Montana Family Law

Montana laws are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts, as in other states. Click on the links below to learn more information.

1.State statute Montana Title 40 Chapter 1 Part 4 - Validity of Marriages
2. Fault or no-fault (typically when a state allows fault based and no-fault divorce, fault based divorces require no separation period. No-fault
3. Equitable distribution or community property Equitable Distribution
a. Methods of apportionment The court will take into consideration several points as detailed in [40-4-202(1)]
i. Periera and Van Camp in CA Not applicable
b. Property distribution factors Discretion of the court considering 4 factors set forth in statute [40-4-202(1)]
4. Legal separation? Yes, under Title 40 Chapter 4 Part 1, 40-4-104
a. Waiting period/Separation period 6 months [40-4-104(1)(b)(i)]
5. Is mediation required No, but can be referred to mediation at the direction of the court or request of one party (parties must pay costs of mediation) per [40-4-301]
6. Forms used Montana Family Law Forms
7. Alimony guidelines and factors General Guidelines [40-4-203]
Alimony formula Guidelines for determination [40-4-203(2)]
a. Types Temporary or Permanent [40-4-203]
b. Term Limits At the discretion of the court to which there are several factors of determination [40-4-203(2)]
Cohabitation

Terminated at death or remarriage of the recipient, unless agreed to in writing; Court may modify decree upon showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make terms unconscionable MT ST 40-4-208

 

c. Imputing income Income can be imputed under Rule: 37.62.106
d. Change in circumstances Can be modified based on change of circumstances or written consent of both parties [40-4-208{2)(b)]
e. Ceases on retirement "At the discretion of the court to which there are several factors of determination [40-4-203(2)].  Burris v. Burris, 258 Mont. 265, 852 P.2d 616 (1993) (husband's income had dropped upon retirement, but wife's financial condition was even worse; proper to deny reduction)"
Impute income on early retirement Income can be imputed under Rule: 37.62.106
Early retirement for health reasons is involuntary Can be modified based on change of circumstances or written consent of both parties [40-4-208{2)(b)]
f. Definition of income Definition for child support purposes [Rule 37.62.105]
8. Child support factors and guidelines Detailed guidelines and related information [Rule 37.62.1]
9. Child support calculator Montana Child Support Enforcement Division
10. Lump Sum  Support allowed? Yes, term at discretion of court [40-4-203(2)]. In re Marriage of Harkin, 999 P. 2d 969 - Mont: Supreme Court 2000.
11. Valuation
a. Valuation date Date of decree of dissolution per [40-4-202(3)]
b. Goodwill divisibility All goodwill is divisible - Marriage of Hull, 219 Mont. 480 (1986)
c. Standard of value Fair Market Value - In re Marriage of Ortiz, 938 P.2d 1308, 1310 (Mont. 1997); Investment Value - In re Marriage of Hull, 712 P.2d 1317 (Mont. 1986)
d. Discounts Discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability. In re Marriage of Johnston, 726 P. 2d 322 - Mont: Supreme Court 1986. In re Marriage of DeCosse, 936 P. 2d 821 - Mont: Supreme Court 1997.
e. Shareholder/partner agreements Is considered for valuation purposes. In re Marriage of Arrotta, 797 P. 2d 940 - Mont: Supreme Court 1990
 12. Double dip  
 a. Stock options  
 b. Retirement accounts  Actual income includes "economic benefit from whatever source derived," including, but not limited to, income from salaries, wages, earnings, profits, dividends, and pensions. Admin. R. M. 37.62.106(2). In re Marriage of Williams, 2009 MT 282 - Mont: Supreme Court 2009
 c. Child support Actual income includes "economic benefit from whatever source derived," including, but not limited to, income from salaries, wages, earnings, profits, dividends, and pensions. Admin. R. M. 37.62.106(2). In re Marriage of Williams, 2009 MT 282 - Mont: Supreme Court 2009
 13. Key cases  
 14. Premarital agreements  Enforced, with exceptions of: (1) not executed voluntarily or (2) unconscionable when executed with financial disclosure issues [40-2-608]
 15. Common law  "Yes, Title 40 Chapter 1 Section 403.  Parties to a premarital
agreement may contract with respect to the modification or
elimination of spousal support MT ST 40-2-605"


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