Monday, May 6, 2013

Boise Family Law Lawyers - Boise Divorce Attorney- (208) 472-2384

As a Boise Divorce Attorney I often get calls from individuals who are seeking to establish or get back custody of their children.  The most difficult part of these calls is when an individual is desperate to "help" their child, but the child does not reside in Idaho.

Child's Home State
In order for an Idaho Court to exercise jurisdiction over a child, the child must reside in the state of Idaho for at least six months.  That means, if the child does not live here, the court cannot tell the child's home state that they are going to exercise jurisdiction over the child and make a custody determination.  If you really need to challenge custody, you will have to petition the court in the child's home state.

What if the child comes to Idaho for visitation from another state and it is clear that the child has been abused.  Can Idaho do anything?  Yes, Idaho can exercise emergency jurisdiction over a child.  It is not going to outright change custody, but it will exercise it's jurisdiction to ensure that the child is not put in further danger.  The court will communicate with the child's home state court and work to resolve the situation.

What happens if you move to Idaho and want to get a divorce and have your custody issues decided here?  For divorce, you only need to reside in the state for 6 weeks.  If you have been here less that 6 months, you can go ahead and file for divorce and ask that the court not make a custody determination.  If you can't wait 6 months to get divorced, you can get the divorce done and then return to the court to have the custody worked out.

If you are seeking a divorce and you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, please give us a call, (208) 472-2384 and see what we can do for you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Boise Divorce Attorney - Idaho Family Law Lawyers (208) 472-2384

Family Law
As a Boise Divorce Attorney I often deal with heart breaking issues involved in divorce, custody and domestic violence.  However, as a family law lawyer, I often get to experience the joy of things like adoption.  This adds balance and contrast to my family law practice.

As I noted above adoption is usually a joyful time for a family adopting a child, but what happens when something happens to that joy?  Adoption can occur for a variety of reasons.  We tend to think of unwed mothers and fathers giving their children up for adoption because they are too young to raise the child and need to focus on their futures.  While this is a very common situation, there are many many others as well.  A child who has been placed in foster care is a candidate for adoption, as is a child from a foreign country or a grandchild who has lost their parents to a tragedy and the list goes on. The thing that all adoption has in common is that the adoptive parent becomes the child's actual parent and they have all the rights and obligations associated with being a parent.

Can You Un-Adopt a Child?
After the situation in the news this past year where a woman adopted a foreign born child and tried to return it to its country of origin because it had attachment disorder, I received several calls from individuals in similar situations.  They all wanted to know if you could, "return" a child.  The answer is simply no and this is because once you adopt a child you become the child's parent. 

There are many reasons why the joy of adoption can fade.  This is one reason why the Idaho adoption statute is the way it is.  It requires a home study before a child can be placed with an unrelated individual.  The law recognizes the need to make certain the new home is a safe and stable place, but it also recognizes that the individuals themselves need to be stable.  Part of the home study evaluates the parents-to-be.  This is important because what happens when the child has something like attachment disorder or some other disorder that makes parenting beyond difficult?

Thankfully, most adoptions don't turn out "bad" and there isn't the desire to "return" the child.  Even though these situations can occur, I am still thankful to share in the joy of the adoption process with those people who are looking forward to being new parents.

If you have an adoption question or other family law issue that you would like to discuss with a Boise Family Law Attorney, give us a call (208) 472-2384 to talk to one of our attorneys.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Boise Custody Attorney - Divorce Lawyer (208) 472-2383 Visitation

Custody and Visitation
As a Boise Divorce Attorney I handle numerous cases each year dealing with custody and visitation.  The courts in Idaho have moved toward creating a stable and consistent method to effect the custody and visitation of minor children.  Many people who have gone through a divorce know that they may be required to take parenting classes, are required to go to mediation and to create a parenting plan which includes a visitation schedule.  All this is done before custody is established and the divorce is complete.

While many people don't like the process or the requirements of the process, it is effective in handling high conflict divorce and creates a schedule which takes into account each parties' concerns and desires.  Divorce Lawyers and judges say it all the time - the last person you want to decide who has custody of your children and what your visitation schedule to be is the judge.  This is because it is the parents, not the judge, who knows your family, who knows your schedule, who knows what works for you.  Without mediation you may very well spend much more money on your Boise Divorce Attorney than necessary.

Military Visitation and the Power of Attorney
Now, while this is all true and the law in Idaho has changed to really encompass the best interest of the child, there is one situation which on one hand seems to smack in the face of the idea of continuity for the child, but on the other assists active members of Idaho Armed Services.  If you are military personnel and on active duty, you can use a Power of Attorney to designate who will have your visitation if you are unable to exercise it as a result of being on active duty.  This, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing.  If a grandparent or other family member is given the privilege to have the visitation, this can create a strong and stable bond between the child and a close member of their family, in the absence of a parent. The dilemma comes in when the Power of Attorney is created and gives visitation to an unlikely person.  The Idaho Code does not give any direction as to who may be given the Power of Attorney.  If the power is given to a girlfriend or a boyfriend, rather than a family member it can create a great amount of strife.  Nevertheless, it remains within the discretion of the active member of the military as to whom they want to assign this right.

If you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, give us a call (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Boise Family Law Lawyers - Divorce Attorneys (208) 472-2384 Child Support in Idaho

Child Support Questions
Boise Family Law Lawyers encounter a whole variety of legal questions ranging from divorce to adoption.  Some of the most common questions revolve around child support.  Most people are familiar with the Idaho Child Support Guidelines to the extent that they exist and are used to determine child support.  Most questions directed to Boise Divorce Attorneys concerning child support are, "do the guidelines apply to me?" and "can we agree on a different amount?"

In short, the guidelines apply to any divorce, custody or modification proceeding in Idaho where there is at least one child under the age of 18 (or 19 if they are still in high school).  As to agreeing on a different amount, it is possible, but there are certain hoops you have to jump through.

Deviating from the Guidelines
How can you get an Idaho Court to set a child support amount that is different from the guidelines?  Your divorce attorney must ask the court to set a different amount and give the judge convincing evidence to show that the child support amount set by the guidelines is not the appropriate amount.  The judge is required to incorporate the reasons and their conclusion in their findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Good Idea or Bad?
Is it a good idea to deviate from the guidelines?  In most cases, if there are compelling reasons to set the child support amount at a different rate then, logically, it is in the best interest of the child.  There are situations, however, where this can actually backfire.  As a Boise Divorce Attorney I have seen several instances, after the fact, where the intended result is not what the party anticipated.   Often people will compel the court to set their child support amount at a larger dollar amount because it is their intent to secure a higher level housing for your children, for instance.  These individuals intend to give the ex-spouse more money so they can continue to make the house payment.  When that person continues to receive the extra child support but fails to make the house payment, the payor will seek to modify based on the fact that the money is not going where it is supposed to.  Often a judge will refuse to grant the modification because there is no material and permanent change in circumstances and therefore the person is out of luck until such change actually takes place.

As a Boise Family Law Lawyer in these cases, I suggest to my clients rather than seeking the child support to be set at a different amount, that they explore the possibility of a side agreement to provide for the children's housing.  Keeping the agreement out of the court order prevents any changes having to rise to the standard of substantial and material.

If you are seeking a divorce, child custody or modification and you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Lawyer, give us a call, (208) 472-2384 and see what we can do for you.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boise Family Law Lawyers - Boise Divorce Attorneys - Modification

As a Boise Divorce Attorney I often get calls from individuals about modification.  There are occasionally misunderstandings about what can be modified or if a modification can happen at all.  There are certain key things to keep in mind about modification.

You cannot modify a divorce in Idaho.  This question generally comes up in the context of one party or the other disregarding or actively disobeying the divorce decree.  If this happens, the party who has been wronged generally contacts their divorce lawyers and asks for a modification.  A divorce decree is final.  The way to approach a person who is in violation of a divorce order is to have your divorce attorney file for contempt.  In general, an Idaho Court will hold a person in contempt if they have violated the order.  Sometimes, they will give the individual time to correct the error and sometimes they will overlook the contempt.  This generally happens when there is a provision such as that they sell the community home within 3 months.  Given the market today, that may be impossible.  If, however, they tried to comply by putting the house on the market, as opposed to failing to list the home, the judge may excuse the violation of the original divorce decree.  These issues can get sticky and there is often quite a bit of argument about whether they really tried to sell the house or that the house was in a terrible condition so no wonder it didn't sell.  The judge will consider these issues but if he or she sees that the party made a good faith effort, no contempt will be found.

Child Support or Custody Modification
A Boise Divorce Attorney will file for a support or custody modification when it can be shown that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances.  These can be two different things when you are talking about child support or custody modification.  For example, losing your job, or getting a raise are both definitely a grounds for modifying your child support.  Losing your job or getting a raise, however, are not necessarily grounds for modifying custody.  The circumstances which warrant a modification must be material and substantial.  Losing your job does not suddenly make you a bad parent.  Losing your job, however, does change your income.

Of course, for custody modification, the parties can agree to change the visitation or the custodial arrangement by agreement.  Say for example, your 16 year old son would like to live with his father and have visitation with his mother.  Your divorce attorney can file a stipulation and you can ask the court to change the custody arrangement.  If, however, you later want to change it back, you will have to show a material and substantial change in circumstance if the other parent won't agree to the change.

If you have a modification issue, or any other family law issue, give us a call and speak with one of our family law lawyers, (208) 472-2384

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boise Divorce Attorneys - Family Law Lawyers - Custodian, Guardian, Granparent's Rights

Who is a Child's Custodian?
Have you ever gone to fill out a form for a child and read "'Child's Parent or Guardian" and wondered who would qualify as the child's guardian?  Being the custodian of a child is not the same as being a child's guardian, but it can, and often is, the first step to being appointed a guardian.

Idaho De Facto Custodian Act
Idaho law basically says that if you are related to a child (by three degrees of kinship) and have cared for that child for a certain period of time, both financially and physically, without parental consent or demonstrated participation of the parent, you are in fact the custodian of the child.  The time period differs depending upon the age of the child.  If the child is under 3 years of age and you have cared for them for 6 months, you are the de facto custodian.  If the child is 3 or older then that time is extended to 1 year of care.

What is "Demonstrated Lack of Participation"
As a Boise Family Law Lawyer I hear this question a lot.  It usually comes in the context of a grandparent wanting to seek custody or guardianship of their grandchild.  It means a parent fails or refuses to provide and care for their child as required by law.  An extreme example, but sadly one I hear often as a Boise Divorce Attorney, is a parent on meth.  People on meth cannot care for themselves, let alone children.  They often will be high for days and not even take care of themselves.  Another sad example is when a parent decides they no longer want to care for a child.  This demonstrated lack of participation is grounds for allowing someone who actually cares for the child to be in the position of legally providing for them.

Ramifications of De Facto Custodian
Being a De Facto Custodian provides the child's caregiver with the ability to enroll a child in school, take them to the doctor and gives them grounds for pursuing a guardianship of the child.  The Boise School System will not allow a child to be enrolled just by anyone.  Likewise, a pediatrician's office will not allow just anyone to bring a child in and will not allow information to be given to someone who has not been designated by the parent to receive the information.  If you are a custodian, you are one step closer to being able to stand in the place of the parent.

Guardianship is one ramification of being the custodian of a child.  If you can show you are the de facto custodian and that the parent has no, or only negative involvement, in the child's life, the court is very likely to find in favor of you as the guardian. 

What's the Difference Between Custodian and Grandparent's Rights?
Grandparent's rights refers to a factor of stability for children.  Allowing a grandparent's the right to visit with their child has been a major point of contention.  If, however, you are a grandparent that has had regular and frequent contact with your grandchild and have been a part of that child's whole life, a court may consider the possibility of granting you visitation pursuant to divorce or other custody arrangement.  A custodian, however, refers to when the child has been left in your care, whether it was intentionally or negligently.

If you are in the care of a child and need to pursue a guardianship, or adoption and want to speak with a Boise Family Law Attorney, please give us a call, (208) 472-2384 and see what we can do for you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Boise Divorce Lawyers, Divorce Attorneys, Boise Family Law Lawyers, Probate Attorneys

Boise Divorce Lawyers, Attorneys, Boise Family Law Lawyers, Probate Attorneys in Idaho, call (208) 472-2384 for a free consultation.

Family Law in Idaho has many facets including divorce, custody and probate.  Probate occasionally  falls under family law because there are elements of the family included in establishing your estate.  An example of where family law and probate intermingle is in divorce.  As a Boise Divorce Attorney, I always tell my clients to make certain that they change their will after they divorce.  This primary reason for this is to facilitate the ease of probate once you die.  For example, if you never take out a piece of property that your ex-spouse was awarded in the divorce, you can get a lot of complications going.  It is always best to clean up your will after a divorce.

Another example of where  changing your will is really the best thing to do is when you divorce, you should take out your old spouse and put in your new spouse.  If you leave your new spouse out of the will, Idaho has a probate provision in the Idaho Code that says your spouse will take their share of the property (as if you had died without a will) unless it is clear that you intended to leave them out.  If, however, you didn't take your Boise Divorce Lawyers advice and take the exspouse's name out, that ex spouse may still take some of your property.  For example, if your old will read, "I leave all my real property to Betsy Boo" but you did not name her as your spouse, when you die and you haven't taken her name out Betsy Boo may still take some property of yours.  If I were Betsy Boo's Probate Attorney and there wasn't evidence to the contrary, I would certainly argue that.

Cleaning up your will pursuant to divorce is an area where family law and probate law get heavily entangled.  Remember, don't forget to get a new will!

If you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney or a Boise Probate Attorney, please call (208) 472-2384.  You can also visit our website and fill out a quick contact form and one of our lawyers will get right back to you.