Background and Description:
Divorce or dissolution of marriage is a legal separation of a husband and wife that may or may not disrupt the marriage bond. Legal means the permitted by law or pertaining to the law. In Montana, it is a requirement that the couple get divorced in a court. So one might ask why a couple gets divorced, this is simply due to serious marital disruptions that affects the marriage of one or both parties involved. When deciding on divorce, there are names that are involved in the process. The petitioner or the co-petitioner is the spouse that files for the divorce and the respondent is the spouse that does not file, but receives the papers via a petitioner; which is a person that is employed by the courts to give the co-petitioner divorce papers.
There are many types of divorce in the U.S., and in Montana the required type is no-fault divorce. This is where neither partner places blame on another; the couples involved want to spare the other from making difficult decisions on custody and property; thus irreconcilable differences. Another type of divorce is uncontested; which means both parties have mutual decisions about property, finances, children, and other issues. The third type is a limited divorce. This is similar to separation which means the people involved want to end their marriage, but do not want an absolute divorce. This gives the couple ample time to settle on alimony, custody, and property. The final type of divorce is an absolute divorce or the legal end of a marriage that ends the legal bonds of the couple.
In Montana, there are many laws on divorce to follow. Stated above, this will be strictly the laws dealing with a no-fault divorce. The first law dealing with divorce in Montana is called “residency and filing requirements.” This means that the court must ultimately accept the case. If the court does not accept the case, it is because one of the parties involved was not a resident of the state of Montana or was not stationed in the armed forces in the state for 90 days.
Once the divorce is allowed to go to court, the “grounds for filing” will start the process/paperwork. This is where the courts agree upon the dissolution of marriage on appropriate grounds. Once these two steps are finished, the couple proceeds with the actual divorce, thus becoming permanently separated.
The first standard after filing for the divorce is called “primary documents” or the actual petition of divorce. There are documents that have to be filed before this stage of divorce is completed, including: marital settlement agreement, final declaration of disclosure of assets, debts, income, and expenses, request for a hearing and order, and notice of entry of final decree.
The second step is “court clerk’s title” or the district clerk’s office. When in this stage, the clerk or the clerk’s assistant will help manage the paperwork throughout the court. They also keep the lawyers informed about additional paperwork, requirements, and hearing dates and times.
The third step is called “property distribution”; this is when the property between the couple is divided in an equitable fashion. This is fair and not equal; equality in the sense of financial income, or a person whom helps the family home. If the parties cannot decide on how the property is divided then the court will decide for them. If the court has to make the decision, they make it according to these grounds: marriage duration, the age of the person, health of the person, occupation, income, vocational skills, employability, state, liabilities, and needs of the other or children. This also means that pension plans can be divided; if the other spouse did not work, then they may be entitled to share the other spouse’s pension. The court can consider the contribution of the homemaker or housewife in the family unit.
The fourth step is “restoration or name change” which is requested by the court that the wife’s maiden name or former name must be restored.
The fifth step is “spousal support” also called alimony where one spouse may be required to support the other for temporary or permanent basis agreed upon by the parties or the court. If the court has to make the decision, they base it on the financial resources of the party seeking support, the time to have education or training to find appropriate employment, the standard of living, the time of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse, the presence of children, tax consequences to each party, cohabitation, and the ability of the spouse to support the other.
The sixth course or “counseling or mediation requirements” is where under oath one spouse denied the marriage was broken. The court then can continue the matter not fewer than 30 days and no later than 60 days of counseling. Once this time frame is reached, then the parties will meet and decide whether the marriage was broken or not.
The seventh step is “child custody,” where minors are involved and the courts will do everything possible to lessen the trauma on the child or children. The parents cannot agree on the issues, then the court will establish the custody order at its discretion. The court will then determine the arrangement and parenting plan according to the wishes of the child’s parents or parent, the child’s wishes, the interaction and relationship the child has with the child’s parents and siblings, the child’s adjustments, the mental and physical health of all parties, physical abuse or threat of abuse by one parent against the child or other parent, chemical abuse with either parent, consistency with care, developmental needs of the child, if a parent has willingly not paid the birth-related fees, whether a parent has not financially supported the child, whether the child has continuing contact with parents, and the adverse effects on the child from continuous parenting plan actions.
The last step within the divorce is “child support,” which the parent pays for the support of the child while in care with the other parent. This is determined by the percentage of income, which tells what obligations are needed for the child to live like the child would if the parents did not have a divorce. This process will be done by the court, and they will consider the financial resources for the child, the financial resources for the parents, the standard cost of living for that child, the physical and emotional condition of the child’s educational and medical needs, the age of the child, the cost of day care, the parenting plan, and the needs of any person other than the child, and that the parent is required to support.
If the account of marital misconduct appears than the spouse can affect the outcomes with the division of property, and award of spousal support, and an award of the attorney’s fees for the victim. Marital misconduct means that it undermines the marital relationship. Marital misconduct does not punish the offending spouse, but it is made to fairly make it right with the other spouse. Misconduct places more burdens on the other spouse creating a conflicted environment.
Many different behaviors are classified as misconduct, including: drunkenness or addiction, adultery, domestic violence, cruel and abusive behavior, or economic fault. If any marital misconduct has been present, the courts will then take the responsibility to determine just what to do in different situations. The courts decide based on the length of the marriage, the misconduct, the time period that the misconduct took place, and the frequency of the conduct. There are more types of misconduct that make a statement upon the court’s decision. For example, violence will not be relevant to the division of assets, because this is does not directly affect property.
When economic fault is at play, the different types that the court is concerned with are division of assets, hiding assets, pay for addiction, spending income for an extramarital relationship, excessive spending, destruction of property, being fraudulent with sale or property, and unfair conduct that prevents the court from making an informed decision of property. Marital misconduct can happen during the separation or pending divorce. This then permits the court to award a lesser share of assets to the victim-spouse than the offender-spouse.
The steps provided above are essential in every divorce; when children are not involved then the parties do not have to go through steps 7 and 8. Everyone has to deal with each step, for it is a process, and for the process to be completed the spouses need to complete each step. These steps and laws are learned by allowing the process takes place. The divorce laws are not posted out in the open for public understanding, they are made clear to both parties involved. The people responsible for enforcing the laws are the courts and attorneys. If a party does not responsibly go through each step, then the court can take away income or have all valuables taken over by the other party. For example, if a spouse does not pay child support, then the law can withhold their bank account until the support is paid. In order for the other party to be punished, the other spouse must report the misconduct to their attorney or court.
A burden is an aggravating experience, and dealing with a subject of divorce there are many burdens. A divorce can destroy every aspect of life for a person, including his or her business life, home life, emotional happiness, going out with friends, and time spent with family. Financial effects usually are the most effective on a person because they do not have the money they once did to support the habitual lifestyle once lived. One of the most consistent effects of divorce is father estrangement for the children.
A step in the following procedure about the distribution of property is not equal but fair, because the judge wants the final separation to start their post-marital lives with financial security and no fighting between the parties involved.
One thing that women should have the right to do is keep their marital name; even though the spouses are divorced, the process of changing the last name is hard enough the first time why change it back? Women should have the choice to keep the last name instead of having the court push the maiden name back on to the woman. The fact that the children have their father’s last name makes explaining the differences troublesome for the child explaining it at school.
Escape the Burden:
One way to escape the burdensomeness of divorce laws would be to abolish marriage altogether. Making marriage common law style could benefit all parties involved, meaning children and both spouses. Common law marriage is not legally having documentation of marriage, but agreeing to live together and function as spouses; that means by common law the people involved are technically married.
In cases of property or assets, the couple will evenly divide property on ownership. The children will have the decision to stay with which parent. There will be neither legal liability nor financial responsibilities to another parent. The break-up will be viable based each other’s decisions and have no judiciary support. This will result in no debt to both parties and as well as legal fees to the attorney. There will be a clean break-up without any responsibility towards the other spouse.
Creating a no marriage law makes the “ideal” wedding is impossible to plan. The marriage costs are phenomenal in price and without a legal marriage one does not have to pay for a wedding ceremony, a marriage license, and a reception. Entering into debt will cause more problems within a marriage, and when there is no debt to start a marriage then the couple does not have to worry about financial stability.
Dissolving a marriage is equally or more expensive financially to marriage costs. Ending a marriage without legal court terms, will make the spouses involved less likely to have emotional problems. The children will not have to hear negative terms about each parent thus making their life more emotionally stable.
Divorce is an unexpected expense, where both parties do not plan financially to support the cost. This leads to saving money and not throwing it out in legal fees.