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Montana Divorce Laws - What You Need to Know!

When you are divorcing, there are certain laws that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse need to pay attention to. The state legislature in Montana has written extensive laws that protect you and any children involved in the divorce. Knowing ahead of time what may come up that is specific to Montana is a way to arm yourself with tools that could make what is usually a challenging time a little less stressful, and, hopefully, lead to the smoothest process possible if you decide that a split is the right decision for you.

Grounds for Divorce

Montana is strictly a no-fault divorce state so that means you must file a petition with the court after you have been a resident of the state of Montana for at least 90 days. The only other way to file for divorce is to prove that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have been separated for at least six months before filing. It is important to remember that you and your spouse must both agree that there are irreconcilable differences.

Another word for this is a “no-fault” divorce. There cannot be any wrongdoing named in the petition for divorce, only irreconcilable differences. The only time that fault can be named as grounds for divorce is to determine alimony or property division, not for the divorce itself.

Property Division

Montana is an “equitable property division” state. This means that your href=”//”>earnings during the marriage are yours to keep. Your spouse also has the right to “not share” his or her wages with you unless the court grants alimony or spousal support. Your wages may need proving, so the judge may require you to submit pay stubs, Federal Internal Revenue Service income tax forms and other documentation. The more documentation you provide the better you will be able to plead your case. If there is any real property that is in your name alone or your spouse’s name, the real estate remains yours. In a divorce, just because you own it does not mean that the judge can’t divide it and allow your spouse to do whatever he or she wants after the division has taken place.

Child Custody

The state of Montana always tries to put the interests of the child before the interests of the parents. The court may give you joint custody, however, some of the deciding factors that the court looks at are the gender, mental condition and age of the child in order to best place him or her with the parent that is most appropriate. If you can prove through testimony or documentation that you have a strong relationship with your child, the judge may be able to give you custody. Not upsetting the living situation will also be taken onto consideration by the judge presiding because the goal is to give the child the best outcome. The child may be questioned by the court to determine which parent he or she wants to be with most of the time.

Child Support

Child support is an issue in many divorces that has far-reaching effects. If you obtain custody, then you will probably be awarded child support. The court has to determine, by what is presented, who is the best person to provide for the child. Both parents are required by law to support the child monetarily and your income will be verified. If you are honest and upfront with what you earn, your attorney may be able to achieve what it is you are reaching for.

Divorce can be a muddy and usually challenging process with many important factors at play. An attorney is generally considered a must when embarking on such a life-changing experience.

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