Montana Child Support Guidelines

Montana's child support guidelines are set out in the Montana Administrative Rules. These state guidelines were created to establish a consistent standard to be used by the district courts, child support enforcement agencies, attorneys, and parents in Montana when determining a parent's child support obligations. The basic idea behind child support is that a child's standard of living shouldn't be negatively affected if their parents aren't living in the same household.

There is a rebuttable presumption that a child support award calculated using the child support guidelines is adequate and reasonable, however, each case must be determined on its own merits and the guidelines will be deviated from if there is evidence that the child's needs aren't being met.

In order to calculate a child support award in Montana, use the child support guidelines worksheet and worksheet instructions. The chart below provides a brief overview of the main rules that are incorporated into the worksheet and that make up Montana's child support guidelines.

Code Section

Administrative Rules of Montana Title 37, Chapter 62, Subchapter 1: Montana Child Support Guidelines

Determination of Income for Child Support

 

A parent's "income" for child support purposes is equal to the parent's actual income plus any imputed income.
  • Actual income: A parent's actual income includes economic benefits from any source, gross receipts minus reasonable and necessary expenses (if the parent receives income from owning a business), the value of non-cash benefits, grants or scholarships, and allowances for expenses.
  • Imputed income: Imputed income is income not actually earned by a parent, but that is attributed to a parent who is capable of working 40 hours per week and is unemployed, underemployed, fails to produce sufficient proof of income, has an unknown employment status, or is a student.

Income Available for Child Support

 

Income available for support is determined by subtracting the "allowable deductions" from each parent's income, and the parent's "personal allowance" from each parent's income.

Allowable Deductions from Income

Allowable deductions from income include those required by law, those required as a condition of employment, and those necessary for the production of income.

Personal Allowance

A parent's personal allowance equals 1.3 multiplied by the federal poverty guidelines for a one-person household. The parent's personal allowance is deducted when determining child support.

Parental Share

 

The parents' incomes available for child support are combined to determine the total income available for child support. Then, divide each parent's income available for child support by the total in order to determine each parent's share of the primary child support allowance.

Primary Child Support Allowance

 

Multiply the parent's personal allowance by the applicable figure below in order to determine the primary child support allowance:
  • .30 for the first child
  • .20 for the second and third child, or
  • .10 for the fourth and each additional child

Montana Child Support Enforcement

Montana's Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) provides child support enforcement services including:

  • Locating absent parents
  • Establishing paternity
  • Establishing financial support orders
  • Enforcing current and past-due child support, and
  • Modifying child support orders

If you would like to enquire about any of the services listed above contact CSED's central office toll free at (800) 346-5437.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Montana's child support guidelines contact a local family law attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.