Montana Divorce Laws: Response

By Wayne Thomas

A divorce is legal in nature. In Montana, the procedure operates like a traditional lawsuit, starting with the filing and service of a petition for divorce. You are required to respond to the petition, and the law specifies both the time you have to respond and the format that the response needs to take. Further, the court requires different forms depending on whether you have children and whether you and your spouse can reach agreement. Understanding how to properly and timely respond to a petition in Montana will help you avoid costly delays and ensure your continued participation throughout the divorce process.

A divorce is legal in nature. In Montana, the procedure operates like a traditional lawsuit, starting with the filing and service of a petition for divorce. You are required to respond to the petition, and the law specifies both the time you have to respond and the format that the response needs to take. Further, the court requires different forms depending on whether you have children and whether you and your spouse can reach agreement. Understanding how to properly and timely respond to a petition in Montana will help you avoid costly delays and ensure your continued participation throughout the divorce process.

Response Format

In Montana, the format for response paperwork to a divorce action differs depending on whether the parties have minor children. The caption at the top of the response will indicate if minor children are involved, and it is important that you use the correct form. Additional documents, such as a proposed parenting plan, are required of parents, and a judge needs to be put on notice as to the issues to be decided in the divorce. By law, you have 20 days to respond to a divorce petition. The clock starts to run on the date the papers are personally served on you, or the date you acknowledge receipt by filling out and mailing back the acknowledgment form, included with the petition.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Response Content

Montana requires that you respond to all of the claims made by your spouse in the petition. First you must include basic information about yourself and the marriage. The form then guides you step-by-step through each claim, asking whether you agree or disagree. If you disagree, you must provide a reason. Additional documents that Montana requires are a Sensitive Data form, and a Declaration of Disclosure of Assets, Debts, Income, and Expenses form. You should file these documents in the same court that your spouse filed the petition. You must also serve them on the other party. While service can be done personally, Montana allows the response to be effectively served by mail.

Joint Petition

If you are in total agreement with your spouse and have resolved all of the issues related to the divorce, Montana allows the filing of a joint petition. This means that the single petition represents the position of both spouses. No service or response is required with a joint petition. While the document does not necessarily have to be completed together with your spouse, both must review it carefully and provide their signatures.

Default Divorce

Once you have been served with the petition, you may choose not to respond. After 20 days have passed, the other spouse can move forward without your participation. This is known as a default divorce. Because a judge will only be presented with information from one spouse, that party may receive everything he requested in the petition. Not responding can be very dangerous, as a judge will not only issue a divorce decree but also decide matters of custody, support and property division without your input.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File a Response to Divorce Papers in California

References

Related articles

How to Answer the Court in a Foreclosure Case

Losing your home can be a devastating experience. However, being late on mortgage payments does not give a lending company the automatic right to take your property -- the matter must first go through a court process known as foreclosure. If you have received notice that a foreclosure action has been filed, you will need to follow the rules on how to respond spelled out in your state’s laws.

How to File for Divorce in Wyoming

Divorces are often portrayed as highly contested and conflict-ridden. While this can be the case, sometimes spouses are able to agree on the material issues, which can help the process move forward smoothly. Divorcing couples in Wyoming might be able to obtain a divorce decree without going to court if the proper paperwork is filed and they can find common ground. To avoid delays, it is important to understand residency requirements and other procedures. While the judge looks favorably on settlement agreements, knowing what the law requires can ensure that you are prepared if the court schedules a hearing.

How to Serve a Divorce Summons in California

In California, after you file a Petition (form FL-100) for divorce, you provide your spouse a copy of the Petition and a Summons to appear in court. The Summons (form FL-110) notifies your spouse that you have filed for divorce, and provides 30 calendar days for your spouse to respond. The process of service requires a third-party – not a party to the divorce – to deliver the Summons and Petition to your spouse. California Courts require you to file a Proof of Service of Summons (form FL-115) with the court clerk's office, in order for the divorce to proceed.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Documents Needed for the Respondents in a Divorce Summons

Receiving notice that your spouse filed for divorce can be a stressful experience. Most states require that the filing ...

Divorce Papers for Washington State

Even in cases where a couple agrees to get divorced, the process can seem like it takes forever. This is due in part to ...

How to Respond to Divorce Papers in Massachusetts

So, your spouse has just served you with divorce papers? Even if you were expecting them, staring at a divorce ...

How to Fill Out Divorce Paperwork in Alaska

The process for filling out divorce paperwork in Alaska depends on whether you and your spouse agree. In cases where ...

Browse by category