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Annulments in Montana
Despite popular belief, getting an annulment is not easier than getting a divorce. Some Montana marriages may be terminated by what is called a “declaration of invalidity,” which means the marriage is not valid and does not exist. Even with a declaration of invalidity as an option, Montana divorce laws favor the dissolution to dissolve a marriage; for that reason, declarations of invalidity are granted sparingly.
Children born of an annulled marriage are still the legitimate children of the parents. The court may make orders about child custody, visitation, and child support. The court may also make orders for spousal maintenance, and it may divide marital property.
Montana’s laws on annulment are in the Montana Code Annotated 40-1-401, 402 and 404 and 40-6-201.
In Montana, a marriage may be invalid due to:
When a marriage is invalid, a spouse or his or her representative may file papers for an annulment in the Montana district court where one of the spouses lives. No case for annulment can be brought after the death of one of the spouses.
The filing spouse is the petitioner in the complaint; the other spouse is the respondent. The complaint must state which spouse has lived in the county where the action is filed and for how long. The complaint states the date of the marriage, and identifies the children born of the marriage as well as the grounds for an annulment.
After filing in the district court, the plaintiff serves the defendant with a copy of the complaint. Although a little more difficult, it is possible to serve a party even if he or she cannot be found or lives out of state.
At a hearing, the judge decides if the plaintiff has proven that the marriage should be annulled. If so, the judge will sign an order granting an annulment. The judge may also grant the annulment if the defendant simply agrees with it.
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