Child Custody, Parenting Plans, Visitation

In Montana, the court system uses parenting plans to determine the custody of minor children, including when and where each parent will be with and responsible for each child. It also includes who is responsible for decision-making and provides for the financial care of the child. Although the legal term of custody is commonly used, Montana courts use the term parenting time to reflect emphasis on the children.

Parenting plans can move through the court system in two ways. That is, one parent can file a Petition for a Parenting Plan and serve the other parent resulting in a contested proceeding. Or, if both parents agree on how parenting time and decision-making should go, they can file what is called an agreed, or stipulated, parenting plan.

After a judge orders a parenting plan, changes may still be requested to reflect any changes in the family situation. The process to request changes is called amending a parenting plan. The amendment process may be initiated by one parent if both parents are not in agreement, or by both parents that agree on the changes.

Visit our forms and guides section for packets covering each situation. Or, if you are unsure which processes apply to your situation, link to our QUESTIONNAIRE for additional guidance.

PLEASE NOTE: If you need parenting plan forms as a part of your dissolution (divorce), please refer to the Ending Your Marriage page.  If you are unsure which processes apply to your situation, link to our QUESTIONNAIRE for additional guidance.

Parenting Plan Forms:

Forms for Waiving Court Fees

Parenting Plan Packet and Individual Forms

Joint Parenting Plan Without a Dissolution

Amending the Parenting Plan (Forms with Guides)

Amending Parenting Plan when both Parents agree

Amending Parenting Plan when Parents disagree

Enforcing the Parenting Plan (Forms with Guide)

Enforcing Your Parenting Plan

Additional Forms with Guides

Answer to Petition for Parenting Plan

Notice of Intent to Move

MCA Title 40, Ch. 4. Termination of Marriage, Child Custody, Support

MCA Title 40, Ch. 4, Part 2. Support, Custody, Visitation, and Related Provisions

MCA 40-4-212. Best Interest of Child

MCA Title 40, Ch. 5. Enforcement of Support

MCA Title 40, Ch. 5, Pt. 10. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

ARM Title 37, Ch. 62, Subchapter 1. Montana Child Support Guidelines

MCA Title 40, Ch. 9. Grandparent-Grandchild Contact

Introduction to Family Law in Montana, prepared by Montana Legal Services Association and approved by the Montana Supreme Court

Families and Kids, from MontanaLawHelp.org

Families and Kids: Parenting Plans, brochure from Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)

Montana Online Child Support Calculator, from MLSA (See our Child Support help-topics page for additional information.)