Montana Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “MT”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Montana is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the MT alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Treasure State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in MT

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Montana

There are several types of alimony available in Montana, including temporary, short-term, and permanent. The court chooses which to award based on circumstances and what was asked for.

Temporary Spousal Support in Montana

Both spouses must swiftly adjust to a new level of life while maintaining two separate households during the divorce process. Temporary assistance keeps a financially dependent spouse going during the divorce process, and it terminates when the divorce is finalized. A temporary support decree does not automatically imply that the assistance will continue after the divorce.

Short-term Support in MT

The most prevalent type of maintenance in Montana is short-term support, which the court occasionally refers to as “rehabilitative support.” The court anticipates both spouses to become financially independent after the divorce but recognizes that one spouse may take longer than the other.

Rehabilitative support is beneficial for spouses who are capable of working but require time and financial assistance to obtain the essential job education and skills in order to find work and become self-sufficient. The court will usually set an end date for rehabilitative support, but the supported spouse can request a review at the conclusion of the term if they need extra time to obtain work.

Permanent Support in Montana

Permanent assistance is a long-term remedy for spouses who are unable to support themselves owing to older age, unemployment, or infirmity. Permanent maintenance is rarely ordered by the court, and it is usually reserved for lengthier marriages. Permanent support isn’t usually indefinite, and most judges allow the paying spouse to request a review if either spouse’s situation changes.

Who Pays Alimony in Montana?

In Montana’s alimony statute, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Treasure State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Montana if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in MT?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long the alimony payment should last in Montana

The duration to pay alimony in Montana can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of MT, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Montana

Maintenance payments in MT may be ordered as a single sum, through a property transfer, or as various recurring payments by the court. The most typical type of support order is a monthly payment schedule. Paying spouses can choose to pay their spouse directly, however, both spouses must consent to this plan.

You can also choose to collect spousal support by asking the court for an income withholding order, which instructs the paying spouse’s employers to automatically take support from the employee’s salary. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 40-4-207 (2017). Both spouses must retain up-to-date information on file, which is kept by the court clerk. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 40-4-206 (2017).)

Factors That Influence Alimony in Montana

The average amount payable as spousal support in Montana after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in MT, the courts in MT take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Treasure State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in MT

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Montana

The amount to be paid as spousal support in Montana is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in MT, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Montana Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Montana Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Montana and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. MT courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in MT, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of Montana divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Iowa Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Montana Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in MT:

Can a Husband get Alimony in MT?

Yes. In Montana, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Montana?

Judges in Montana award alimony to either spouse if they conclude that he or she lacked adequate assets to meet basic requirements and is thus unable to sustain themselves.

A fault is not a factor in Montana law, and the judge may not take it into account while deciding on alimony.

Alimony can be sought and received by either spouse. The length and value of any award are determined by the court.

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in MT?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Montana, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Montana?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Montana and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Treasure State?

Alimony is mandatory in Montana as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Montana?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in MT?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Montana. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a Montana court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in MT}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in MT?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Montana

When necessary, Montana law allows for a spousal support modification, even as both spouses can consent that a support order can be changed later by a court. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 40-4-201 (2017).)

When it comes to alimony, courts in MT usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Montana, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. The court will decide if the change is significant enough to warrant a modification of the order. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 40-4-208 (2017).)

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Montana:

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in Montana

In Treasure State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.