Cases Idaho Courts have long held that it is best for children to have a relationship with both of their parents. In cases where one parent moves so far away that it is not practical or possible to maintain both relationships; Idaho courts will generally have the children stay with the parent who is not moving.
One of the cases directing the courts’ decisions is Roberts vs. Roberts 138 Idaho 401 (S.C. 2003).
In the Roberts case the Idaho Supreme Court determined that the parent who wanted to relocate out of Idaho had to prove that the move was in the best interest of the child. This is different than proving that it is best for a child to stay with the parent who is moving. It means that the new location has to be in the best interest of the child. That can be difficult and even impossible to prove if the child has never lived in the new place. In the Roberts case the moving parent was not able to take their child with them. The same thing happened in several other cases including Weiland v. Ruppel, 139 Idaho 122, 75 P.3d 176 (2003) (Denial of move from Boise to Oregon, affirmed); King v. King, 137 Idaho 438, 50 P.3d 453 (2002) (mother moves to Michigan, custody award to father in Idaho, affirmed); Howard v. Cornell, 134 Idaho 403, P.3d 528 (2000) (permanent injunction against removal of child, affirmed); Hopper v. Hopper, 144 Idaho 624,167 P.3d 761 (2007) (Order allowing relocation of child to Montana, reversed); and, Bartosz v. Jones146 Idaho 449, 197 P.3d 310 (2008) (Order denying mother’s motion to relocate to Hawaii with children, affirmed).
Taken together, these cases create a burden of proof on the parent seeking to move children away from the other parent. That burden can be very difficult to prove, especially if the child has never lived in the new place.
A skilled lawyer with several years of child custody experience is needed to help parents in these situations. Successful cases focus on the Idaho Code’s statute regarding child custody (Idaho Code Section 32-717). That statute requires the court to consider other factors in determining what is in the best interests of a child, including, but not limited to: The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his or her custody; The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian; The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, and his or her siblings; The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; The character and circumstances of all individuals involved; The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child; and, whether there are issues involving domestic violence.
If you need help involving a custody issue where one parent is moving away, contact me for more information regarding the application of these laws to your specific circumstances.
Brian K. Marshall is an attorney at the Idaho Business Law Group, PLLC, located in Meridian, Idaho. You can find him at idahobusinesslawgroup.com or email at email@example.com.