Child Custody: What if my circumstances have changed?

By Heidi Buck Morrison

Child custody orders are not necessarily permanent. However, they cannot be changed at the drop of a hat either. In Idaho, in order to justify a change in a custody order, the moving party must demonstrate a material, substantial change in circumstances occurred since entry of the earlier order. Courts have great discretion in decisions regarding child custody, and in addition to determining whether the moving party has met their burden of showing a material, substance change, courts will always look to ensure any custody modification serves the best interests of the children.      

Clients often wonder what qualifies as a “material, substantial change in circumstances.” However, there is no definitive answer. It is a fact specific inquiry and analysis that a court must engage in. An attorney can help you determine if your unique set of facts may qualify as a material, substantial change in circumstances.

The possibilities of what could qualify are endless. For example, Idaho courts have held that when one parents receives an employment opportunity that requires relocation to another city in Idaho, that is a material, substantial change to justify a modification in custody. Lamont v. Lamont, 158 Idaho 353, 361, 347 P.3d 645, 653 (Idaho 2015). In another matter, an Idaho court determined that the fact that the children had advanced in age and the parent requesting a modification had more vacation time than previously warranted a modification. Drinkall v. Drinkall, 150 Idaho 606, 613, 249 P.3d 405, 412 (Idaho Ct. App. 2011).

If you believe a material, substantial change in circumstances has occurred that warrants a modification to a custody order, contact Heidi Buck Morrison today for a consultation. Toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101. You can also email Heidi Buck Morrison directly at Our attorneys serve all of Idaho, including Firth, Malad, Montpelier, Preston, Soda Springs, American Falls, Blackfoot, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rigby, Twin Falls, Rupert, Burley, and Boise.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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