Idaho Child Support Lawyers
Are you a parent that has child support concerns? No matter the problem, a family law attorney can provide you with valuable information and help you navigate the ins and outs of your case. Click or call to schedule a free lawyer consultation with one of the child custody attorneys at Lovan Roker & Rounds, P.C.
Idaho child support issues are settled in magistrate court and decisions are based on the application of rules and child support guidelines applied to the specific facts of one’s case. Generally, the amount of money that is ordered to be paid is based upon the income of the parties, the number of children that are being supported, and the custody scheudle. Child support orders remain in effect until the child reaches the age of maturity unless there are special circumstances that may prolong it.
In the case of married couples that are in the midst of a divorce, the divorce decree will specify custody and visitation, as well as child support amounts. These cases can be settled voluntarily or with the assistance of a lawyer or a mediator. If the parents cannot come to a mutual decision, then the court will make a decision based on the facts and law presented to the Court.
When single mothers are seeking child support, the first step is to legally establish the paternity of the father. If the alleged father does not cooperate, the mother will need to sue to establish paternity. Most likely, the next step will be for a judge to order the alleged father to take a DNA test. Once paternity is established, the court will issue a child support order in the best interest of the child; similarly to what happens during a divorce.
In Bartosz v. Jones, 146 Idaho 449, 197 P.3d 310 (Idaho 2008) the Supreme Court of Idaho observed that “In Idaho, the child's best interest is of paramount importance in child custody decisions.” The Bartosz Court went on to note that “The [best interest] standard is set forth in Idaho Code § 32-717, which provides that a ‘court may, before and after judgment, give such direction for the custody, care and education of the children ... as may seem necessary or proper in the best interests of the children.’” The Idaho Supreme Court underscored the fact that “The statute gives trial courts wide discretion in making custody determinations, but it requires them to consider all relevant factors when evaluating the best interest of the child.” However, the Idaho Supreme Court’s holding in Nelson v. Nelson, 144 Idaho 710, 715, 170 P.3d 375, 380 (2007), notes that the list of best interest factors at I.C. § 32-717(1)(a)-(g) is not exhaustive or mandatory and courts are free to consider other factors that may be relevant. Essentially, “Idaho Code § 32-717 provides a framework for the trial court in determining the best interests of the children in making a custody decision." Brownson v. Allen, 134 Idaho 60, 63, 995 P.2d 830, 833 (2000).
When it comes to child support, general factors that may affect the child support amount are the custodial parent's income, the needs of the children, and the amount of visitation that the non-custodial parent has. It is important to note, although child support is usually ruled on simultaneously with child custody and visitation, they are not mutually dependent on one another. Furthermore, even if the custodial parent decides to wrongfully withhold visitation, the noncustodial parent must still pay child support.
If the parents or children relocate, the order becomes a multi-jurisdictional issue. In this event, the custodial parent will have to rely on the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to make sure that he or she continues to receive support payments. This Act provides the mechanisms for multi-jurisdictional child support enforcement, so that a child support order issued in one state to be enforced in the courts of another state.
Payments should never be given directly to the custodial parent. This protects the noncustodial parent in the event that proof of child support payment is needed; informal contracts between parents are not recognized. Unfortunately, there are situations where the noncustodial parent does not comply with the child support order and neglects his or her duty. In these cases, steps need to be made through the appropriate channels (private attorney, the courts, or a local government agency), to collect the funds through more aggressive methods like garnishing wages, seizing bank accounts, and placing a lien on any real estate that the noncustodial parent may own; just to name a few. If you are facing a child support issue, whether you are a divorced or single parent, a family law attorney can help you by providing you with important information as well representing you in the child support proceedings. They will work to get the best result for the entry of a child support order, enforcement of an existing order – including collecting child support arrears, in establishing or disproving paternity, modifying child support (increasing child support, decreasing child support), or in fighting against a claimed amount for support.
If you are facing a child support issue, including being named in a complaint by Idaho Health and Welfare Child Support Services, it is highly advisable that you consult with an experienced Idaho child support lawyer. The child support lawyers at Lovan Roker & Rounds, P.C. provide a free legal consultation, click or call today to schedule a time to meet with one of our attorneys.