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MONTANA DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
This is a divorce reference guide to understanding divorce in Montana. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in Montana Made Easy (See Montana Divorce Help Center)
- Time Frame: A divorce may be finalized 20 days after the respondent receives the divorce papers, but it usually takes 30 -90 days depending on how busy the court is.
- Where to File: District Court. "District Court for the State of Montana and the County of ______________." (See Montana Court Addresses)
- Statute Statutes: Montana Code annotated; Section 40 et el.
- Name of Action: Dissolution of Marriage.
- Name of Parties: Petitioner, the filing spouse, and respondent, the other spouse; or co-petitioners if the spouses file jointly.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Montana is a no-fault only state.
- Primary Documents Filed: Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. (See MT Forms List With Explanations)
- Physical Separation Required: No.
- Separation Time to File: For a no-fault dissolution, living "separate and apart" can be grounds but most file under the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
- Legal Separation Permitted: Courts grant legal separation on the same grounds as a dissolution of marriage.
- Grounds: No-fault, which means an "[i]rretrievable breakdown of the marriage shown by1) serious marital discord which adversely affects the attitude of both spouses towards the marriage and no reasonable prospect of reconciliation or 2) living separate and apart for 180 days prior to filing." (See Montana Laws for Divorce)
- Residency requirement: 90 days preceding the filing of the action.
- Mediation Required: There is no mandatory mediation in Montana for divorcing spouses.
- Counseling Required: The court may suggest counseling and issue a continuation of the case if it appears the marriage could be saved. This may happen if one or both of the parties denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or if one or both wish to try to settle their differences. The court continues the case for further hearing not fewer than 30 or more than 60 days.
- Parenting Classes Required: At the court's discretion, the judge may order parents to attend a parenting class.
- Filing Fee: About $175. (See MT Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services enforce financial and medical support for children.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: The support guidelines are set out in the Montana Administrative Rules, and they are based on the Melson formula.
- Property Division: Equitable distribution on all property.
- Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of marital property is marital.
- Attendance at Hearing: Yes. Only one spouse has to go to court to finalize the divorce if you file a standard Joint Petition for Dissolution.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: No.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: Process servers effect personal service by delivering the divorce papers to him or her personally or by delivering them to an agent authorized by appointment or by law. Divorce papers may also be served by mailing a copy of the Petition (by first class mail, postage prepaid) to the respondent. A missing respondent, who cannot be served in person or by mail may be legally served by publication.
- Learn More About Montana Divorce.
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