Top 4 Family Law Issues in Montana
Family law is the legal field that deals with issues relating to family relationships. Divorce, child custody, child support, and child visitation are the most well-known subjects of family law. These issues are also common in Montana, but Montana has unique issues that make family law different than in other states. A skilled Montana family lawyer can help navigate each of these issues to help you reach the best outcome for you or your children.
Divorce in Montana
Divorce is the termination of a marriage. In many cases, a divorce can be amicable and the former spouses can part without much disagreement. However, some divorces are very contentious. Issues like spousal support, child custody, or child support can divide ex-spouses.
Montana is very unique in that many family laws that other states have concerning divorce do not exist in Montana. For instance, Montana does not have a “cooling off” period, unlike most other states. Most states require that a couple seeking divorce wait a certain period of time before filing for divorce. In Montana, there is no such waiting period. Montana is also a “no fault” divorce state. In Montana, it is not necessary for the spouses to show that one spouse was “at fault” for breaking down the marriage.
Child Custody in Montana
Child custody is the determination of the legal rights of a parent. While paternity determines who is a parent, child custody determines the extent of a parent’s rights. A parent with physical custody will care for the child on a day to day basis. A parent with legal custody means that parent has the right to weigh in on making certain decisions for that child, such as what school or church to attend or what medical treatments the child may receive.
In Montana, parents are expected to create a Parenting Plan that explains where the child will live, how much time the child will spend with each parent, and how decisions will be made about the child. If the parents cannot agree about certain points, the judge will make a ruling based on the best interests of the child. A parenting plan can be filed after a divorce is filed or independently if the parents were not married. A skilled family law attorney can help negotiation a Parenting Plan and argue any non-negotiable details before a family court.
Child Support in Montana
Child support is the payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. The payment are typically ongoing until the child turns 18, joins the military, is emancipated, or becomes married, whichever comes first. Child support is typically granted upon the dissolution of a marriage, or the establishment of paternity. Montana has a specific set of child support guidelines. However, the overturn of Roe v. Wade has lead to the proposal of the Unborn Child Support Act, which would allow a court to award child support payments while the child is still in the womb and retroactively up to the point of conception.
Child Visitation in Montana
Montana no longer uses the terms “custody” or “visitation.” Instead, the state uses the phrases “parenting” to promote the idea that both parents are involved in a child’s life. Parenting arrangements are usually made so that the child may spend time with both parents. Typical arrangements involve the child spending weekdays with one parent and weekend with another parent, and alternating holidays for each parent. If the parties cannot agree on a visitation schedule, the court will provide one.
Do I Need to Hire a Family Lawyer in Montana?
If you have encountered any issue related to family law, then you should contact a skilled family lawyer in Montana today. Your lawyer can review your situation, explain how the laws may affect the outcome of your case, and discuss options for resolving your issues. In addition, your lawyer can advise you how to gather documents and evidence for court if needed and represent you during any court proceedings. A skilled family lawyer can answer your questions, provide guidance on your case, and represent your best interests in court.