If you are getting a divorce in Montana, there are several ways you can do it successfully. You can turn to an expensive lawyer or can get a DIY divorce. We will tell you under what circumstances this type of divorce is possible, what advantages it has, and everything you need to know to do it successfully.
A DIY divorce stands for “do-it-yourself divorce.” As the name suggests, in this type of dissolution of marriage, the parties act on their behalf without an attorney. Instead, the spouses independently prepare the necessary documents and send them to the local court.
A do-it-yourself divorce is only possible with an uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce where the couple agrees to resolve all issues peacefully. It refers to child custody, property division and splitting financial assets, spousal support (alimony), etc. For this, ex-partners sign a Settlement Agreement document, which describes the solution to all of the above issues.
Often, uncontested divorce overlaps with no-fault divorce (spouses don’t blame each other in court). However, it is not uncommon for partners to choose a divorce without fault as a ground, and at the same time, have disputes about specific conditions of the divorce (custody, division of property, or some other).
The main thing when filing for divorce on your own is the ability of each spouse to defend their opinion in court by themselves. It means this excludes the presence of complex, vital disputes in which the services of a lawyer are required. Also, to obtain an uncontested divorce, the couple deliberately signs the Agreement, the provisions of which are mutually satisfactory for both parties.
Moreover, you can use an online divorce service during a DIY divorce. This platform makes your life easier by helping you collect and prepare all the necessary legal forms for divorce based on your specific situation. It’s fast, affordable (as opposed to the lawyer’s price tag), and most of these sites also guarantee 100% court approval.
Make sure you and your spouse meet the residency requirements before filing for marriage dissolution. Montana requires one of the spouses to be resident in the state for at least 90 days before filing a petition. Also, if there are children under the age of 18 from the marriage, they must have lived in Montana for at least six months before you can apply for divorce in the state.
In Montana, neither spouse must blame the other to be eligible for a divorce. To file for divorce, you or your spouse can petition that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” It means that you are declaring to the court that you do not have a reasonable opportunity to rebuild your relationship. The judge decides that your marriage is irrevocably broken off if:
- You and your spouse were separated for more than 180 days before filing for divorce;
- You and your spouse have serious marital disagreements that negatively affect your relationship.
However, if one of the parties disagrees that the marriage is broken, the judge will have to determine whether the marriage is irrevocably dissolved, given the circumstances of your divorce and the potential for reconciliation.
The judge may continue to review your case for 30-60 days and invite you and your spouse to seek advice if you disagree with the dissolution of your marriage. Then, the judge will decide whether your union is permanently divorced at the next hearing.
You, as a petitioner, ask the court to dissolve your marriage by filing a Petition for Dissolution with the clerk of the district court. The list of crucial paperwork includes:
- Petition for Dissolution with Children;
- Petition for Dissolution without Children;
- Parenting Plan;
- Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage;
- Order for Publication of Summons;
- Summons for Publication;
- Summons and Temporary Economic Restraining Order;
- Affidavit for Publication of Summons;
- Notice of Entry of Decree;
- Vital Statistics Form;
- Request for Entry of Default;
- Request for Hearing.
You can get all the necessary papers for a DIY divorce at the office of the court secretary or download them online on the court’s official website. You could also use a web divorce service, which will help you choose the forms and fill them out correctly.
So, the whole process of divorce in the state of Montana can be divided into the following steps:
- You or your spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements.
- You must have legally acceptable grounds for the dissolution of the marriage.
- You must file your divorce papers and serve the copies to your soon-to-be ex-partner.
- If your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, they will have the opportunity to submit documents proving their side. In this case, you will have to attend several court sessions to sort out the issues and come to a compromise.
If your spouse does not object to anything, they must sign the divorce forms and send them to you and the court. If, after a certain period of time, your spouse does not sign the documents or does not submit any copies of their own, you can, in any case, continue the divorce as an uncontested divorce.
- Finally, if there is any property that you need to divide, or if you need financial support from your spouse, you can settle it either out of court or through a series of court hearings.
The divorce process can be as easy and thoughtful as possible if you calmly follow what is required step-by-step. Remember that you can always contact internet divorce companies for help, saving you time preparing the necessary paperwork.