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Montana Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Montana divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
What is considered to be the date of separation in Montana? 2988
Spouses are not required to live separate and apart in Montana in order to get divorced. However, if you and your spouse do live at separate residences, the date that you began living apart is the date of separation.
What are the Montana residency requirements for filing for divorce? 2990
To file for divorce in Montana, either you or your spouse must have lived in Montana (or either of you was a member of the armed services stationed and residing in Montana) for at least 90 days before the filing of the action.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Montana? 2991
In Montana, the ground for dissolution is "an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage" (M.C.A. 40-4-107). In order to show that there is an irretrievable breakdown, you must tell the court that there is serious marital discord which adversely affects the attitude of one of the parties (M.C.A. 40-4-104).
Do I qualify for a summary dissolution? 2982
You can get a divorce through a summary dissolution proceeding only if ALL of the following conditions exist on the date you file the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution.
  1. You or your spouse have lived in Montana (or either of you was a member of the armed services stationed and residing in Montana) for at least 90 days before the filing of the action;
  2. Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and you both agree that the marriage should be dissolved;
  3. The wife is not pregnant and if there are any minor children, the parties have executed an agreed-upon parenting plan and the child support and medical support have been determined by judicial or administrative order for all children from the relationship born before or during the marriage or adopted by the parties during the marriage.
  4. Neither of you has any legal interest (ownership or lease) in any real property such as land or buildings. However, this does not apply to a lease on a residence which is occupied by either spouse as long as the lease does not have an option to purchase the residence and the lease terminates within one year from the date the petition is filed;
  5. There are no unpaid, unsecured obligations in excess of $8,000 incurred by either or both of the parties after the date of their marriage. A debt is unsecured when the debtor’s promise to pay the debt is not secured by specific property if the debtor does not pay the debt. For example, a credit card is usually an unsecured debt because you do not have to give the credit card company the financed property if you do not pay your debt;
  6. The total fair market value of your and your spouse’s assets, excluding secured obligations, is less than $25,000. A debt is secured when the debtor’s promise to pay the debt is backed by specific property if the debtor does not pay the debt. For example, your car can be taken by the bank to pay the debt if you miss a payment. This means that your car loan would be a secured debt.
  7. Both of you have signed an agreement agreeing to the division of property and who will be responsible for any bills or obligations. Signed documents, title certificates, bills of sale, or other evidence of transfer or agreement should be presented to the court at the time of your hearing to confirm the division and responsibilities.
  8. Both spouses give up your individual right to maintenance (financial support from the other NOT including child support);
  9. Both spouses permanently give up your individual right to appeal the terms of the dissolution and your right to move for a new trial once the marriage is formally dissolved by the court;
  10. Neither spouse wants help from the conciliation court to settle any controversy, or assistance in reconciling (If your county does not have a Conciliation court, this requirement does not apply);
  11. Both spouses have read and state that they understand the contents of this summary dissolution booklet; and Both spouses want the court to end the marriage.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Montana? 2999
No. There is no requirement in Montana for the spouses to be separated in order to file for divorce.
How much is the filing fee in Montana? 3790
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in Montana varies from county to county, but is typically $175.00-$200.00 to file the divorce and an additional $50.00 for the Decree. The filing fee for simplified divorce may be slightly less in some counties.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 3001
If you already have a Child Support and Medical Support Order through the Montana Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) or another appropriate agency that you want to remain the same, the Court will likely acknowledge that Order as valid without making any changes. Attach a copy of the prior support order to your Joint Petition for Dissolution.
How is child support calculated in Montana? 2985
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package. Additionally, every child support order will include a provision about who will pay for the medical insurance and medical expenses of the minor children (M.C.A. 40-5-805, 806, 807).

The amount that the parents are asked to pay is based on what the court considers reasonable or necessary for raising the child. The amount is not affected by marital misconduct. It is based on the following factors:
  1. The financial resources available to the child;
  2. The financial resources available to each parent (income, pensions, etc.);
  3. The standard of living the child would have had if the parents were still together;
  4. The child's emotional, educational, and medical needs;
  5. The age of the child;
  6. The cost of day-care; and
  7. How much time the child spends with each parent.
When a parent is unemployed, he or she is still responsible for paying child support. Commonly, the court assumes that an unemployed person should be able to work 40 hours each week at minimum wage, and imputes that income to the unemployed parent unless his or her earning potential justifies a higher amount.
What are the different types of custody in Montana? 2992
Montana law prefers the terms "parenting" instead of "visitation" and "decision-making" instead of legal custody. This is in an effort to promote the concept that both parents should be involved in the children's lives. The court assumes that each parent has the authority to make emergency medical decisions as well as day-to-day decisions while the children are residing with that parent (M.C.A. 40-4-234).
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