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Missoula Montana Family Law Blog

Key facts about Montana child custody laws

Child custody law tends to be very similar across states. In addition to this, most states in the U.S. have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which aids states in cooperation when it comes to multistate custody cases.

However, states can differ slightly when it comes to the way that they assess and evaluate child custody cases. This is why it is important to observe state law. If you are going through a child custody battle in Montana, you should observe the following facts.

Tips for effectively modifying child support

Child support is put in place with good intentions: It is meant to provide financial support for children whose parents are not together. It makes all biological parents financially responsible for their children, regardless of whether they have chosen to have a relationship with them or not. However, those who have been ordered to pay child support often find that it is a heavy financial burden that makes it difficult for them to live a normal life.

Parents with child support orders in place are ordered to pay a sum that is based on their income at the time. Therefore, there is no reason why a parent would not be able to afford their child support order unless their financial situation has changed significantly since the order was made. To modify your child support obligations, you should be able to show that a change in circumstances has taken place.

Understanding asset division laws in Montana

One of the most complex processes in a divorce proceeding is the asset division process. Splitting marital assets tends to be particularly complex between high asset spouses, spouses who are struggling to maintain a collaborative relationship, and spouses who have been married for many years.

State laws have a huge impact on how marital assets are divided at divorce. This is why it is so important to understand the specific laws in place in the state that you intend to divorce in.

What you need to know about divorce in Montana

State law dictates many things about the divorce process. This means that getting a divorce in Montana is likely to be subject to slightly different laws than getting in a divorce in Texas or California, for example.

Therefore, you should make sure that you have a good understanding of the laws in the state that you are divorcing in. The following are some of the key things that you should know if you are filing for a divorce in Montana.

Managing divorce has unique challenges during retirement

There is no doubt that couples who decide to divorce in Montana will be faced with difficult challenges as they embark on the process to rebuild their lives as independent individuals. Depending on how long a couple has been married, the types of assets they share and the reason their relationship is ending, their path to moving on could vary significantly. For couples who are nearing retirement or who have already retired, divorce can wreak havoc on their financial future and should be carefully navigated to prevent costly mistakes. 

When couples have shared a significant period of their life together and are now facing separation, it will take time to unravel everything they have shared and designate who will keep what. If a couple has had children together who are now in adulthood, they will benefit from communicating regularly with their children and maintaining those relationships. They should also make active efforts to focus on how their future will be better and on what can be done currently to find joy and realize the benefits of the changes that are happening in their life. 

Is college tuition part of child support?

Montana child support payments are obligations you might have to your co-parent in order to share the economic burden of raising your children. The court might order these payments based on a variety of considerations, but college tuition is not likely to be one of them.

The reason for this is that your obligation to pay child support has an age limit. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, your payments in Montana should end when your child turns 18 or graduates high school — 19 at the latest. There are some exceptions to this rule, so please continue reading for more information.

Why is paternity important to fathers?

Paternity is important in Montana because it gives both father and child legal rights. Children have a right to be supported by their legal parents, and fathers have certain rights, such as being served notice of various family law procedures.

You may already be the presumed father of your child. That means that the law assumes you are the father, even if you are not married to the mother. If this is not the case, you may be able to establish paternity by other means.

Child custody dispute ends in shooting

The ultimate hope is that those who are going through a divorce in Missoula can keep things civil between each other throughout the process. Doing so may typically works out to benefit of all of those involved, as it allows proceedings to be completed quickly and keeps the resource expenditures required to complete the case at a minimum. Yet divorces often involve a great deal of emotion, and in some cases, expecting those involved to contain that emotion might prove to be too much to ask. At that point, the goal then becomes to limit the impact that it may have on the proceedings. 

Yet the matters related to a divorce case are not always limited to the courtroom. That fact became tragically apparent in a child custody dispute that spilled into the streets in Texas. A man arrived to pick up his daughter from her mother'ss house when an argument between the two (and another man) ensued. The child's grandfather then retrieved a shotgun and followed the father to his van before shooting into the vehicle while both the father and the girl were inside. The father began to pull away, but then stopped and exited the vehicle, and returned to the house. The grandfather then shot him in the chest in the front yard. He later died from his wounds.  

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. 

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