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The Law Concerning a Child Support Modification in Idaho

According to the law in Idaho, both parents share legal responsibility for providing support to a child, regardless of who has custody. Additionally each support order is determined with a view towards the most conducive outcome for the child’s quality of life.

However, as circumstances change, for one or both of the parties it may become necessary for you to consider updating the amount of child support ordered. In such instances many parents feel the stress of the situation could be alleviated by hiring the services of a skilled and experienced attorney.

Reasons to Modify a Child Support Order

The obligation for a parent to pay child support ordinarily terminates when a child turns 18 and is no longer attending high school, or turns 19 and remains a current high school student.

A parent may instigate a child support modification in Idaho and change the initial support award if the guidelines affecting the support amount change significantly or in such situations where:

• The circumstances of one parent changes dramatically, such as moving a significant distance increasing transportation costs between parents.
• There has been a change in health care insurance for the minors.
• One parent or both has a substantial pay increase or decrease.
• A parent is not spending the amount of overnights used to calculate the existing child support order.

How to have your child support reviewed.

Idaho Child Support Services may review, at the request of a party the individual circumstances of each parent and the child support order before allowing legal proceedings to take place. Idaho Child Support services is less expensive than using a private attorney, but are limited in when they will review child support and how the modification will be evaluated. The State typically sends out a questionnaire to the other side to provide the information regarding the other party’s income.

Talking to an attorney who understands child support and how to accurate calculate child support can be very beneficial to you. Not all income is included, such as voluntarily overtime. A person’s potential income may be used to calculate child support if that person is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Some benefits that a person receives may be included as income. An knowledgeable and experienced attorney will provide you with the direction that you need.

Defining Substantial and Material Change of Circumstances for Modifying Child Custody and Child Support Orders

The laws governing child custody in Idaho is similar to the laws in other states as there is a general agreement in terms of child custody. For example, almost every law in the country is based on the assumption that the best interests of the children should always be the primary consideration when determining aspects of a divorce such as custody and support.

However, the law also recognizes that circumstances rarely remain static, and that a child custody order that made sense at the time of the divorce may cease to be beneficial years later. As a result, questions arise as to whether or not child custody orders should be modified. If such a question arises in your case, you should look at consulting with a qualified family law attorney. While an attorney is not required, their advice will be invaluable in deciding whether or not you can and should seek to modify a custody order.

Substantial and Material Change

The term ‘substantial and material change of circumstances’ is a legal phrase that is variously and loosely defined. The court must recognize a substantial change in the circumstances of one or both parents in order to justify changing custody and child support orders. For example, some common facts that often meet the substantial material change circumstances in Bonneville County, Idaho include:

  • Significant change in income for either parent (for child support changes.
  • Health problems for either parent or the child
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Co-habitation with person(s) who pose a risk to the children.
  • Inadequate care of children the other parent
  • A need to relocate to a new geographical area

Other Reasons

Judges have some discretion in accepting the definition of substantial material change. Even the mere passage of time can sometimes be a basis for reviewing court orders because a child has more ability to feel secure going between homes and/or desires to spend more time with a particular parent.

David A. Johnson has been providing quality legal services in East Idaho. As both a private attorney and as a former Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Johnson has substantial courtroom experience. Mr. Johnson has handled cases all over the State of Idaho. His primary areas of practice are in Bonneville, Bingham, Butte, Jefferson, Madison, Fremont Bannock and Jefferson Counties. In addition, to Idaho Falls, we serve residences in the Blackfoot, Shelley, Firth, Rigby, Rexburg, St. Anthony, Ashton, Ammon, Driggs and Victor, Idaho. [Read more..]