Posts Tagged ‘Recreation’

Domestic Relations Law in Montana

March 28th, 2022

In Montana, the legal name for a divorce is a “dissolution of marriage.” Family law is also known as domestic relations. It can include divorce, asset and debt division, custody, child support, spousal support, parenting, visitation, adoption, and paternity.

Sometimes parties try to amicably resolve cases whereas others prefer aggressively try their cases in court.

Montana is a “no fault” state. In Montana you do not have to show that one person is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Your spouse does not have to agree to getting the dissolution, and you do not need to prove that there has been wrong-doing by one of the parties.

A dissolution (also called a divorce) legally ends the marriage and changes your status from married to single. It also determines related issues that you/your attorney should address in the Petition for Dissolution, such as:

1. Living arrangements for the children and what contact they will have with each parent;
2. Child support and medical support for the children;
3. Who will keep what property; and
4. Who will be responsible for which debts.

In Montana, the wife and husband in a dissolution are called the parties to the dissolution. The Petitioner is the party who first asks the court for a dissolution. The Petitioner asks the court for a dissolution by filing a Petition for Dissolution with the court. The Respondent is the other party. Sometimes both parties are the petitioner (such as in a joint petition for dissolution).

If you and your spouse (or other parent) agree on most issues, you may be able to proceed without a lawyer, which is known as pro se. If your case is complicated, you will probably need to hire a lawyer who is licensed in Montana to help you navigate the Montana legal system effectively. How do I know if my case will become contested?

You only can get a dissolution in Montana if Montana has jurisdiction over your case. Montana has jurisdiction to rule on your dissolution if you have resided in Montana for at least 90 days prior to getting your dissolution (M.C.A. section 40-4-104).

If there are children of the marriage who are under 18 years old, the children must have resided in Montana for at least six months before you can file for a dissolution in the state. There are a few exceptions, but, generally, Montana courts do not have jurisdiction to make judgments regarding the children unless they have resided in the state for at least six months (M.C.A. section 40-4-211).