The choice to end a marriage is an extremely difficult and stressful decision. Implications of money, housing, employment, friends, kids and other factors weigh heavily on the minds of all parties involved.
The legal end of a marriage is called a Dissolution of Marriage, and is more commonly known as a Divorce in Montana. Under some circumstances, a marriage can also be Annulled. An Annulment declares a marriage invalid and in a legal sense, it’s like the marriage never happened.
A divorce can realistically go one of two ways – agreeable or contested.
If the parties to the marriage are in agreement to all potential issues such as:
- Distribution of assets, debts, and accounts
- Parenting and custodial issues
- Spousal support
Then they can file for a joint dissolution of marriage. This means there are no real issues for a Judge to decide. The Judge will just approve what the parties have agreed to. However, it is somewhat rare for two parties about to divorce to agree on everything.
Whether the parties disagree about one thing or everything, a dissolution is a legal process.
The Truth? You Need Legal Representation.
When dealing with the legal system you should have the assistance of a legal expert. You wouldn’t perform a surgery on yourself would you? Of course not, you would pay a doctor to help you. It is the same thing in the legal field, you should not try it yourself, or you may end up making mistakes that will cost you more time and money.
Instead, hire a qualified attorney right from the start to make sure your rights are being protected.
The Beginning of the Dissolution Process
Because usually a divorce in Montana starts with just one party filing, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage begins the process. The forms needed are available online here— but should be completed with the help of an attorney to prevent any costly mistakes.
In order to complete the process, you are required to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that the parties have lived separately and apart for at least 180 days prior to filing the Petition, or that there is serious marital discord. It’s important to note that at least one of the parties must have lived in Montana for at least 90 days before filing the Petition.
Making Tough Decisions
Once the divorce process is started, the decisions need to start being made about who lives where, if there is spousal support, called Maintenance, parenting plans, child support, and many other issues.
These decisions can be life altering and are very important.
Consult With An Attorney
Often, parties are unable to agree on the proper resolution of at least one of these issues, which is where attorneys can either help. They can work with their clients to iron the contested issues out or take the matter to a trial before a judge. In this case, the judge will be forced to make a decision as to who is more in the right.
Given the complexity of these issues and the need to have an attorney advocate who knows what certain Judges will do and won’t do is incredibly valuable. The attorneys at the Judnich Law Office focus on these issues. We have argued and tried many Montana divorce cases in front of Montana Judges. We can help you achieve your goals and protect you and your family.