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Montana Divorce Facts

When going through a divorce in in Montana, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Montana should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Montana Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Montana Divorce Professional.

  • In order to file for divorce in Montana, one of the parties must have lived in the state for at least 90 days. The same applies for military members stationed in Montana.
  • Montana law offers three acceptable grounds for divorce. These are irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, living apart for at least 180 days before filing, and "serious marital discord that adversely affects the attitude of one or both of the parties toward the marriage."
  • Montana law calls for equitable division of property. While equitable implies fair, it does not necessarily mean equal. The court, however, encourages spouses to come to an agreement on their own regarding marital property. If the court must intervene, it will take several factors into account. Considerations include, but are not limited to, whether or not one spouse will receive alimony payments, the earning capacity of both spouses, length of the marriage, contribution of the homemaker if applicable, custody arrangements, and debts and age.
  • The courts award alimony. Relevant factors include the standard of living achieved during the marriage, earning ability of the spouse receiving support, child support payments if applicable, time required to obtain job training or education to improve employment opportunities, and duration of the marriage. The court cannot take marital misconduct into account.
  • Although Montana offers only no-fault grounds for divorce, this doesn't necessarily mean that both spouses agree that the marriage is broken. A judge may postpone the divorce process for 30 to 60 days and suggest marriage counseling. The court then holds something called a conciliation conference and decides whether the marriage is broken. During this time, the court can seek evidence to make a ruling on whether the grounds stand.
  • A simplified divorce is also called an uncontested divorce. When both parties agree on all issues, they file for divorce as co-petitioners rather than as petitioner and respondent. They would then file an agreement detailing the terms of their settlement.
  • Montana also offers a summary divorce. The marriage must be childless and the wife may not be pregnant. The parties may not have more than $25,000 in assets or more than $8,000 in unsecured debt. If all criteria can be met, a summary divorce is about as simple as it gets.
  • When a conciliation conference fails or spouses can't agree on issues of property, support and custody, then they are bound for trial despite all of Montana's best efforts to prevent it. Either a judge or a "referee of the court" will decide disputes and enter a final decree.
  • Montana recognizes common law marriages.

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