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A lot of marriages in the modern world end in divorce, and this is normal practice. People should not suffer if they are uncomfortable with each other. And since that's the way things are, everyone has the right to live as he or she wants. Nevertheless, divorce is not always easy, especially if the couple has something to divide. So let's look at all the nuances and aspects of the marriage dissolution process together.

In order to get a divorce the couple must meet the basic requirements: to be residents of the state, as well as to have grounds for divorce. Montana is the state where only the no-fault divorces are recognized, which means that you can terminate the marriage on the basis of one of the following grounds:

  1. Spouses do not live together and do not cohabitate for 180 continuous days. This means that during this whole period you and your spouse had no contacts. If, for example, you come again for one day, then the period is considered interrupted and to get a divorce on the basis of this reason, you need to start the countdown again.
  2. Your marriage has serious problems that have led to the fact that you can not live together because of insurmountable contradictions, besides there is not a single chance of reconciliation.

A no-fault divorce means that none of the spouses accuses the other of the fact that the marriage has disintegrated.

The process of marriage dissolution can be very fast, and can drag on for a year. Here a lot depends on whether there are any disputable issues between the spouses and how long it takes for the court to solve them. Very well, if you and your spouse have come to a common opinion and understand how your divorce should end, as it gives you a great chance that the process of divorce will pass quickly. Let's take a closer look at the types of divorce in Montana and what awaits you during this whole process.

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Montana divorce details

Divorce is not uncommon in our time, and probably everyone has at least once heard of the long process of divorce from a colleague, relative or friend, which lasted unbearably for a long time. But a long, exhausting divorce should not become something habitual. State law is always worrying about its citizens, so it offers an uncontested divorce. This 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 spouses have no disputes, which means that the couple has a common decision regarding the grounds for divorce, the division of property and debts, custody and the amount of financial support of the child and alimony. In other words, the spouses simply have nothing to divide in court.

It is true that contested divorce can last too much, which is why couples are increasingly trying to apply for an uncontested divorce, because such a way of marriage dissolution is less painful and expensive.

The extra issues of the Contested Divorce are:

  1. The average cost of the contested divorce in Montana is $8,400 and if you have underage children, the price increases to $12,600. Thus the most part of this sum leaves on payment of lawyers. For comparison, the uncontested divorce on average costs $200-300. Agree that the difference is big.
  2. It consumes much time. A contested divorce can take a year or more. Everything depends on the complexity of the issues that the court must consider. An uncontested divorce can be obtained in just 90 days.
  3. It requires an attorney.

In contested divorce, there are attorneys who protect the clients, which is why the this divorce is so expensive, most of the amount goes to the compensation of the services of a lawyer.

Uncontested Divorce in Montana

The uncontested divorce in Montana is a simple way to dissolve an obsolete marriage. It’s possible to get an uncontested divorce from 30 to 90 days, which is quite fast, if compared with the contested one. In addition, you do not have to take out all your dirty laundry in the courtroom and resolve contentious issues. If you and your spouse have an agreement on the division of property, custody of children and financial support, the court will simply approve it. With uncontested divorce, you do not have to attend long and humiliating court hearings.

Grounds for Divorce in Montana

In order to get a divorce you must have a reason. In Montana there are only 2 legitimate grounds for divorce, which are:

  1. Irreconcilable differences between spouses, which led to the severance of relations provided that there is no hope of reconciliation.
  2. Spouses live separately and without cohabitation for at least 180 days.

Montana Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

In order to file for divorce, you or your spouse must meet the requirements for living in the state. This is an obligatory condition of the legislation of any state. 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 children who are under 18, they must reside in the state for at least 6 months before you can file a lawsuit.

If, however, 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?

1

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 the number will be assigned to it.

2

Provide your spouse with all the required papers

Legislation requires you to provide your spouse with copies of all documents for divorce. You can do it in the ways established by the court. After you do this, you should give the court proof that you served your spouse.

3

Provide the court with extra information

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

4

Sign up the Marital Settlement Agreement

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

5

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. So 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 he is sure that such a decision is fair.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Montana

Do-It-Yourself Divorce is a term that means that you represent yourself in court. In other words, you do not need a lawyer, you are self-defending your interests. This procedure is absolutely legal in Montana as well as in other states. You have every right to fill in all necessary forms independently, as well as to attend the hearing yourself. Please note that the process of filling out documents for a divorce is very important, because if you make any mistake or give the wrong forms, the court will reject your package of documents and you will have to start everything from the beginning.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Montana?

The cost of uncontested divorce is small. Since lawyers and intermediaries do not participate in the dissolution of marriage, then extra costs will not budge. Thus, with an uncontested divorce, you pay only for court services, which is on average $210.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Montana?

An uncontested divorce in Montana can be obtained within 90 days. But in the case of the contested divorce, things are much more complicated. Basically, the duration depends on the complexity of the issues that stand before the court. If you want to get a contested divorce, then be prepared for the fact that it will last a very long time: a year, and maybe more.

Papers and 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 notice that not all of them you need to fill. You file with the court only those forms that correspond to the circumstances of your divorce.

How to serve your spouse in Montana

After the claim is filed in court, the plaintiff must provide a copy of all documents to the defendant. This process is also called the serving a spouse. The State of Montana allows you to do this in the following 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 only 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 give hand in hand. In that case, you must obtain the "Notice and Acknowledgement"  form from your spouse that confirms the fact of serving.
  3. If you want to get a divorce, but you can not contact your spouse and do not know where he or she lives, then you can publish a divorce message in the newspaper. An example of a statement you can take from a judicial clerk. Publication in the newspaper will be sufficient evidence for the court that you tried to serve the spouse.

Online Divorce in Montana

In the modern world of Online Divorce is a very popular service. Just imagine, you do not need to understand the law and learn the nuances, because there are services that quickly and qualitatively prepare for you all the necessary forms, and you will just have to sue them. This is exactly how Online Divorce works. You just go to the platform, answer questions about your marriage, and then get ready-made papers that are filled in accordance with state requirements. Our platform will help you prepare all the necessary package of documents, with the fact that you have to spend on answers no more than an hour. Using our services you can be 100% sure of the quality of your forms and that the judicial clerk will accept them from the first time. After completing the forms, we will also provide you with an instruction about how you should act in further. This is very convenient, since with minimal investment of funds and time you get fully-prepared divorce papers, which you just need to sue. Please note that the cost of Online Divorce starts at $149, and it's even cheaper than an hour of consulting with a lawyer.

Rules for Child Support in Montana

If the couple who came to get divorce have a general minor children, then one of the most important tasks of the court is a decision regarding custody. According to the legislation, guardianship must be awarded in such a way that it corresponds to the best interests of the child. He or she should have frequent and prolonged contact with both parents, unless this is contrary to his or her safety. In cases where one of the spouses showed acts of violence in the family, court may prohibit this parent from contacting the child.

Also after the termination of marriage, parents are obliged to provide financial assistance to the child until he or she reaches the age of majority. The state of Montana has its own rules regarding the monthly financial support of the child, which is calculated on the basis of the total income of the parents, the needs of the child, as well as the standard of living that the family had when married. Thus, the child's financial support must cover his or her daytime expenses and medical insurance.

Rules for Child Visitation in Montana

After the parents divorce, the child must remain in a positive emotional climate. Therefore, the courts believe that the child should have frequent contact with both parents. It is very good if parents can provide the court with a parenting and visitation plan  with a detailed description of how exactly and how much time each parent plans to spend with the child. This is a mandatory requirement of the state, therefore each parent alone or both parents together can develop this document and provide it to the court. If the court is satisfied that this is in the best interest of the child, he will approve it. Otherwise, the court will have to make its own decision regarding the child's visit, guided by various factors that took place in the family.

Rules for Spousal Support in Montana

Very common practice is when one of the spouses after the divorce provides a financial support to the second spouse. One of the spouses can receive financial support, which is also called alimony, if the court makes sure that it is really necessary. This occurs in situations where the spouse does not have sufficient assets or funds to meet his basic needs and is unable to provide for himself. Any partner can claim financial support, the court decision does not depend on the sex of the spouse.

Usually alimony is granted for a certain period of time, which is determined by the court. Also on the duration and amount of financial support can affect such factors as:

  • Duration of marriage.
  • The presence of child-born 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 her or him get a good job.
  • Financial abilities of each party
  • Possibility of the spouse-payer to satisfy the request of the needy spouse.

Division of Property in Montana

In addition to distributing custody of minor children and determining the amount of alimony, the spouses also need to divide their common property. Montana is a state with a fair distribution, it means that the common property should be divided between the spouses so that it is fair and equitable.

The division of property includes only the property that was acquired during the marriage. If you owned something before you married, then this property should remain yours after the divorce. However, there is a nuance, for example, if you were given something during the marriage or you received an inheritance, then this property is private and should not be divided.

Usually, the court supports the decision of the spouses as to how they want to share their property and intervene only in cases where the couple can not reach a compromise. In this case, the court considers many factors before making its decision, such as the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of property, the income of each spouse, the duration of marriage, etc.

Division of Debt in Montana

Together with the division of property, the spouses also have to share their debts, which they acquired in marriage. This is a very important step and it is not usually easy to determine where is whose debt, therefore the court always welcome if the spouses can share their debts with a mutual agreement. Nevertheless, even after the divorce, the separation of debts by court decision or with the consent of the spouses is not compulsory for creditors. In other words, if after the divorce, the spouse can not pay the bill, the creditor has the right to sue the second spouse in order to repay the debt.

Divorce Mediation in Montana

Mediators are the third party that participates in the process of marriage dissolution. The goal of the mediators is to reconcile the spouses and to find a compromise. At any time during the divorce, the couple may ask for services to mediate in order to settle disputes. At the same time, attorneys can also attend the process as well as the spouses themselves. This is a very good practice, since in this case the decision is made not by a judge, but by both spouses, which has a better chance of meeting their needs. In addition, the fee for intermediary services is insignificant.

How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Montana

There are situations when a person wants to get a divorce, but does not know where his or her spouse is. In such cases, the law still allows for a divorce in Montana. You have to fill out all the necessary documents, such as Affidavit for Publication of Summons (this form outlines the process of your diligent efforts to locate the missing spouse), Order for Publication of Summons, and a Summons for Publication. Then you need to file them with the court. Since you do not know where he or she is and do not support contacts, you need to publish a news about the marriage dissolution in the newspaper. This is also called "Divorce by Publication". You will get a default divorce quickly enough if the court is satisfied with your diligent search of your spouse, and then confirms that you really do not have any way to contact your spouse.

The Default Divorce in Montana

What to do in situations where you want to terminate a marriage, but your partner does not respond to your request? It's very simple, you have the right to get a Default Divorce. What does this mean? For example, you have prepared all the necessary forms and brought them to court, then you should serve your spouse and provide evidence to the court that your spouse has received all the divorce papers. But there are situations when the spouse does not respond to your request. Even then the court can grant you a divorce. According to the Montana state legislature, if you have taken all the necessary steps but can not receive any response from your spouse, you have the right to ask 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 the Default Divorce:

For no-fault, uncontested and default divorce there the same grounds in Montana which include:

  1. You and your spouse do not live together and cohabit for a continuous period of 180 days.
  2. You have serious problems in relationships that have led to irreconcilable differences, as a result of which the pair can no longer be together, and there is not a single chance of reconciliation.

But remember that the main condition for obtaining a Default Divorce is the fact that your spouse does not respond to your petition during 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. With a no-fault divorce, you are construing the fact that both spouses are not to blame for anything and you just want to stop your marriage as soon as possible so that everyone can go their own way. You will not need to organize a battle in court, as none of the spouses accuses the other, as a result of which a divorce can be obtained quickly enough.

Default Divorce takes a little longer, because you need to wait for the period set by the court. If during this period your spouse did not respond to the petition, then you have the right to ask the court for a final hearing, where he can make a decision on divorce.

Annulment of the Marriage in Montana

Annulment is also one of the legal ways to stop a marriage. The only difference is that upon annulment, the court recognizes that the marriage was invalid, that is, it had no legal effect, as it was concluded in violation of state law. There is an opinion that getting an annulment is easier than divorce, but this is misleading. Upon cancellation, the court will diligently understand all the characteristics of marriage to make sure that it is indeed invalid.

Reasons for annulment in Montana can be:

  1. Blood relationship of spouses.
  2. Bigamy.
  3. One of the spouses is mentally ill and was such at the time of marriage. Or was under the influence of intoxicating or narcotic substances at the time of the wedding ceremony and could not give a voluntary permission to marry.
  4. Physical inability, in which a spouse can not perform sexual intercourse and was also so before marriage.
  5. One of the spouses forced the second 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 the parents or the court for marriage.

Legal Separation in Montana

In Montana, a couple can be divided when they live separately and each has his or her own life. However, legal separation can be obtained while being married. In other words, the couple remains married, but the court shares their property and assets, as well as awards child and spousal support. This is a common practice, and legal separation does not always lead to divorce. Note that legal separation does not stop marriage, i.e. even after the court passes the decree on the separation, the couple still remains in the official marriage and has no right to remarry. If you want to divorce, you can ask the court to terminate the marriage only in six months after the court issues a decree on legal separation.

Same-Sex Divorce in Montana

To terminate same-sex marriage, you must comply with the basic requirements of the state: you must have grounds for divorce (according to law, these are no-fault grounds), and any spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit. In general, the procedure for the dissolution of same-sex marriage is the same as obtaining any other type of divorce. Again, in this process, all depends on how much there are controversial issues between you and your spouse and how long it will take for court to resolve them.

Military Divorce in Montana

If you or your spouse are in a military in Montana, you also have the right to get a divorce in the state, as if you lived here. For this you need to comply with state requirements to file a lawsuit, as well as correctly fill out all necessary forms that are appropriate for your divorce. The procedure of marriage dissolution for the military is almost the same as for civilians, so there should not be any obstacles or nuances for you.

The significant nuance of a military divorce is referred to the rules of serving your spouse. All the military members are protected from the default judgment by the federal law (the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act). So, the divorce may be postponed for the whole period of a military spouse's duty plus an additional 60 days after that, in order to give a service member enough time to respond the divorce petition.

How to Divorce a Spouse in a Jail in Montana?

If the spouse is in prison, then this is not a reason not to get a divorce. Even in such circumstances, the couple has the right to terminate the marriage, while the divorce procedure does not differ from that what was described above. You can settle all your disputes with your spouse before filing a lawsuit, as well as consult with a clerk about your case.

Divorce Filing Fee

On average, the price of divorce (contested divorce) in Montana is $8,400, while most of this amount goes to the lawyer's compensation. If the divorce involves questions about the award of custody of children or alimony, the cost will be even higher. At the same time, the court fee for registering your case is only about $200.

Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?

Yes, it can. You must fill out the documents and file them with court. The judicial clerk will charge you the registration fee, but if you can not pay it, you can sign a fee waiver form. The court will consider your request and if he makes sure that you really do not have the opportunity to pay the bill, the judge will sign a decree abolishing all fees.

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