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Missoula Montana Family Law Blog

The process of filing for child support and having it enforced

When the process of divorce is still relatively new for couples in Montana, one of the concerns that may cross their mind is how they will continue to support the needs and comforts of their children without the support of a spouse. This change in the dynamic of their family will undoubtedly have an impact on parenting and raising their children, but resources like child support have been created to hopefully provide at least a little relief. 

Child support takes into consideration the daily needs of a child including shelter, food, water, education and childcare if the parent they live with has to maintain a job. Using details gathered from the personal circumstances of a couple's divorce and logistics, courts will determine an amount to be paid, generally by one spouse to the other. Traditionally, men were required to pay child support as they were the primary breadwinners, but with changes in how many women are working and maintaining substantial jobs, there are now many women that are also paying child support. 

Avoid behaviors that could cause your divorce to affect your job

Getting divorced from your spouse in Montana is probably never something you anticipated happening when you first met and fell in love. Acknowledging that the most appropriate solution for solving your marital conflict is to go your separate ways may be difficult to accept at first. At Cunningham Law Office, we understand the complexities of ending a marriage relationship and are committed to helping people work through that process. 

While divorce has a sneaky way of affecting many parts of your life, one area that it could damage is your career. For one, you may need to take some time away from your job for various negotiations and court dates to finalize your separation. You may also experience mental distraction as you struggle to maintain your focus on your job responsibilities when you have difficult circumstances to face in your personal life. 

Can you tell when a divorce is going to happen?

While every marriage has its moments where contentment, happiness and love seem to be fleeting, it can be incredibly discouraging if you feel that disagreements are more common than any positive interaction. Identifying the warning signs that your marriage to your spouse in Montana is not in a healthy place is important in helping you decide if pursuing your relationship is worth your while. 

Perhaps the most imperative part of maintaining any relationship is being able to feel comfortable communicating openly with the person you are building a relationship with. Effective communication often requires you and the other party to listen, negotiate, practice flexibility and at times, settle for an arrangement that may not be exactly what you had wanted. With a willingness to compromise from both you and your partner, you have the ability to create a strong relationship that is built on trust and respect. 

Rescuing retirement savings from the grasp of divorce

When people get divorced in Montana, their decision to separate from their spouse can affect their life in many different ways, some more significantly than others. One area that seems to feel extra strain is retirement savings. For many people, panic sets in when they recognize that the retirement plans they have made for themselves are tied up in divorce proceedings. 

As soon as people begin the process of getting divorced, they would benefit from starting to look into a retirement plan of their own. Drawing upon the expertise and guidance of professionals such as a financial advisor, people may be able to begin curating their own retirement savings plan that will still allow them to have considerable resources as they age. Another consideration they may look into is negotiating a settlement with their former spouse for a portion of the shared retirement savings plan. People who make an effort to be flexible may be able to work with their ex and the courts to secure at least a portion of the retirement savings which they may be able to effectively roll over into their own account. 

Custody decisions in Montana

Parents who are going through a divorce in Montana must do their best to decide how to divide child custody in a fair and equitable manner. This includes focusing on what is best for the child and making sure each parent has a role in parenting.

According to the Montana Judicial Branch, rather than use the term custody, the courts prefer to use parenting time to describe the agreement between the two parents. This term better emphasizes the fact that parents should make decisions based on what is best for the child as opposed to what is best for mom and dad. Ideally, both parents should come to an agreement, but if they are unable to, a judge will make the decision. 

Job-related challenges and divorce

There are many different factors that can make it more difficult for some people to maneuver the divorce process. For some couples in the state of Montana, job-related challenges can bring an additional amount of stress into their daily lives, and this can be counterproductive for those who are trying to secure favorable outcomes with respect to numerous family law issues (such as a custody dispute, alimony, etc.). It is important to carefully review your divorce case and any of the legal topics that you may have to address as you work toward the end of your marriage.

If you are facing challenges in your professional life, these issues could complicate your divorce case in different ways. For example, if your job has been very demanding (such as working an excessive amount of overtime), you could feel drained of energy and stressed out, which may get in the way of preparing for your divorce. Or, you could be going through financial difficulties due to a demotion or even the loss of your job, which may raise questions about spousal support and child support.

Gambling addiction and the divorce process

Whether someone is addicted to slot machines, card games or betting on sports, gambling addictions can make life challenging in many ways. Sometimes, compulsive gambling results in the breakdown of a marriage, especially if a spouse is upset with their partner’s behavior or the financial complications associated with excessive gambling. Moreover, even when a gambling problem is not to blame for the end of a marriage, someone who has a tendency to gamble too much may have an especially difficult time with this during their divorce.

If you struggle with problem gambling, it is important to prevent divorce-related stress from worsening your gambling habits. Our law office understands how stressful divorce issues can be, but those who turn to gambling and other potentially concerning behaviors to cope with their stress may find themselves in an even worse position. On the other hand, if you are married to someone who struggles with gambling, you may find that it is necessary to end the marriage. Unfortunately, your attempts to convince your partner to stop gambling may have been unfruitful, and you may be tired of dealing with financial hardships resulting from your spouse’s gambling habit.

Child support tips for dads

Montana divorce rates have dropped, and more dads want ongoing relationships with their children. However, despite these numbers, there is still a large group of single fathers who need information about child support, how the system works and what they should consider when setting up a plan. At the Cunningham Law Office, we can help you work out a plan with your ex that makes financial sense for you and your kids.

According to Fatherly, leaving emotion out of the proceedings is critical to making choices regarding child support. Here are some tips that can help you navigate the legal system and ensure your plan meets state requirements.

  • Avoid financial penalties by making payments on time. Not only can it result in tax intercepts and garnished wages, but it also creates animosity between you and your ex. This can result in heightened tension in an already awkward relationship.
  • Keep financial records of all transactions, from the payments to other expenses such as clothing and medical care. Although this does not affect your current terms, it may matter if you go back to court later and renegotiate the child support amount.
  • Determine the best dispute resolution method. Even if you and your ex have an amicable relationship now, that could change. Some issues result in disagreements that seem outside the realm of compromise. Make sure there is a way to address the problem before the situation boils over and you wind up back in court.

Custody issues related to your career

Child custody can be a tough aspect of family law for many reasons. For starters, uncertainty involving the custody of a child can lead to serious emotional hurdles, such as depression, anxiety and anger. These negative emotions can carry over into other facets of your life, such as your job. For example, your performance at work may suffer because of the emotions you are going through, and there are other ways in which child custody could affect your career. It is pivotal to handle custody issues properly and do all you can to protect your child’s future while minimizing any repercussions that a custody dispute may have on your life.

Other issues that may arise with respect to custody and your career involve relocation and the way in which your work schedule could affect your custody arrangement. Some parents have to move for work, which can become especially tricky after a divorce when they have to share custody with their ex. Others may work a very demanding schedule, or they may work odd and unusual hours, which can make it difficult to create an effective custody agreement.

Protecting your reputation during divorce

The end of a marriage can be a difficult process for various reasons, such as a parent’s unwillingness to pay child support or disagreement regarding how custody should be split up. Sometimes, a person’s reputation may be at stake, both during and after the divorce process. For example, someone may worry that an unfavorable outcome in court, such as losing a custody dispute, could reflect poorly on their reputation. Or, someone may find that the very decision to file for divorce has brought judgment from their friends, family members and even the community, in some cases. Moreover, some people face these problems because of personal attacks coming from their former partner.

It is essential to protect your reputation and there are a number of ways in which you may be able to accomplish this. For example, you should be careful about what you say online and to friends and family members during this time. Sharing certain types of information could reflect poorly on you and may even adversely affect your case (such as lifestyle choices that may impact a custody decision).

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