Three Ways to Divorce in Montana

A dissolution process for every situation.

  1. The Kitchen Table Divorce: Sometimes, both parties are completely in tune with one another regarding the dissolution of their marriage. Although they may still care about one another and respect one another, they agree that their marriage is over and, for the most part, on what their post marriage worlds look like. In this situation, it is often possible for the parties to sit down around the metaphorical “kitchen table” and hammer out an agreement regarding the parenting of their children and their property and debts. Occasionally, the use of a trained mediator can make this process more efficient. Almost always, the parties benefit from having a licensed attorney draft up the formal dissolution documents for them.
  2. Traditional Divorce: In a traditional dissolution proceeding, the parties use formal litigation to dissolve their marriage, make a plan to parent their children, and to divide the marital estate. This often begins with one party filing a Petition for Dissolution in district court and formally serving the other party with the same. Once served, the responding party has 21 days to file a formal Response. If there are immediate issues regarding parenting or support, the Court may hold a hearing on interim orders (i.e. a Band-Aid solution to get the parties through the dissolution process). If necessary, the parties may conduct formal discovery on the other party to investigate claims, defenses, etc. In almost all cases, the Court will then order the parties to mediation. In the vast majority of cases, a divorce can be completely resolved at mediation. In the event that mediation is unsuccessful, the Court will set the matter for a final hearing before the Court where the Court will ultimately decide how the parties will parent their children and how they will divide marital assets and liabilities. For more details: Montana Legal Services Association: Guide to Divorce
  3. Collaborative Divorce: Collaborative divorce is a process wherein the parties formally agree to avoid traditional litigation, and, instead, to settle their divorce in a non-adversarial and private manner. In addition, the parties agree to each provide the other with full disclosure throughout the process and to participate in a honest manner wherein neither party tries to take advantage of the other in any way. Each party is represented by counsel, and their are a financial neutral and a mental health neutral that also participate in the process. At the end of the day, the end result is typically a highly unique parenting plan and property settlement agreement that meet the specific needs of the specific family participating in the collaborative process. In addition, it is our experience that the parties involved in the collaborative process are more likely to be able to preserve a positive co-parenting relationship and reduce the amount of perpetual animosity they have towards their ex-spouse. For more details: International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Montana Collaborative Professionals