Harrison & Smyth, P.A.

How Long Does A Divorce Typically Take To Get Finalized?

A final divorce decree can happen in as little as 30 days, but depending on the case, can be stretched out for one or two years. If both parties are basically in agreement when they come into our office and have not hired another attorney, we can draft a stipulation, wait 20 days then file for divorce. The court will then finalize the divorce in a matter of days to weeks.

If the parties are not in agreement and need separate attorneys, then typically the process is longer. There may be some hearings involved prior to getting temporary custody orders or some kind of maintenance agreement in place. Idaho has a requirement of mandatory disclosure. Mandatory disclosures essentially require the parties to share information necessary to calculate child support accurately. Within a couple of months of completing mandatory disclosure are done, there is often a status conference held where the court will set out future dates for discovery and/or whether we need to set a date for mediation or pretrial conferences. The time it takes to complete this entire process is dictated by how willing the parties are to come to some sort of an agreement. If the parties go from filing the paperwork all the way through trial, it would likely take a year or more to complete.

How Is Child Support Handled In Idaho?

Child support in Idaho is based on a formula to determine how much money one parent needs to pay the other parent for the support of the children. The formula takes into account how many children the parties have, how much time each of the children spends with each parent, how much money each parent makes, and whether either parent has other dependents to care for other than the parties’ biological children.

There is not much wiggle room in determining child support payments unless both parties come to an agreement on how much child support the other should pay. It is important to point out that, even if both parties come to an agreement of how much child support they are going to pay, the reality is that if that child support is not compliant with Idaho child support guidelines, it can be easily undone at any time.

Courts in Idaho have held that child support payments that are not in compliance with Idaho child support guidelines constitute a sufficient reason to reopen a case and modify the original order, regardless of what the parties may have agreed to beforehand. So, if you agree to a certain amount of child support to negotiate something that you want, the courts can change the child support amounts under the agreement if the other party files for a modification due to incorrect child support payments. As a result, we generally advise our clients to comply with Idaho’s child support guidelines and not make child support a point of negotiation.

How Is Child Custody Decided In Idaho?

Custody is decided on the basis of what is in the best interests of the child. Generally speaking, the court is going to look at a list of six factors, but it is not an exclusive list. Those six factors include the parent’s wishes regarding where they want the child to live; who the child wants to live with; how well the relationship of the parents or other siblings with that child; how the child adjusts to the home, school and community; the character and circumstances of the individuals involved; and the degree of continuity and stability in the child’s life. So the courts look at all of these factors and make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Another way that custody is decided is when the parties themselves come to some kind of an agreement on custody. Unfortunately, this is often a contentious issue. Part of how custody gets negotiated is by knowing what a court would do if you had to go to trial to decide custody. One of the realities of Idaho is that the courts prefer parents to have joint legal and joint physical custody. Legal custody is essentially the authority to make decisions on the child’s behalf. This means that one parent cannot make a major life decision on behalf of the child without the consent of the other parent. That rarely gets taken away from one of the parents, unless there is some very bad conduct on their part. Physical custody, on the other hand, deals with where the child will live.

Depending on the age of the children, their specific needs and any unique circumstances that might apply, the courts prefer that one party has primary physical custody of the children and the other party has the right to exercise regular visitation. In practice, this essentially means that one parent will have the children living with them most of the time while the other parent will have the child approximately every other weekend, some overnights during the week, during part of the summer, and every other holiday. Again, the parties can agree to different custody arrangements, but it is going to require some degree of compromise between the parties to get to that agreement.

When Can Somebody Seek To Modify A Prior Custody Order?

There are a number of circumstances where you might want to modify a prior custody order. If either you or your ex-spouse has moved to a different state, if a spouse refuses to follow the current custody order, if you or your ex-spouse has had a significant change in circumstances, if you have children who are older and want to have the order changed; these are all reasons to modify. There are some things to consider prior to seeking a modification of a prior custody order. Generally speaking, parents love their children and want to spend as much time with them as possible. However, once a custody order is in place, and particularly where the order has been in place for a significant period of time such that life is stabilized for those children, any modification to that order will be a disruption to their lives. Thus, you should be very careful and thoughtful about your reasons for seeking a modification.

We encourage our clients to think about their motives for why they want a modification. Perhaps you genuinely want to spend more time with your children, maybe your or your ex-spouse’s circumstances have changed, or maybe you are trying to reduce or increase child support payment. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure that you are looking at it from the perspective of what is best for your children rather than what is best for yourself.

For more information on Timeline Of Divorce In Idaho, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (208) 552-1165 today.


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