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Divorce Laws in Montana

In Montana, if one spouse claims that the marriage is not irretrievably broken the court can recommend counseling and can order a conciliation conference. If the couple cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide if the marriage is irretrievably broken after a period of one month, but no longer than two months.

Residency and jurisdiction in Montana
At least one spouse must live, or be stationed by the military, in Montana for at least 90 days before filing for divorce.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Montana
Montana only grants no fault divorce and only on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In order for the marriage to be deemed irretrievably broken, the couple must have lived apart for at least six months or there must be serious marital discord.

Division of property in Montana
Montana is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. Many factors are considered in the division of property including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Prior marriage
  • Age and health
  • Station and occupation
  • Vocational skills and employability
  • Estate
  • Needs and debt
  • Child custody
  • Spousal support
  • Potential for future acquisition of assets and future earning capacity
  • Contributions to and dissipation of assets
  • Contributions as homemaker

Spousal support in Montana
Montana does not consider marital conduct when determining spousal support, but will consider many factors including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Financial resources of the spouse seeking support
  • Property division
  • Child custody and support
  • Time needed to become self supporting
  • Age and physical and emotional health of spouse seeking support
  • Ability of spouse from whom support is sought to pay support while remaining self supporting

Child custody and support in Montana
In Montana, the court must consider many factors when determining child custody including:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Wishes of the child
  • Relationship of the child to parents, siblings, and any other significant parties
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Mental and physical health of everyone involved
  • Actual or threatened physical abuse of the other parent or the child
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Stability of care
  • Developmental needs of the child
  • Intentional failure to pay birth-related costs
  • Intentional failure to financially support the child
  • Frequent and continuing contact with both parents
  • Adverse effects on the child due to continuous attempts to amend custody orders

Montana uses the Percentage of Income formula to calculate child support. Failure to pay child support for a total of more than six months can result in a court order requiring the paying parent to post bond, give a mortgage, or provide security until the delinquent balance is paid.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Montana, contact an experienced Montana divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Montana and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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