court will make the final decision.
Depending on the age of the child, the court will often consider the child’s wishes when making its custody decision. However, child custody is determined by what is in the “best interest” of the child. The court also considers that either overruling or granting the child’s wishes could be against the child’s best interest. Such a determination depends on the child’s age and maturity.
Child support in Idaho is determined using the Idaho Child Support Guidelines (ICSG). This complex formula considers each parent’s income, the custody arrangement, and certain other expenses. The ICSG formula produces a payment amount, which is incorporated into a child support order. The payment of child support in Idaho is facilitated through the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare.
Child support is just that – support for the child’s well-being. It is not intended to fund the lifestyle of the custodial parent. A child support order may be modified, based on a parent’s “material” or significant change in circumstances, such as a loss or gain in income or custody.
We Strive to Reduce Conflict and Promote Resolution
Custody and support issues can be stressful and frightening. We understand you love your children and want what is best for them. At Fulcher Koontz Law, we will listen with compassion to your story. We will treat you with respect as we work with you to resolve your custody and support disputes. We strive to minimize conflict, reduce emotional stress, and promote productive communication between parties so they can reach an agreement. However, we will aggressively represent you if conflict is unavoidable.
Let’s Discuss the Results You Want to Achieve
Call FULCHER KOONTZ LAW at (208) 888-9980 or send us an e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.