Montana Adoption Laws

State laws govern the adoption process and often vary from one another, which sometimes presents challenges when families of adopted children move to other states.

Types of Adoptions in Montana

In Montana, the law allows several different types of adoptions. The most common adoptions are through a direct parental placement; through a placement by a licensed adoption agency, through a placement by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), or through a stepparent adoption.

Who May Adopt?

Either married couples or single adults who have an approved pre-placement evaluation or adoptive home study may adopt in the State of Montana.

What Is a Stepparent Adoption?

In a stepparent adoption, a birth parent may give his/her parental rights to the child's stepparent or a member of that child's extended family. The procedure is generally the same as other types of adoption but requirements like the pre-placement evaluation and the 6-month post-placement evaluation and report can be waived by the Judge.

A stepparent may adopt his/her spouse's child if:

  • The spouse has custody of the child and the child has been living with the spouse and stepparent for at least 60 days before the adoption petition is filed;
  • The spouse is dead but previously had custody of the child, and the child has lived mainly with the stepparent for 12 months before the adoption petition is filed; or
  • DPHHS or an agency placed the child with the stepparent.

Some of the main highlights of Montana adoption laws are listed in the box below. Explore FindLaw's Adoption section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section 42-2-101, et seq;
Who May Be Adopted Any person
Age that Child's Consent Needed

12 years and older

Who May Adopt

Unmarried person who is at least 18 yrs. old. Husband and wife jointly or may adopt separately when one spouse is a parent of the child.

Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?

6 (six) months

State Agency/Court Department of Public Health and Family Services/District or Tribal.
Statute of Limitations to Challenge

Not specified

Note: Montana adoptions laws are constantly changing--contact a Montana adoption attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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