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Missoula Montana Family Law Blog

Factors to consider before deciding to divorce

Making the decision to file for a divorce could be one of the toughest decisions you will ever have to make. That's why you probably won't come to a clear conclusion overnight. You may spend months or even years thinking about whether it's possible to save your marriage.

If you are edging closer toward the idea of filing for divorce, you may be hesitant because you don't know if you've considered everything. The following are some key factors that you should consider before taking definitive action to file for a divorce.

Tips for modifying child support in Montana

If you are a parent who pays child support, you know how important the payment is for your child's upbringing. However, you may struggle to meet the payments every month, especially if you have recently encountered a period of financial struggle.

While all parents with child support orders are legally obliged to pay what they owe, no parent should be in a position where they cannot afford to pay child support. This is because child support payments are calculated based on income. Therefore, if you have recently become unemployed or are earning a lower amount than usual, you should make sure that your child support obligations are modified in accordance with these changes. The following are some tips for modifying your child support order in Montana.

Going through a divorce during pregnancy

Going through a divorce is always going to be a stressful and heartbreaking event. But dealing with an additional stressor such as pregnancy can make the entire situation much more difficult to handle.

Being pregnant means that you will want to try to keep stress levels low for the health of your unborn baby. However, the divorce process could make it difficult to relax and enjoy your pregnancy as you should. The following are some tips for going through a divorce while pregnant.

Understanding divorce laws in Montana

Every state varies when it comes to how divorces are processed. This is why you should look into the laws that apply specifically to the state that you are planning to divorce in before taking action to file.

The following is an overview of the divorce laws that are in place in Montana. If you are considering filing for divorce in Montana, you will first need to ensure that you are eligible to file.

What can you use child support to pay?

Child support can be a touchy issue between divorced parents. While child support is designed to represent the noncustodial parent's contribution to the child's keep, the paying parent may feel like their support is really a secret benefit that's paid to their ex.

Some of the perception comes from misunderstandings about what child support can (and cannot) be used to pay. If you're unsure whether or not the child support you're paying is really being used appropriately, ask yourself the following questions:

Divorce rate trends by age group

Divorce rates are not the same for all age groups, which is one reason why applying the common "50% of marriages fail" rate to all Americans is misleading. You have to break it down by age group to really see what the divorce odds look like for any specific couple. When you do, there are a few interesting observations you can make.

For instance, the Pew Research Center looked at divorce rates between 1990 and 2015 to get an idea of how they had changed. Here are the results:

  • People from 25 to 39 years old: A 21% decline
  • People from 40 to 49 years old: A 14% increase
  • People who are 50 years old and older: A 109% increase

Could your career kill your marriage?

Is your career a marriage killer? What about your spouse's career?

While job satisfaction (or the lack thereof) can definitely affect your home life in either positive or negative ways, it seems like a bit of a stretch to say that some people are "destined to divorce" based on their careers -- until you look at the statistics.

What formula do Montana judges use to determine child support?

If you're a parent, then you're likely aware that every mom or dad in Montana must provide for the basic needs of their son or daughter. All parents must do this up unless they've lawfully relinquished their parental rights. The child support system ensures that parents do just that. There are several factors that Missoula judges take into account when deciding how much a mom or dad should pay in child support.

Administrative Rules of Montana Title 37, Chapter 62, Subchapter 1 spells out how the court determines how much disposable income a parent has to make child support payments. Judges generally take into account either a mom or dad's actual and imputed income when trying to figure out how much support that they owe.

Can you refuse visitation if child support goes unpaid?

Child support payments are mandated by court order, and thus they are the legal responsibility of the party ordered to pay. They are not based on either parent's desires or the interactions the two have with each other. These are debts that must be paid to give the child the best possible life.

Unfortunately, parents do not always pay their support on a timely basis — or at all. This is perhaps especially true in cases where the mother and father are no longer on good terms. This building resentment may make the person who was ordered to pay decide that they'd rather not do so.

Creating a functional parenting plan

In the vast majority of cases, a child will thrive when both of their parents work together in their best interests. If you are separated from the other parent of your child, it is, therefore, important that you can put your differences aside for the benefit of your child.

To ensure some level of continuity in your child's life, you should consider creating a parenting plan. This plan can function as both a schedule and an agreement between both parents. It helps keep the logistical aspects of parenting running smoothly, while at the same time ensuring that the child is experiencing consistency and dependability from both of their parents. The following are some tips for creating a functional parenting plan.

Cunningham Law Office is a family law-focused firm in Missoula, Montana. We serve Missoula, Ravalli County, and the surrounding area.