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Divorce in Big Horn County
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Online Divorce in Big Horn County
Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Big Horn County, Montana, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.
OnlineDivorce.com provides support to all our customers from Big Horn County, who want to have a simple and affordable divorce. We cannot promise you a quick divorce because all family situations are different, and a lot depends on your ability to cooperate and compromise with your spouse and the court’s divorce timeline. However, we give you full assistance in the divorce documents preparation with a personalized approach and 100% protection of your data.
Agreeing to end their marriage, many people usually want a divorce process to be over fast and easy to carry on with their lives. The fastest and easiest way to have the legal process finalized is to have an uncontested divorce. Having no contest refers to typical divorce-related matters, such as property division, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, and custodial decisions. If a couple settles all those issues, the court will make their divorce final as fast as the caseload will allow due to no mandatory waiting period in Montana.
The cost of divorce is another crucial aspect of the dissolution of marriage. However, skyrocketing expenses associated with a typical divorce are a reality of contested divorces where each spouse hires an attorney and takes their unresolved matters to trial. Those couples who can resolve custody and property division issues out of the courtroom can typically have a cheap and fast divorce without a lawyer. OnlineDivorce.com helps by providing thorough information on the necessary steps in a Do-It-Yourself divorce process.
Given different filing requirements in each state, OnlineDivorce.com ensures its customers receive the correct divorce forms. Based on your answers to a simple divorce questionnaire on the website, OnlineDivorce will select and complete printable forms customized for your case.
Filing your divorce without a lawyer will require you to understand the legal process in Montana. Local rules may differ from county to county, but OnlineDivorce will provide you with detailed information and a divorce timeline on a DIY divorce in Big Horn County. Preparing documents for divorce online is an inexpensive option for starting your own divorce and being in full control. Get your documents completed in the comfort of your home, and be confident that you did everything right.
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Check if you qualify for an online divorce in Big Horn County, MT
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Valid grounds to get divorce in Big Horn County
In Big Horn County, courts do not use fault-based grounds to grant a divorce. As a pure no-fault state, Montana considers the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as the only legal reason for the dissolution of marriage.
According to MT CODE ANN § 40-4-104, if both parties agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken, the court finds it a substantial claim to proceed with a divorce action. If the court requires evidence, findings must reveal:
(i) that the parties have lived separate and apart for more than 180 days before filing for divorce; or
(ii) there is serious marital discord that adversely affects the attitude of one or both parties towards the marriage.
Also, under the provisions of the Montana Conciliation Law in MT CODE ANN 40-4-107, the court shall allow reconciliation if one spouse denies irretrievable damage to the marriage. Then 30 to 60 days are allocated for the spouses to seek mediation or counseling in Big Horn County.
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Custody of minor children can be one of the most contested issues in a divorce. However, an uncontested divorce requires parents to settle this issue or let the court decide custody using the principle of the child’s best interests and submitted information on the parents (See MT CODE ANN § 40-4-212).
If you file a Joint Dissolution as a co-petitioner with your spouse, you can also prepare a parenting plan together. Otherwise, each parent submits their version of a parenting plan to the court separately. Parents must decide on physical custody – which of the parents the child resides with and where – and legal custody – which parent makes significant decisions for the child, such as education, religion, medical care, vacation, etc.
Upon reviewing a submitted parenting plan, the judge may suggest amendments according to the child’s best interests. The parents’ consent is required.
If divorcing parents struggle with some or all custodial issues, the court will determine them on its own, taking into consideration the following factors:
the child's wishes if he or she is of sufficient age to express such preferences;
the child's ability to adjust to his or her home, school, and community;
the child's growth and development needs;
the parents' wishes or preferences as to custody;
any history of domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, or substance abuse;
the nature of parent-child interaction and the child's relationship to his or her siblings and other family members;
the mental and physical health of all parties involved in the proceedings;
the parents' desire to continue care and support; and
the past performance of a parent in financial support
Carefully examining all the data on the parents and the child, the court decides, holding joint custody as the most preferred option.
It is possible to change or modify court orders in connection with a parenting plan if the other party’s circumstances have changed. For example, if one parent wants to move with their children, the other parent and the court must be informed in writing thirty days before a planned residential change.
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Rules for child support in Big Horn County
To determine child support, Montana courts (1) use a case-by-case approach and (2) the Child Support Guidelines. First, the court calculates the dual-income of the family and each parent’s share in it. By combining the two incomes, the court determines how much the child may receive unless the family breaks apart. Next, the Montana Child Support Guidelines use the Melson formula to ensure that each parent’s income does not get lower than a poverty self-support reserve after child support is deducted. Finally, the court factors in all the other considerations to come up with a base child support obligation for each parent.
Under the provisions of MT CODE ANN § 40-4-204, a Big Horn County court decides child support based on the following factors:
(a) the financial resources of the child;
(b) the financial resources of the parents;
(c) the standard of living that the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
(d) the physical and emotional condition of the child and the child's educational and medical needs;
(e) the age of the child;
(f) the cost of daycare for the child;
(g) any parenting plan that is ordered or decided upon; and
(h) the needs of any person, other than the child, whom either parent is legally obligated to support.
Also, the court factors in how many children (and child support obligations) each parent has, whether any parent has an award of spousal support, how property division goes for each parent, and tax consequences for each parent.
In Montana, the age of emancipation is 18 or when the child graduates from high school. As for college education expenses, Montana does not order parents to cover it in child support. However, parents may volunteer to do so.
Big Horn County has the state child support agency handling child support arrears and enforcement of child support obligations. If non-custodial parents fail to make monthly child support payments, they may get it withheld from their paychecks, welfare benefits, wage garnishments, and bank levy.
Estimate your monthly child support payment in Big Horn County here.
Rules for spousal support in Big Horn County
Called maintenance in Montana, spousal support is an award of a specific monetary compensation from one spouse to the other to alleviate a transition to self-sufficiency and financial independence after the dissolution of marriage. To receive spousal support in Big Horn County, one spouse must submit a request with substantiation of reasons for it. Like many other US states, Montana does not have established guidelines for spousal support, and each case is considered separately, factoring in all the circumstances and details of the couple’s life.
According to MT CODE ANN § 40-4-203, to substantiate one’s spousal support request, the requesting spouse must provide evidence that he or she:
(a) lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs; and
(b) is unable to be self-supporting through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
When determining maintenance in Big Horn County, the court disregards any evidence of spousal fault as Montana is a no-fault state. Alongside custodial duties and property division, the court will also consider:
the financial resources and total income of the requesting spouse
the training and education required by the requesting spouse to find appropriate employment
the standard of living established during the marriage
the length of the marriage
the age and physical and emotional health of the requesting spouse, and
the ability of the paying spouse to meet his or her own needs while also paying maintenance to the other spouse.
A Big Horn County court might award long-term maintenance if a couple was married for a long time. Each judge may use a different criterion to determine the duration of maintenance. Some deem it necessary for maintenance to last half a term of the marriage, while others calculate one-year maintenance to be paid for every three years of marriage.
Although Montana has no fixed maintenance calculation formula, you can get a rough estimation of alimony in Big Horn County here.
Uncontested Big Horn County divorce with children
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Property division in Big Horn County
Divorcing spouses in Big Horn County can divide their marital assets on their own, through a mediator’s help or legal counsel. Then the court simply reviews a divorce settlement agreement and approves or suggests amending it.
Montana law establishes equitable distribution as a guiding principle for property division in divorce. After distinguishing separate property from marital property, the court will examine “the duration of the marriage and prior marriage of either party, the age, health, station, 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,” according to MT CODE ANN § 40-4-202.
When assessing a couple’s marital property, a Big Horn County court will necessarily look into:
(a) the non-monetary contribution of a homemaker;
(b) the extent to which the contributions have facilitated the maintenance of the property; and
(c) whether or not the property division serves as an alternative to maintenance arrangements.
In addition to commonly considered as marital property real estate, family home, and vehicles, the division of property also includes the allocation of debts of the spouses. Even if your spouse incurred a debt separately from you, it does not matter when it happened (before the marriage or after the separation), as you both are responsible for paying it off.
Similarly, pensions and retirements are marital assets too, and should be divided accordingly. To be sure that you will receive your pension benefits or a proper share of your spouse’s retirement plan, hire a certified pension planner or a financial professional who will value your pensions and create correct qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs).
Mediation support in Big Horn County
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps parties in conflict resolve contested issues and negotiate an agreement acceptable to both parties. In a divorce process, the court can order spouses to take mediation. Or spouses can hire a mediator to facilitate their decision making. Mediation is less expensive than legal counsel. A skillful mediator guides the spouses in creating their own solutions rather than agreeing to what the court suggests.
In Big Horn County, there is no mandatory mediation for divorcing spouses, but the judge may suggest it for spouses who contest child custody.
How to file for divorce in Big Horn County | Step-by-Step
Meet the residency requirements. Before divorce proceedings can commence in Big Horn County, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for 90 days or more (See MT CODE ANN § 40-4-104).
Identify a local court where to file and obtain divorce forms. Visit the Montana Judicial Branch and locate your judicial district in your county where you reside. Download legal forms from the Montana Judicial Branch website or receive a packet of forms specifically for your case from OnlineDivorce.com. Complete the paperwork (use a packet for divorce by default or a joint dissolution, with children or without children) following the detailed instructions. Make two copies of the paperwork and notarize them.
File the court forms. Either you or your co-petitioning spouse (if you file a Joint Dissolution) should bring the completed paperwork to the court and file it with the court’s clerk. Courts charge for filing any kind of documents. If you cannot afford a filing fee, apply for a fee waiver.
Arrange to serve the divorce papers on your spouse. If you and your spouse filed for a Joint Dissolution, the defendant doesn’t need to be served. Your spouse can just sign an acknowledgment of service. In all other cases, you can hire either a professional service server or a sheriff to deliver the divorce papers to your spouse, bringing back proof of service to file with the court.
Wait for a response from the defendant. Couples filing a joint dissolution can skip this step. All the other petitioners must wait for 21 days for the other spouse to file an answer to a divorce petition. If there is no response, the court’s clerk can enter a default judgment, but the petitioner should still attend a final hearing. Make sure you filed all required paperwork by that time: a parenting plan (if you and your spouse have children together), financial disclosures, etc.
Attend a final hearing. If you’re about to have a divorce by default, you must request a final hearing where the judge will sign a final decree of dissolution. At the final hearing, the judge will ask you questions and review your parenting plan, proposed property division, and any possible motions. If you and your spouse are co-petitioners, either of you will have to attend a final hearing and give testimony. Usually, the judge asks for the grounds for divorce (irretrievable breakdown) and some questions about custody, support, and property division to make sure all the terms of the divorce are settled. If your paperwork meets the court’s divorce requirements, the judge will sign a final decree to finalize your divorce.
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Filing fees for divorce in Big Horn County
For all types of divorce proceedings in Big Horn County, a filing fee is $200. It means that when you first come to a local court with your divorce paperwork to file, you will pay $200. There is a fee of $5 to $20 for each additional request or motion filed, depending on the type of document.
How long will it take?
A simple divorce typically takes one to three months. Without a mandatory waiting period in Montana, a couple can quickly file a joint petition as a co-petitioner and gather all the required paperwork. Then the length of the divorce process in Big Horn County is up to the court’s caseload and availability of judges to finalize the couple’s divorce.
In an uncontested divorce where the respondent is served with the divorce papers, the court allows 21 days to file a response. If one spouse disputes some terms of the divorce, resolving them will require some time and probably mediation.
Overall, the rule of thumb is, the more contested issues a couple has, the longer it takes their divorce case to be final.
Filing for divorce in Big Horn County | Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a divorce cost in Big Horn County? A divorce is believed to be expensive because of legal costs and fees piling up during contested divorce proceedings and trials. Conversely, an uncontested divorce in Big Horn County can be quite affordable. If a couple has no children together and very little marital property, they may be required to pay only a filing fee and notary fees. Those couples who have something to divide – custody, assets, financial issues, and allocation of debts – will pay for service of appraisals, therapists, counsel, mediation, etc. Big Horn County couples are advised to use a document preparation service like OnlineDivorce, and mediation in case of dispute over custody, support, and property division, to cut down on their divorce expenses.
How to file for divorce in Big Horn County without a lawyer? Big Horn County offers divorcing couples an opportunity to have a DIY divorce. If spouses can resolve divorce-related issues on their own, they do not need an attorney to submit the divorce papers to the court. Simply complete the paperwork and file it with your local court. Take care to make no errors when filling out the paperwork, and use self-help guides and free online resources on uncontested divorce.
What are the required forms for an uncontested divorce in Big Horn County? The list of divorce forms varies from case to case, mainly depending on whether a couple has minor children together and unresolved issues and whether the petitioner can locate the spouse or has to serve by publication. A preliminary list of forms for an uncontested divorce in Big Horn County will include:
Verified petition for dissolution
Notice and Acknowledgment
Notice of Entry of Decree Decree
Default Consent to Entry of Decree
Declaration of Disclosure
Notice of Filing Child Support Guidelines Affidavit
Affidavit for Publication of Summons
Request for Hearing and Order Granting Hearing
Vital Statistic Reporting Form
Can I file for legal separation in Big Horn County, MT? Yes, Montana acknowledges the right of spouses to file for legal separation instead of divorce for several reasons. Keep in mind that legal separation does not allow spouses to remarry. A couple must file for divorce to end a marriage. Spouses can request the judge convert the decree of separation into a decree of dissolution after six months of legal separation.
When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce? Montana has no remarriage waiting period. After they receive their decrees of dissolution, former spouses can remarry immediately.
Divorce in Big Horn County online
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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:
We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.
With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, including:
prepare, file, and serve (deliver) the divorce petition
respond to the petition
interview and hire an attorney
pre-trial legal motions and hearings
settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
if settlement fails, prepare for and complete a court trial
appeal, if you dispute the trial judge’s decision(s)
Prepare to pay exorbitant attorney's fees - at least $2000-3000 depending on your case’s complexity.
Hourly rates vary with different attorneys and average $250-300 per hour. In rural areas, attorneys
may charge less. However, if you live in a large city, local attorneys may charge up to $1000 per hour.
At first glance, using such sites may look like an easy way to go, but it may turn into additional
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long processing times - do you like waiting?
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lack of guidance during the process
hidden fees, e.g., for any, even the simplest, revisions
outdated divorce forms causing court rejection
Did you know that some online divorce providers have virtual addresses in the US because they are
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