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Idaho child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Idaho child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Idaho child support determined?

Child support in Idaho is set in compliance with Idaho's Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are like laws. 

They call for a mathematical calculation based upon the gross income of both parents (or attributable income to either parent) which is applied to a sliding scale percentage based upon the number of children to be supported. It is not really a matter of negotiation

At what age does child support payments end?

When the child turns 18 years of age. If the child is still in high school, payments will continue until the child graduates or turns 19, whichever occurs first.

Idaho's custody guidelines:

Yes. The Idaho courts, based on the best interests of the child and the following factors may award joint or sole custody:

  • the preference of the child
  • the wishes of the parents
  • the physical and mental health of all involved
  • the relationship the child has with each family member
  • the child's adjustment to home, school and community settings
  • the need for continuity and stability in the child's life
  • any domestic violence

Joint custody is allowed if the arrangements assure the child will have frequent contact with both parents. In fact, the Idaho courts assume joint custody is the preferred option, unless shown otherwise. If the child lives with a grandparent, the courts may offer that grandparent the same rights as a parent.

Idaho's medical insurance guidelines:

The cost of medical insurance is an item governed by Idaho's Child Support Guidelines. Generally, the parent who can obtain the best, cheapest insurance coverage for the child must do so. The cost of such coverage and any uninsured portion of medical expenses is divided between the parents pro rata based upon their respective incomes. Then, this amount for medical expenses is either treated as a credit against or an addition to child support.

How permanent are the provisions for Idaho child support and custody ?

Child support and custody are always subject to modification upon a showing of a material change in circumstances.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Yes. Idaho like most states, has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. In fact, all child support orders in Idaho contain provisions for enforcing the order by income withholding if the payments become over one month late.

Income withholding works the same way income tax is withheld from earnings payments. This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

The current thinking or national trend is to encourage parents to work together for the best interests of their children. Joint custody is now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan for divorcing parents. In fact, the Idaho courts assume joint custody is the preferred option, unless shown otherwise.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children. Idaho presumes that joint custody is in the child's best interest.

While it is a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities and major decisions affecting the children, it rarely works out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Usually one parent is named as the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The primary joint custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

How Idaho determines child visitation:

Visitation is either subject to a negotiated agreement of the parents or an order of the court in the event the parents are unable to agree. The court will consider all relevant facts and circumstances in establishing a visitation schedule.

 A standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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