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Montana Divorce Laws

In Montana, the legal name for divorce is "dissolution." The court can give you a dissolution even if your spouse does not want one. In order to file for a divorce or dissolution under Montana's divorce laws, you must meet residency requirements for the court to accept the case. One person must have been a resident of the state, or was stationed in the state while a member of the armed services, and that the domicile or military presence has been maintained for 90 days before filing for divorce.

No-Fault Divorce

The biggest difference among state divorce laws is the concept of “fault.” Montana is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means neither spouse needs to prove that the other spouse is the reason for the divorce. Instead, parties may simply cite "irreconcilable differences" or an "irreparable breakdown of the marriage" when filing for divorce.

Specific Divorce Provisions

Even though Montana is a "no-fault" divorce state, there are certain conditions the court must find in order to grant your request.

To grant a divorce or dissolution, the court must determine either that:

  • The couple has lived separate and apart for more than 180 consecutive days before the petition for divorce is filed, or
  • There is serious marital discord between the spouses and no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Is There A Filing Fee?

Yes. The court charges fees to file the petition. The court also charges a fee when the dissolution decree is issued. For more information about the court fees, you should contact your local Clerk of District Court. There may also be costs to serve the petition on your spouse. If you cannot afford to pay the fees and costs, you can ask the judge for a fee waiver.

The following table outlines the basic divorce laws in Montana. See Details on State Requirements for Divorce, Divorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution, and An Overview of Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law to learn more.

Code Section 40-4-101 to 136
Residency Requirements

One party must be domiciled in Montana for 90 days.

Waiting Period

None

'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown; separation (180 days) or serious marital discord.

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Abolished by §40-4-105

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

Get a Free Case Review Today

While going through the process of a divorce is never easy, especially when you have children together, you don't have to handle it alone. Even though Montana is a "no-fault" divorce state, there are still plenty of legal hurdles you may have to handle. You can begin the process of learning more about Montana's divorce laws by getting a free legal consultation from a family law attorney in your area.

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