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Montana Alimony
Maintenance

Montana law allows for alimony, also called maintenance, when necessary due to one spouse’s circumstances. The court hears all evidence in the action and decides what is appropriate.

Montana judges grant alimony to either spouse if they find that he or she lacks sufficient property to provide for basic needs and is unable to be self-supporting.

Fault is not a consideration under Montana law, and the court may not consider it in granting alimony.

Either spouse may seek and receive alimony. The court determines the duration and amount of any award.

Support is generally granted for a specific amount of time. The length of time depends on the parties’ needs, duration of the marriage, and whether dependent children require one spouse to stay at home.

In Montana, alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become important in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the District Court can order support on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Alimony

In Montana courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-Term, or permanent, maintenance may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Courts grant most maintenance for a specific duration. It can be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances, which may include remarriage by the recipient or cohabitation. The party seeking modification must petition the court and offer proof of the changed circumstances.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Montana alimony is discretionary. According to the Montana Code, in determining support, the court considers:

  • the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance and the ability he or she has to become self-supporting or care for any children;
  • the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
  • the standard of living established while married;
  • the length of the marriage;
  • the age and the health condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
  • the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.

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