Montana Marital Property Laws

If you are contemplating a divorce in Montana, you'll want to know how your property is likely to be divided between you and spouse.

What is "Marital Property?'

During the divorce process, property is divided according to its status as "marital property" -- that which was acquired after the marriage and is thus shared -- or personal property that is not subject to division. The marital property concept is rooted in Spanish law and is now widespread.

Equitable Distribution in Montana

Just a few states recognize the concept of community property, in which everything is jointly owned. Montana marital property laws do not recognize community property, which gives the parties more options for how marital property is divided in a divorce. Montana, and most other states, divide marital property through the more complex process of "equitable distribution," which considers a number of factors, including the length of the marriage and income of each spouse.

How Does Equitable Distribution Work?

If the parties can't reach a settlement agreement, the District Court will divide the assets. First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, the court will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Note, equitable does not mean always equal, but rather what is deemed by the District Court to be fair.

Main Factors Court Considers in Equitable Distribution

The court shall consider the following whether distributing the marital property upon dissolution of marriage:

  • Duration of the marriage and prior marriage of either party;
  • The age, health, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties;
  • Custodial provisions; whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance; and
  • The opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

Learn more about Montana's marital property laws, and marital property in general, below. See FindLaw's Divorce and Property section for more information.

Community Property Recognized ? No, but Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act (UDCPRDA) adopted. (§§72-9-101, et seq.)
Dower and Curtsey

Dower and curtsey abolished (§72-2-122)

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

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