In Montana, the court system uses parenting plans to determine the custody of minor children, including when and where each parent will be with and responsible for each child. It also includes who is responsible for decision-making and provides for the financial care of the child. Although the legal term of custody is commonly used, Montana courts use the term parenting time to reflect emphasis on the children.
Parenting plans can move through the court system in two ways. That is, one parent can file a Petition for a Parenting Plan and serve the other parent resulting in a contested proceeding. Or, if both parents agree on how parenting time and decision-making should go, they can file what is called an agreed, or stipulated, parenting plan.
After a judge orders a parenting plan, changes may still be requested to reflect any changes in the family situation. The process to request changes is called amending a parenting plan. The amendment process may be initiated by one parent if both parents are not in agreement, or by both parents that agree on the changes.
Unsure which processes apply to your situation? Link to our QUESTIONNAIRE for additional guidance.
MCA Title 40, Ch. 4. Termination of Marriage, Child Custody, Support
MCA Title 40, Ch. 4, Part 2. Support, Custody, Visitation, and Related Provisions
MCA 40-4-212. Best Interest of Child
MCA Title 40, Ch. 5. Enforcement of Support
MCA Title 40, Ch. 5, Pt. 10. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
ARM Title 37, Ch. 62, Subchapter 1. Montana Child Support Guidelines
MCA Title 40, Ch. 9. Grandparent-Grandchild Contact
Introduction to Family Law in Montana, prepared by Montana Legal Services Association and approved by the Montana Supreme Court
Families and Kids, from MontanaLawHelp.org
Families and Kids: Parenting Plans, brochure from Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
Montana Online Child Support Calculator, from MLSA (See our Child Support help-topics page for additional information.)