Family law is a field of law that covers a range of issues involving family relationships. Such family issues range from marriage dissolution to termination of parental rights, and some of these topics can get complex without the legal assistance of a Nampa family law attorney.
Whether you are going through a divorce, wish to have a legal name change, or seeking child custody in a divorce, it is in your best interest to work with a qualified and experienced family law attorney. Some of the issues under family law, including divorce, often get contentious and you’re faced with tough decisions.
At Boise Family Law, our experienced and certified family law attorneys in Nampa, Idaho are ready to help you with any case. Reach out to us today at 208-504-2837 to evaluate your case and advise on the best way forward.
Table of Contents
What Qualifies as A Family Law Case?
Family cases are types of civil cases that generally involve issues concerning spouses, children, and parents. Family law in Idaho governs various cases involving domestic matters. Some of the most common family law cases in Idaho include:
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
Divorce or marriage dissolution refers to the process in which a couple terminates their marriage. To be eligible for divorce in Idaho, you must have resided in the state for at least 6 weeks before filing. Generally, divorce can be categorized into contested and uncontested divorce.
Contested divorce refers to that which a couple is unable to agree on the majority of issues involving the divorce, including getting divorced at all, child custody, alimony, and division of property. Many divorce cases start out as contested, but later become uncontested as the spouses work out disagreements. Generally, contested divorces take longer as they go to trial for a judge to make a decision for the couple.
Uncontested divorces refer to cases where both parties agree on the majority of issues involving the divorce. Both spouses consent to the arrangements and terms of the divorce. Such divorces will usually go through quickly compared to contested divorces as they don’t require a trial, discovery, or other lengthy legal procedures.
Parental Rights, Child Custody, And Child Support
Family law also covers parental rights, which include the parents’ duty and right to nurture their children’s destiny through upbringing and education. However, parental rights can be terminated in cases of abandonment, neglect, abuse, incarceration of the parent, inability to discharge parental responsibilities, or where a court establishes that the presumptive parent isn’t the biological parent of the child and that it is in the child’s best interest to terminate parental rights.
In cases of divorce, child custody and support are some of the issues that family law helps solve. If spouses can’t agree on these issues prior to the divorce, a court may have to decide which parent takes custody of the children (sole custody) or where the parents will share custody of the children (joint custody).
Child support is also another important issue in divorce, and is usually influenced by child custody and the financial capabilities of the spouses. Idaho uses the income model to calculate how much each parent will contribute to child support, which is dependent on the financial strength and earning capabilities of the spouses.
Spousal Support and Alimony Agreements
Spousal support, also called alimony or maintenance, refers to the allowance provided by one spouse to the other in divorce if one spouse won’t be financially stable in the absence of the other spouse. If spouses can’t agree on spousal support issues, a family court judge will help decide which spouse qualifies to receive alimony, how much they should receive, and how long the alimony will be paid.
Legal Name Changes in Idaho
Both adults and children can legally change their name through a name change case at an Idaho family court. A family law attorney can guide you through the requirements for a name change, and advise you on what to do after the name change. Legal name change will involve many processes during and after the process, and the counsel of a family law attorney will go a long way.
In Idaho, one spouse may file a request for a full protection order in cases of domestic violence, which includes causing physical injury, committing sexual abuse, committing forced imprisonment, or threatening to do any of these. A court may also grant restraining orders against a family member, spouse, or someone you’ve been dating if you feel harassed, stalked, or in danger.
An Idaho court will grant a restraining order or a full protection order after a full order court hearing, which the victim must attend. A restraining order is granted to cut off all contact and communication between the abuser and the victim. In the case of a married couple, a restraining order can award child custody, establish a visitation schedule, grant child support, and award spousal support.
DSS Cases & Adoption
These are cases that involve child abuse and neglect. Through such cases, parents may lose parental rights if they are found to have abused or neglected their child. In case someone else is looking to become a legal parent of the child, the family court could grant adoption to legally create a parent-child relationship.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Idaho?
Under Idaho law, couples can terminate their marriage through both a no-fault and a fault-based divorce. A no-fault divorce refers to that which both spouses agree that their relationship is irreparable or they are no longer compatible.
In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove that the other spouse engaged in any form of misconduct, leading to the divorce. Some the grounds for divorce in Idaho include:
- Extreme cruelty
- Willful neglect: A husband has failed to provide for his wife for at least one year.
- Willful desertion: One spouse has lived away from the other for more than a year in a bid to abandon the marriage.
- Habitual intemperance or drug addiction for at least one year.
- Felony conviction
- Legal or permanent insanity
How Do You Start the Divorce Process?
The simplest way to go about divorce is an uncontested divorce. If spouses can agree on most of the issues, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support, then the process can be shorter and less costly.
Generally, the divorce process in Idaho begins by preparing a Complaint for Divorce along with other forms that can be accessed through the Idaho Judicial Branch’s website. If yours is an uncontested divorce, one of the documents to be filed is a marital settlement agreement, which details the division of property and agreement regarding children if you have any.
The prepared documents are then filed with an Idaho family court and copies of the same provided to the other spouse. You are required to attend a court hearing, and the judge will ensure that all the paperwork is properly done, probably ask a few questions, and then enter your Decree of Divorce.
How Does the Division of Property Work in Idaho?
Idaho has community property laws, meaning that all marital property, or property acquired by either spouse during marriage, is subject to division in divorce. In some divorce cases, some couples may agree on how to divide property and in some contested cases, a court may intervene and make a decision.
Regardless of whether property division is contested or uncontested, there are three vital steps to this process:
· Establishing whether the property is community or separate
· Establishing the value of community property
· Deciding how to divide the property
After determining which property is subject to division and assigning a monetary value to each item, what follows is dividing the property. Property division can take various forms, like assigning a certain item of property to each spouse or selling the assets and splitting the proceeds. This also applies to debts, and couples have to decide on how to pay the debts accrued during the marriage, including mortgages, credit card debts, and car loans.
How Is Child Custody Decided?
Child custody refers to how the children’s time will be divided between parent (physical custody) and how decisions regarding the children will be made (legal custody). In most cases, parents will be granted joint custody, meaning that each spouse will have significant periods of time to spend with their child. Further, both parents will share the authority and responsibility of making decisions regarding the child’s welfare.
A judge will consider the following before arriving at a specific custody order:
· The wishes of each spouse and the child
· The child’s relationship with the parents and siblings
· The character and circumstances of all involved parties
· The child’s adjustment to school, home, and community
· Any records of domestic violence.
What Is Alimony and How Is It Decided?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or maintenance, refers to the payment made by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. Mostly, alimony is awarded to a spouse who is not likely to be financially stable without the help of the other spouse. An Idaho court can order temporary support (during divorce and after), rehabilitative (fixed-duration), or permanent support.
To determine whether the requesting spouse qualifies for alimony, a court will look at the following factors:
- The requesting spouse’s financial resources, including marital property award after divorce, and their ability to cater to their own financial needs
- The time needed for the requesting spouse to regain their earning capability
- The length of the marriage
- The requesting spouse’s age and health
- The other spouse’s ability to meet their own financial needs while paying alimony
- Marital misconduct.
Based on these factors, a judge will decide whether one spouse is eligible to receive alimony and how much they can get from the other spouse. Since there’s no set calculation for the alimony amount in Idaho, the judge will set a maintenance award based on the factors highlighted.
Call Our Nampa Family Law Attorneys Now for a Free Consultation
Family cases like divorce, child custody, and alimony are common under family law and often get contentious. Working with a Nampa family law attorney help you avoid lengthy court procedures and make decisions that are in your best interest as well as your spouse’s and the children’s interest.
If you’re looking to begin your divorce, name change, or any other process under family law, it is important that you speak to a family law attorney first. Our proficient and experienced Nampa family law attorneys at Boise Family Law can get through any process related to family law with minimal hassle.