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Grounds for divorce in Montana

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and living separate and apart for 180 days prior to filing are the only grounds for dissolution of marriage in Montana divorce law.

The following factors must be met to satisfy the grounds for dissolution of marriage:

  1. irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and serious marital discord that adversely affects the attitude of both spouses towards the marriage
  2. no reasonable prospect of reconciliation
  3. living separate and apart for 180 days prior to filing.

Simplified or Special dissolution of marriage procedures: Joint petitions for dissolution of marriage are allowed. In such cases, both spouses should be titled as "Co-Petitioners" on the petition. In addition, separation or settlement agreements are specifically authorized by law.

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only grounds for legal separation in Montana divorce law. One of the spouses must be a resident of Montana for 90 days immediately prior to filing for legal separation.


In Montana divorce law, the court declares the marriage contract broken; in an annulment, the court says that there never was a marriage. Annulment is much more difficult to prove -- and is much rarer -- than divorce. If you want to go this route, you will definitely need to speak to a divorce attorney. Of course, if you want an annulment for religious reasons, you'll need to consult with your priest, minister, or rabbi as well.


You'll need to provide your divorce lawyer with the following documentation, in order to proceed with your dissolution under Montana divorce law. Start gathering everything together as soon as possible so that you can find out what might be missing and submit any requests for duplicates.

Personal Data

  • Full addresses and phone numbers of both parties.
  • Full names, birth dates, and addresses of all children of the marriage, their school and grade.
  • Information about any prior marriage of either spouse, including a certified copy of the divorce decree.
  • A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g. a prenuptial agreement).
  • Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children.
  • Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation, or marriage counseling.

Financial Data

  • Your previous year's income tax return, and any related data from the IRS.
  • Information about your current income, e.g. a current pay slip.
  • A list of substantial assets and liabilities of both spouses.

On the right of this page, you will find a listing of family law attorneys. Be sure to visit these other pages to find out more about how best to work with a divorce attorney and to know more about Montana divorce law.


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