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Property and Divorce in Montana

I get a lot of questions about how property will be divided in Montana. Many folks mistakenly believe that we are a "50/50" state when it comes to property, but this is not so. This post will leave out a discussion of maintenance (or alimony) as that is a separate topic in many regards.

In Montana marital property is "equitably apportioned." This is a subjective determination made by a judge based on a variety of factors, such as "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." I recommend a full review of the statute.


I like to describe the division of the marital estate like cutting up a pie with a few different fillings. Everything that you two own goes into the pie (minus some special trusts, etc. but generally speaking everything goes in). Then, the pie is "equitably apportioned" based upon various factors, and all of the pie ends up getting eaten!

Now, like most family law cases (with a few exceptions), your case will be ordered to go to mediation and in mediation, you can decide how you want to divide your pie before a judge has to make that decision. Generally, people end up happier with dividing their own pie. You get the fillings that you like best, and it usually ends up being a pretty fair division. But, in the instances where you cannot make those decisions together, it will move forward to be decided by the judge.


If you have questions about your case and property call Andrea Fox, a Kalispell divorce lawyer, today! Schedule a 30-minute consultation ($75) and get all of your questions answered from home.

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