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Montana divorce details

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Uncontested divorce is a very convenient way to get divorced, as it is possible to dissolve the marriage in just a couple of months. One of the main conditions for an uncontested divorce is that the spouses have no disputes and have come to terms regarding all the issues. In other words, the spouses simply have nothing to contest in court.

Contested divorces on the other hand can get quite complicated and difficult. As a result, couples have increasingly been trying to apply for an uncontested divorce. The extra issues of a contested divorce include:

  1. The average cost of a contested divorce in Montana is $8,400 and if you have underage children, the price increases to $12,600. A large chunk of this goes to the payment of lawyers. In comparison, the average cost of an uncontested divorce is $200 - $300.
  2. It consumes a lot of time. A contested divorce can take up to a year or more as everything depends on the complexity of the issues that the court must consider. An uncontested divorce can be obtained in just 90 days.
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
Uncontested divorce in Montana

Uncontested Divorce in Montana

An uncontested divorce is a simple way to dissolve a marriage in Montana. It is possible to obtain an uncontested divorce within 30 to 90 days, which is very fast compared to a contested one. If you and your spouse have agreed on all the issues of the divorce, the court will simply approve it. As a result, you are not required to attend long court hearings.

Grounds for Divorce in Montana

There are 2 legitimate grounds for divorce in Montana:

  1. Irreconcilable differences between spouses that led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  2. Spouses live separately and without cohabitation for at least 180 days.

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Montana Residency Requirements to file for the divorce

Montana Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

In order to file for divorce in Montana, you and your spouse must meet the residency requirements. In the event of a divorce in Montana, you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit. In addition, if you have any children under the age of 18, they must reside in the state for at least 6 months before you can file a lawsuit.

If the reason for your divorce is that you no longer live with your spouse, you must provide the court with proof that you lived separately without cohabiting for at least 180 days prior to filing the Petition for dissolution.

How to File for an Uncontested Divorce?


File the Petition for the court

You need to fill out the forms that correspond to your divorce, after which you must file them with the court. Your case will be registered and a number will be assigned to it.


Provide your spouse with all the required papers

Legislation requires you to provide your spouse with copies of all the documents for divorce. After you do this, you should provide proof to the court that you served your spouse.


Provide the court with extra information

You must provide the court with all the written contractual arrangements that exist between you and your spouse. This includes reports on property and debts, distribution of custody, parenting plan, and others.


Sign up the Marital Settlement Agreement

This is a particular document that stipulates that the spouses agree on all the issues and clarifies all the significant questions. You can find a sample of it on our website.


Get a Final Judgement

If both spouses agree to a divorce, the plaintiff may ask for a final hearing as soon as all the necessary documents have been filed. Thus, the couple doesn’t have to wait long to get a divorce. A judge has the right to sign a final divorce decree immediately if they are sure that such a decision is fair.

How to file for an Uncontested Divorce?
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Montana

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Montana

Do-It-Yourself divorce refers to the process where you complete all the steps of the divorce procedure yourself. This includes preparation of documents and self-representment in could without a lawyer. Note that it is important to complete the documents correctly or risk the court rejecting your documents and ultimately delaying the entire process.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Montana?

The cost of an uncontested divorce is equal to the court filing fee, which is on average, $210. It is a lot cheaper because there is no need to hire any lawyers or intermediaries to participate in the divorce case.

How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in Montana

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Montana?

An uncontested divorce in Montana can be obtained within 90 days. However in the case of a contested divorce, things get much more complicated. Depending on the complexity of the issues that need to be resolved, a contested case can last up to a year, or sometimes more.

How to serve your spouse in Montana

After the claim is filed in court, the plaintiff must provide a copy of all the documents to the defendant. This process is also referred to as serving your spouse. The State of Montana allows you to do this in several ways:

  1. Use the services of the sheriff. The local sheriff can transfer all the necessary copies to your spouse after which you will receive a "Return of Service" form, confirming that the spouse has received all the documents. Keep in mind that the sheriff will only make one attempt to contact the spouse. If this does not work out, the documents will be returned to you.
  2. If you or your spouse are in good relations, then you can send the documents by mail or deliver them by hand. In that case, you must obtain the "Notice and Acknowledgement" form from your spouse that confirms that you have served them.
  3. If you are unable to locate your spouse, then you can publish a divorce message in the local newspaper newspaper. Publication in the newspaper will be sufficient evidence for the court that you tried to serve the spouse.

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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Montana

  • Affidavit for Publication of Summons
  • Declaration of Disclosure
  • Decree
  • Default
  • Notice and Acknowledgment to CSED
  • Notice and Acknowledgment
  • Notice of Entry of Decree
  • Notice of Filing Child Support Guidelines Affidavit
  • Order of Publication of Summons
  • Petition
  • Parenting Plan
  • Praecipe for Service
  • Request for Hearing and Order Granting Hearing
  • Summons and TRO
  • Summons for Publication
  • Consent to Entry of Decree
  • Vital Statistic Reporting Form

This is a general list of forms that are established by law. But note that not all of them must be filled as it depends on your individual case.

Online Divorce in Montana

Online divorce refers to the process of preparing the necessary documents through the help of an online service. It has become quite popular nowadays because you do not have to learn all the small details and nuances of the law. By just answering a few short questions online, you receive a packet of customized documents that fit the needs of your particular case. You can rest assured that they are done accurately and on time and that they get approved by the court. Services like ours also provide instructions on the next steps of the divorce process. Starting at only $139, we can help you save a lot of time and money.

Online Divorce in Montana
Rules for child support in Montana

Rules for Child Support in Montana

If a couple has any minor children during a divorce, one of the most important issues to decide on is child custody. According to legislation, guardianship must be awarded in such a way that corresponds to the best interests of the child. They should have prolonged contact with both parents, unless ruled otherwise by the court. An example of this is when one of the parents have shown acts of violence within the family, which prompt the court to prohibit them for having any contact with the child.

Furthermore, parents are obliged to provide financial assistance for the child until they reach the age of maturity. The State of Montana has its own rules regarding the monthly financial support of the child, calculated based on the total income of both parents, the needs of the child, as well as the standard of living that the family had during marriage.

Rules for Child Visitation in Montana

Montana courts believe that it is the child’s best interest to have frequent contact with both parents. It is required that the parents create a parenting and visitation plan with detailed descriptions on how exactly each parent will spend time with the child. If the court is satisfied that it is in the best interest of the child, they will approve it. Otherwise, the court will make a decision on its own discretion guided by various factors.

Rules for Spousal Support in Montana

Both spouses may request spousal support (alimony) during the divorce process. The requesting spouse must provide proof that they are financially unable to meet basic needs and provide for themselves.

Alimony is usually granted for a certain period of time, which is determined by the court. The duration and amount of financial support are decided by factors such as:

  • Duration of marriage.
  • The presence of children under the care of a spouse who needs maintenance.
  • Standard of living during marriage.
  • Age and health status of each spouse.
  • Time needed for a spouse in need of maintenance to obtain knowledge and skills that would help them get a good job.
  • Financial abilities of each spouse
  • Possibility of the paying spouse to satisfy the needs of the requesting spouse.
Rules for spousal support in Montana
Division of property in Montana

Division of Property in Montana

Montana is a fair state, which means that common property is divided fairly and equitably between the two spouses.

Only property that was acquired together during the marriage is subject do division. Property that was individually owned prior to the marriage is not divided. Any property that was received as a gift or inheritance is also considered as individual property.

The spouses may decide on how they want to divide the property. However, if they are unable to come to an agreement, the court makes the decision by taking into consideration certain factors such as: contribution each spouse made to the acquisition of the property, the income of each spouse, the duration of marriage, and several others.

Division of Debt in Montana

Just like property, any debt acquired during the marriage is divided between the spouses. This can sometimes be difficult as it may not always be easy to determine the ownership of each debt. Nevertheless, the decision made regarding the division of debt either by the court or the spouses themselves are not compulsory for creditors. They have the right to sue the second spouse to repay the debt if the original spouse is unable to afford to pay for it.

Divorce Mediation in Montana

Mediation is a process aimed at helping spouses negotiate and come to terms with the issues of their divorce. A qualified mediator helps guide the negotiations and offers and advice, but does not take any sides. An attorney can also attend to help throughout the session. In addition, the fee for such services is insignificant.

Divorce Mediation in Montana

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How to divorce a missing spouse in Montana

How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Montana

In order to divorce a missing spouse, you must first try your best to locate them. If your attempts fail, you can request a “Divorce by Publication”. You must file the Affidavit for Publication of Summons where you outline your diligent efforts to locate your spouse along with Order for Publication of Summons and Summons for Publication with the court. If the court approves, you must publish a notice of your intention to divorce in the local newspaper. This process is referred to as “Divorce by Publication”. The court will grant you a default divorce if the court is satisfied with your diligent search and confirms that there is no way to contact the spouse.

Default Divorce in Montana

You can get a Default Divorce is if your partner fails to respond to your Petition. In this case, the court can still grant you a divorce without their participation. According to the Montana legislature, if you have taken all the necessary steps but fail to receive a response from your spouse, you have the right to request the court for a final hearing in 21 days after the lawsuit was filed. At the last hearing, the court may grant the final decree on Default Divorce.

Grounds for Default Divorce:

The grounds for no-fault, uncontested and default divorces in Montana are the same:

  1. You and your spouse do not live together and cohabit for a continuous period of 180 days.
  2. You have serious issues in the relationship that have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Note that the main condition to obtain a default divorce is when your spouse fails to respond to the petition within the court-established period. After 21 days, you have every right to get a Default Divorce.

Default vs No-Fault Divorce

Both types of divorce are available in Montana. The procedure for marriage dissolution is not very different. A no-fault divorce implies that both spouses do not blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage and mutually desire to terminate the marriage as soon as possible. In a case like this, a divorce can be obtained quickly.

Default divorce takes longer because you need to wait for a certain period of time set by the court. If your spouse fails to respond to the petition during this time, then you have the right to request the court for a final hearing.

The Default Divorce in Montana
Annulment of the marriage in Montana

Annulment of the Marriage in Montana

Annulment refers to a process that declare a marriage as invalid, or as it ever existed in the eyes of the law. There is a popular opinion that getting an annulment is easier than divorce, but this is misleading. There are certain grounds for legal separation in Montana:

  1. Blood relationship of spouses.
  2. Bigamy.
  3. One of the spouses was mentally ill at the time of marriage or was intoxicated at the time of marriage registration and could not give voluntary consent.
  4. Physical inability of a spouse to perform sexual intercourse.
  5. One of the spouses forced the other to marry.
  6. At the time of marriage, one of the spouses was not yet 16 years old, or both spouses were under the age of 18, without permission from their parents or the court for marriage.

Legal Separation in Montana

Legal separation is when spouses live separately but are still considered to be legally married. The court still divides all property and assets, and awards child and spousal support. Legal separation is a common practice, and it does not always lead to divorce. Note that legal separation does not terminate the marriage and you are not allowed to remarry. If you want a divorce, you can request the court to terminate the marriage only after six months since the court issues a decree of legal separation.

Legal Separation in Montana
The Same-Sex Divorce in Montana

Same-Sex Divorce in Montana

In order to terminate a same-sex marriage, you must comply with the basic requirements of the state: you must have legals grounds for divorce and one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for at least 60 days before filing the lawsuit. In general, the process of divorce is the same as any other divorce procedure.

Military Divorce in Montana

In order to divorce a military spouse, you must comply with the state requirements to file a lawsuit as well as fill out all the necessary forms appropriate for your divorce case. The divorce procedure is very much the same as a regular civil divorce.

However, there is one specific nuance when it comes to serving your spouse in the military. All military members are protected from default judgement by federal law (the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act). Thus, the divorce may be postponed for the entire period the spouse is on active duty and for an additional 60 days after that. This is in order to give the service member enough time to respond to the Petition.

How to Divorce a Spouse in a Jail in Montana?

The process of divorcing a spouse in jail is the same as any other divorce procedure. You must serve them with the necessary paperwork and can settle any disputes before filing a lawsuit, as well as consult with a clerk about your case.

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Divorce Filing Fee

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.

Divorce filing fee

Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?

The filing fee may be waived for indigent petitioners. You must fill out the waiver form and submit them with the court along with proof of your financial difficulty. The court will then either approve or reject your request.

How We Can Help

We can help with you all the issues and peculiarities of document preparation in Montana. Online document preparation and consultation is everything you need to be approved by the court and get a divorce. Reach out to us if have any questions as we are always here to help.

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