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What factors affect child custody in Montana?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2022 | Family Law

When you divorce in Montana and have children with your spouse, each parent must submit a parenting plan to the court. The judge will make a custody decision based on these plans and other circumstances in your case.

Review the factors that affect child custody decisions in Montana to prepare for the next steps for your family.

Aspects of a parenting plan

Your parenting plan should include information about how you will make decisions in collaboration with your co-parent. It should also detail your preferred schedule for dividing time with your children, including weekends, holidays and school vacations.

Best interest factors

The state has a list of best interest factors that judges use to review parenting plans and create a custody determination that supports the child’s health and well-being. These factors include:

  • Each parent’s ability to provide financial support and whether either has failed to do so
  • The child’s wishes, depending on age
  • Each parent’s preferred arrangement
  • The physical and mental health status of the child
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • How well the child currently copes at home, in the community, and at school
  • Whether either parent has committed physical violence or struggled with substance abuse
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment
  • The child’s developmental status and related needs
  • The child’s current relationship with each parent as well as siblings if applicable

The judge can also consider any other relevant factors in your case.

Once the court issues a custody order, you must abide by its terms. Either parent can request a custody modification if the family situation changes, however.