Child Custody

Nothing is more important than your child(ren).  Although every parent wants the best for their  children, separated or divorced parents often disagree about what that is. Call André Gurr at Garden City Law (406) 926-6996 to discuss a parenting plan that will serve your children’s best interests and protect your rights.  Overview information is provided below to help you get started.
 

What is child custody called in Montana?

In Montana, child custody is customarily referred to a child visitation or parenting plans.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is essentially a residential schedule for child-parent contact, which also provides for medical and child support.  Residential schedules may range from sole custody to shared 50/50 parenting time, depending on the circumstances.   

How is a parenting plan determined?

Parents are constitutionally entitled to determine the custody, control, and care of their children.  However, if parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the Court will determine a parenting plan based upon the best interests of a child.

How is a “child’s best interest” determined?

To determine the best interests of a child, all relevant factors are considered, including the wishes of the parent or parents, the child’s wishes, the child’s interactions and interrelationships, the child’s adjustment to home and community, mental and physical health of all persons involved, physical abuse or threat of abuse, chemical dependency, continuity and stability of care, developmental needs of the child, whether a parent has knowingly failed to pay birth-related expenses or support the child, whether the child has frequent and continuous contact with both parents, and any adverse affects on the child resulting from continuous and vexations parenting plan amendments.  These are factual determinations the Court will make when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan.  

Note that each Montana district court may have its own set of local parenting guidelines which set forth parenting provisions the Court will be inclined to deem reasonable and in a child’s best interests.  Although not hard and fast bright-line rules, local guidelines should be reviewed and considered whenever addressing a parenting plan matter.  

What state should I file a petition for a parenting plan?

Montana adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.  The UCCJEA provides a Montana court has jurisdiction (authority) to determine a parenting matter regarding a child if Montana is the child’s home state.  The term “home state” means the child lived in Montana for 6 consecutive months immediately before the petition, or the child lived in Montana within the last 6 months and one parent continues to reside in Montana.  There are other basis for establishing jurisdiction, but home state jurisdiction is prioritized.

Nothing is more important than your children.  Their future is at stake.  Call André Gurr at Garden City Law to help secure a parenting plan that will serve your children’s best interests and protect your rights.  Prompt, precise, and professional service is guaranteed.  Consultations are confidential, and usually free of charge.  As an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney in Missoula, André provides legal services throughout Western Montana, including Missoula, Mineral, Ravalli, Lake, Sanders, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, and Beaverhead County. 

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