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DIVORCE PROCESS AND PROCEDURES

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Most people are unfamiliar with the divorce process and the procedures that the law requires. All cases are different but, here is a short summary of the divorce process and procedures in the majority of cases filed in Montana.

  1. File a verified, signed petition for dissolution with parenting plan if there are minor children.
  2. Have a summons issued which includes the automatic property restraining order.
  3. Serve your spouse.
  4. Your spouse then has 21 days to file a verified, signed response to the petition for dissolution and their proposed parenting, if appropriate.
  5. Preliminary disclosure statements of all income, debts, assets and liabilities are due within 60 days of the filing of the petition for dissolution.
  6. Both parties can then file temporary motions for interim child support, interim maintenance, interim family support, restraining orders, professional fees, interim parenting plan, control of the residence, and other necessary interim relief.
  7. The Court will issue a scheduling order setting deadlines for certain things to be done including completing discovery of information and documents necessary to prosecute your case.
  8. Unless you are able to settle your case beforehand you may attend a settlement conference to see if it is possible resolve all property and parenting issues without going to trial.
  9. If all issues are not resolved at (or before) the settlement conference, then final disclosure statements are due 45 days before the trial date.
  10. The Court will conduct and trial and will decide all unresolved issues between the parties.
  11. If either party believes the district court errored in its decision, either party may appeal within 30 days of the notice of the entry of the decree.

The Dissolution process can be complicated and may feel overwhelming. Our office tracks deadlines for all cases which we handle, and can draft all of the documents you need in order to advocate for your position with the court. If you find yourself in need of assistance, have a question or are feeling completely overwhelmed, give us a call.

 

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Divorce law - Montana Legal Advisors

The Pros and Cons of Divorce Self-Representation in Montana

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Should you represent yourself during your divorce, or should you hire an attorney? Many people considering handling their dissolution in Montana find themselves waffling between do-it-yourself divorce and paying for legal help. For most people, the answer depends upon the details of your divorce, your budget, and your willingness to take on legal tasks by yourself.

What are the pros and cons of divorce self-representation in Montana?

The Advantages of Divorce Self-Representation

Lower cost. By far the biggest advantage of self-representation is that you save on the cost of attorney fees and legal fees, which could add up fast especially if your divorce is complex or if you and your spouse disagree on many aspects of the divorce. While you will have to do more reading and legwork on your own, you won’t have to pay an attorney.

More control. When you represent yourself, you retain all control over your case. You will know every detail of what is happening in your case, you will make all of the decisions on your own, you will fill out all of the paperwork, and you will work directly with the attorney of the opposing party.

More efficient. If your divorce is not especially complex, and if your spouse is communicative and amicable, not hiring an attorney may simply be a more efficient way to handle your dissolution. For example, if you were not married long, if you do not have children, or if you do not have many shared assets, self-representation may be a good choice.

The Disadvantages of Divorce Self-Representation

You may lack experience or knowledge. While you can learn a lot about Montana law and family law through independent research, you will almost certainly lack the knowledge, skill, and experience of a family lawyer who has assisted clients with hundreds of divorces. You may miss something.

Self-Representation takes time and effort. Although you may save money by representing yourself, you will need to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to legal research and case preparation.

Your emotions might get in the way. Like it or not, divorce is personal. It may be difficult to see your case from an outsider’s point of view, or to come to the best conclusions from your insider perspective. An attorney can help you see your case in a less biased way, help you make the best decisions and an attorney can also be the “buffer” with your spouse.

Get Divorce Legal Help From Montana Legal Advisors

At Montana Legal Advisors, we want you to know that there is a middle road between self-representation and hiring a full-time attorney to take on your divorce case. We offer our clients standalone, flat-rate legal services so that you can handle most of your case by yourself, but get help from a legal professional with selected matters, such as document preparation or legal advice.

To learn more about how we can help you tackle your divorce without a full-time attorney, please call us today at 406-540-4172.

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