MONTANA DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
MONTANA 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Montana. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Montana divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file for an uncontested divorce in Montana in a timely, professional, and hassle-free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in Montana and how to do your own divorce in Montana . Also, If you have any questions try visiting our Montana Divorce Online Help Center .
Online Divorce FAQ: Montana
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Montana.
How Does Online Divorce Work in Montana?
Montana 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Montana 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Montana?
Montana has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Montana?
When you file for divorce in Montana, either you or your spouse must have had your permanent home in the state for the 90-day period before the filing date. You may also meet this residency requirement if one of you was in the military and stationed in Montana for that period of time. (Mont. Code § 40-4-104(1)(a) (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Montana?
Montana is a pure “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that you won’t blame your spouse for the end of the marriage when you file your divorce papers. Instead, you’ll simply declare that your marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which basically means that you can’t get along and that there’s no reasonable chance of getting back together. When you and your spouse agree on this, the judge will accept that you’ve met the broken-marriage requirement. (Mont. Code §§ 40-4-104(1)(b), 40-4-107(1) (2022).)
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Montana?
Many Montana residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony (known as “maintenance” in Montana), and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Montana 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use Montana 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state’s residency requirement. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Montana 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
Montana 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use Montana 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Montana If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Montana 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Montana 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with Montana 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in Montana with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (Mont. Code §§ 40-7-103(7), 40-7-201 (2022).)
How Will My Online Divorce in Montana Deal With Child Support?
In Montana, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Montana has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Montana Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but your agreement must explain why applying the guideline would be unjust and inappropriate under the circumstances. The judge will need to review and approve your agreement. (Mont. Code § 40-4-204 (2022).)
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in Montana is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that there has been such a substantial and continuing change in your circumstances that the existing support amount would be “unconscionable.” (Mont. Code § 40-4-208 (2022).) The judge will conduct a hearing and review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree (in writing) to a modification.
You may ask for a review and adjustment of your current child support order by submitting a request to the Child Support Services Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Montana 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Montana 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Montana?
You and your spouse may waive any right to maintenance (alimony) in your Montana divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of maintenance payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Montana?
When you get your completed forms with Montana 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to take the forms (signed by both you and your spouse) to the district court clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse has lived for the past 90 days. (Mont. Code § 25-2-118(3) (2022).)
How Much Is Montana’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
The court’s fee for filing the initial divorce papers in Montana was $200 as of 2022, but it’s subject to change. Check with the court clerk’s office to verify the current fee.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
You may ask the court to waive the filing fee by filing a “Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees.” You’ll have to provide detailed information about your income, debts, and expenses. The court will let you know if you qualify for a waiver.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Montana?
Montana has a short waiting period—21 days from when you filed a joint dissolution petition—before you may request a final divorce hearing or file an affidavit to request your final dissolution decree without a hearing. After you’ve made that request, the amount of time it will take to get your final divorce will depend on how busy your local court is and the availability of judges to review your paperwork and sign your final decree.
How Can I Get More Help With Montana Online Divorce?
Montana 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Montana Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Montana law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.