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Child custody is a vexing issue for parents who just want the best for their child or children. But the turmoil of divorce makes deciding on a child custody arrangement a major struggle that can turn into a battle. When parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, they must turn to Montana’s family courts to decide what is the best interests of couple’s child or children.
Child Custody Options
Child custody can take on many forms with a child living with one parent or share time with both. Following are the types of custody arrangements possible in Montana
Physical Custody- With a physical custody arrangement, a child lives with one parent and the other parent can be granted visitation if there are no reasons they shouldn’t be allowed to see their child.
Legal Custody- A parent who is granted legal custody makes important decisions about a child’s upbringing and legal matters. With legal custody, a parent makes decisions about a child’s medical treatment, education, and other important decisions.
Sole Custody-Sole custody is awarded to just one parent. It is possible for one parent to be granted sole physical custody but shares joint legal custody with the other parent.
Joint Custody- With a joint custody arrangement each parent has equal custody of their child. If they are granted joint physical custody, they can spend equal time with each parent.
Depending on each parent’s circumstance, personal history, and relationship to their child, a parent can be awarded variations of the above custody arrangements. For example, both parents can be awarded joint physical custody while only one parent has legal custody. As you can see, child custody arrangements can be complicated, so parents often look to the family court to make the decision for them.
How Does Montana Decide the Best Interest of a Child?
Sometimes parents can’t agree on an appropriate custody arrangement and end up relying on a family court judge to rule on a custody arrangement. Family courts prefer to award joint custody because such arrangements give a child more stability and time to spend with each parent, but they will base their decision on what is in the best interest of their child. Below are some of the questions family court judges will ask to determine the best interest of a child:
Was either parent abusive or did they neglect their child? Does either parent have a history of substance abuse?
How old is the child? If they are an infant or toddler, can each parent meet their needs?
What is the living situation of each parent? Which parent lives in the family home? Does each parent live with a partner or roommate? Do they live near a child’s school?
Which parent does a child want to live with?
Montana Family Court Locations:
Family Court Services
935 1st Ave W, Kalispell, MT 59901
Butte Clerk of the Court
155 W Granite St # 313, Butte, MT 59701
First Judicial District Court
228 E Broadway St, Helena, MT 59601
Contact a Child Abuse Lawyer in Montana
USAttorneys.com has a network of child custody lawyers in Montana who can assist you with the following:
Child Custody Arrangements
A child custody lawyer can assist you with a range of custody issues. You can find a local attorney on our website. All you need to do is click on your county above.