The Child's Wishes
If the child is old enough to do so, Idaho courts will allow the child to express her wishes concerning which parent should receive custody. It is likely that the parent who was the primary caregiver for the child during the marriage will be the child's preference, and may be better suited to provide food, shelter and clothing for the child according to the evidence presented in court.
Affection and Nurturing
Idaho courts will also utilize the child's right to decide who to live with based on the apparent amount of affection and nurturing the child receives from each parent, as well as the bond that has been established between parent and child. If the child is very young (such as an infant or toddler), it is likely that an Idaho judge will award custody to the child's mother. A child psychologist that is approved by the state may also be asked to speak with the child to determine which parent makes the child feel safest and most loved. Because divorce is a time of significant changes and uncomfortable transitions for children, the parent that will make this adjustment easiest for the child will be granted custody.
The child's decision to stay with one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody) in the event of divorce may also be based on the child's relationship with his siblings. If a child's brother or sister makes her feel unsafe in the home, or there has been evidence of sibling abuse, the state of Idaho will make arrangements to separate the children. If the siblings are close in age and do not wish to be separated, the state of Idaho will attempt to keep the siblings in the same home after their parents have divorced. If parents live close to each other, it may be ideal for the parents to have joint custody of the children so that the siblings can spend equal amounts of time with both parents.
A child may also choose to live with a parent based on the fact that living arrangements will not terribly disrupt the child's daily routine. An Idaho judge will likely grant custody to the parent who lives in the child's current school district, or the parent who lives close to community resources that the child uses (for example, the recreational center where the child plays sports or the family doctor's office). It is also ideal that the child live close to her family and friends after the divorce. In many cases, the parent who still lives in the house the couple shared when they were married will receive custody if the parents have decided on a sole custody arrangement.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
If there have been instances of child abuse or domestic violence in the home, the child can exercise his right to live with the parent who did not inflict the abuse. In some cases, an Idaho judge will order that the child live with another family member if abuse in the home was exhibited by both parents, or if the parent who received the abuse is unable to care for the child. According to Idaho child custody laws, children should not be in a home where physical abuse was displayed, even if the abuse was not directed toward the child.
- Idaho state contour with Capital City against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com