Gavel and shapes of men, women and child with books

Family Law FAQs 

Shep Law Group July 7, 2023

Every 42 seconds, there's a divorce in America. If you're going through one, know that you're not alone.  

Family law matters can be overwhelming, but knowing the answers to some common questions can give you a better understanding of the legal process. This post will give you a good starting point.  

If you need legal assistance in Boise, Meridian, Ada County, Canyon County, or anywhere else in Idaho, don't forget to reach out to Shep Law Group for experienced and compassionate representation. 

Family Law FAQs

Divorce, child custody, adoption, and other family law issues can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. If you are facing a family law matter, you likely have many questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by clients when it comes to family law.  

I just got served with divorce papers. What are my next steps?

First, you will need to respond to the petition within 21 days. With your response, you can admit or deny the allegations made. 

You may also consider seeking legal counsel to assist you in the process and fight for your interests. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you can use it to refer to in the event of a divorce.  

How long will it take to get divorced in Idaho?

It’s hard to estimate the exact time frame without consulting a lawyer. Many factors will determine the duration of the case, including: how long it will take to finalize the details of debt and asset division, child support, child custody, and spousal support. 

If there are any disputes or negotiations between the parties, it may take even longer. However, the process can take as little as a few months to over a year. 

What are the grounds for divorce in Idaho? 

To file for divorce in Idaho, the following grounds need to exist: irreconcilable differences, adultery, cruelty, felony conviction, willful desertion, or neglect. In many cases, the grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences.  

Adultery, cruelty, or a felony conviction grounds need proof, which can be difficult to obtain. Willful desertion and neglect refer to when one spouse abandoned the other without consent or commitment to support them. 

Will I be awarded alimony?

Alimony, also called spousal support, is awarded under certain conditions. The factors that the court considers before awarding alimony/spousal support include the length of the marriage, each spouse's income, earning potential, and assets at stake.  

If one spouse needs support to maintain an adequate standard of living, alimony could be awarded.  

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

In a legal separation, you and your spouse will still be legally married, but you will live apart and continue to maintain separate lives. You can still regulate all of the crucial matters such as property division, spousal support, custody, and child support.  

Legal separation could be a beneficial option for couples who need a break but are not ready to end the marriage. In a divorce, the couple’s marriage is legally terminated. 

When is mediation a good option?

Mediation can be a good option if you and your spouse are willing to work together to reach an agreement. Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third-party mediator helps you and your spouse reach an agreement on all the issues in your divorce.    

Who gets to keep the home during a divorce?

The answer often depends on several factors, including who owns the home, who paid for the home, and what the agreement was when you purchased the home. Your family law attorney will be able to provide you with more guidance on this issue based on the specifics of your case. 

How do I make (or change) a child visitation schedule?

If you're going through a divorce or separation, you'll need to create a plan that works for both parents and meets the best interests of your child. The first step is to try to work out an agreement with your ex-spouse or partner, either on your own or with the help of a mediator.  

If you can't agree, you may need to seek the assistance of a family law attorney to help you petition the court to establish a visitation schedule.  

I'm not sure I'm the child's father. What are my options?

If you're unsure whether you're the biological father of a child, the first step is to get a paternity test. There are a few different types of tests available, including buccal swab testing and blood testing.  

Once the results are in, you can use them to establish custody, visitation, child support, and other legal rights and obligations. If you're the father, you'll need to take responsibility for your child. If you're not the father, it's important to have that verified so you won't be held financially responsible for a child who isn't biologically yours. 

What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement? 

A prenup is a written agreement that outlines how finances, property, and spousal support will be handled in the event of a divorce or separation. It can help minimize conflict and stress during a difficult time and can ensure that each spouse's assets are protected.  

It's especially important to consider pre- and post-nuptial agreements if you own property, your estate is complicated, or one spouse has significantly more assets or income than the other. 

Do I need an attorney for my divorce?

While filing for divorce on your own is possible, it's generally not recommended.  

Divorce is a complex legal process that involves a variety of issues, from property division and spousal support to child custody and visitation. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through the process, offer advice on your rights and obligations, and advocate on your behalf in court.  

Any Other Questions You Need Answered? Reach Out Today.

Family law can be a complex and emotional area of law, but with the right guidance and support, you can navigate it successfully. If you have any other questions or concerns about family law, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Shep Law Group.  

In addition to serving Boise and Meridian, Idaho, we handle cases statewide, including in Ada County and Canyon County. We're here to help you through this difficult time, so don't hesitate to contact us today.