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Montana Child Custody Factors

In Montana, the court will make a custody award that is best for the children involved by considering these factors:

(a) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents;

(b) the wishes of the child;

(c) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents and siblings and with any other person who significantly affects the child’s best interest;

(d) the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;

(e) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(f) physical abuse or threat of physical abuse by one parent against the other parent or the child;

(g) chemical dependency, or chemical abuse on the part of either parent;

(h) continuity and stability of care;

(i) developmental needs of the child;

(j) whether a parent has knowingly failed to pay birth-related costs that the parent is able to pay, which is considered to be not in the child’s best interests;

(k) whether a parent has knowingly failed to financially support a child that the parent is able to support, which is considered to be not in the child’s best interests;

(l) whether the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents, which is considered to be in the child’s best interests unless the court determines, after a hearing, that contact with a parent would be detrimental to the child’s best interests.

(m) adverse effects on the child resulting from continuous and vexatious parenting plan amendment actions. (Montana Code - Section 40 - Titles: 4-104, 4-108 and 4-212)

In Montana, as with all other states, the court will always be looking out for the best interests of the children. What you want or your spouse wants is not really relevant until the court says it is. Many parents go to custody hearings not realizing that they must portray themselves as the best custodial parent rather pleading to the court that they simply deserve the children. The court would much prefer the parents to decide who should have custody, but if they canít, the court will do it for them. You can also read more about Montana child custody in the Montana state statutes located at: http://data.opi.state.mt.us/.