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Legal & Physical


Has Paternity Been Established?

    If paternity of the child has already been legally established by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which is a prerequisite to obtain a child support order against the father, then now either parent can file a Petition to Establish Custody and Visitation and (if appropriate to Modify) Child Support, without having request a paternity test.  If paternity has not yet been legally established, then you need to file a Petition for Paternity, Custody, Visitation and Support.

Possession is Not Custody

    There is a common misconception that the mother of a child who was born out of wedlock has "custody" of that child.  However, she merely has possession of the child, not custody.  This remains true, even if paternity and child support  were already established by the Department of Health and Welfare.  Neither parent has either "legal" or "physical" custody until it has been established in a court of law.  

Custody Lab results rom paternity test

  You have probably heard the old saying, that "possession is 9/10ths of the law," and this is true... that until custody is legally established, law enforcement cannot help either parent to either obtain visitation with, or secure return of the child from the other parent, if they refuse to return the child after being allowed visitation.  This is a strong reason not to delay filing to establish each party's respective legal rights, including the decision-making authority over the child's health, education and welfare, and obtain a clearly defined and enforceable residential custody and visitation schedule.

Couple arguing about Custody
Let us help you.

    A Petition for Custody (and Visitation) is actually very similar to a Petition for Divorce, and requires virtually the same forms.  The only significant difference being, that in a custody case, there are no property or debt issues.  If child support has not been previously established, it must be included in a Petition and Order for Custody.   If child support has been previously established by the Department of Health and Welfare, it may be appropriate to include a modification or cancellation of the pre-existing support amount in your Petition for Custody, based upon the new and formally established custody & residential time sharing arrangements.

Custody Documents 
- Ready to File

    We have helped several thousand Idaho residents file for and establish paternity, as well as legal and phyysical custody during the past 30+ years, and we can help you to do the same. You don't need to pay thousands of dollars to an attorney to do this, nor do you have to struggle with poorly written and hard to understand do-it-yourself forms. We will prepare everything you need, ready-to-file.

    A typical Custody package includes a coversheet, and instructions for copying, assembling, signing, filing, and serving the following documents:

  • Petition to Establish (Paternity) Custody and Support

  • Summons

  • Affidavit Verifying Income (if minor children)

  • Child Support Worksheets (if minor children)

  • Family Law Case Information Sheet

  • Affidavit of Service (if parties are not in agreement)

  • Acknowledgment of Service (if parties are in agreement)

  • Stipulation for Entry of Custody (if parties are in agreement)

  • Motion and Affidavit for Default

  • Order of Default

  • Judgment of (Paternity) Custody and Visitation

Search the Idaho Laws
Family Sharing Custody
Fees and Expenses:

Our Fees:

  Establish Custody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $ 350.00

  Establish Paternity and Custody  . . . . . . . . . . . $ 350.00

  Reply to Custody Petition & Counterclaim .  . .  $ 350.00

Court Filing Fees:

  Petition for Custody. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 166.00

  Reply to Petition & Counterclaim . . . . . . .  $ 136.00

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Send us a quick message, indicating the nature of your legal matter or questions.  We can't give actual legal advice, but we can give you legal information (which is not the same as legal advice), and we can provide court-ready legal documents.  As soon as we receive your contact information, we will send you a Questionnaire, tailored to your specific legal matter, to elicit information necessary to prepare documents for you.

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