What are the Montana Child Custody Laws?
The state of Montana uses several kinds of criteria in order to determine which parent will have custody of the child. However, the main criteria for any family are working while keeping in mind the best interests of the child. Parents who are filing for child custody in the state of Montana should remember that according to the child custody laws, the interests of the child will hold the most importance in the state of Montana.
Types of Child Custody in Montana
There are three kinds of custody arrangements, according to the child custody laws in Montana. These include the following:
- Legal custody: According to child custody laws, the parent having legal custody of a child is the one parent who is deemed to have access to the most important decisions in determining the present living conditions and the future of the child. These decisions include education, religion, medical care, and the insurance that the child will have. In a number of situations, parents share legal custody of their children. However, even when sharing the legal custody, one parent will have a more important stand in the decision making capability of the child, as compared to the other parent.
- Physical custody: According to the child custody law, the parent with whom the child lives is deemed to have physical custody of the child. In Montana child custody laws, it was once the norm to have both the parents have an equal share in the living conditions of the child. This living arrangement could either be weekly or monthly. However, as times changed, so did living conditions. Nowadays, it is more popular to have the child with one parent for the weekdays, and with the other parent on the weekends.
- Sole Custody: According to the child custody law, sole custody is when only one parent has child custody. In this, the other parent is either not allowed to meet the child at all, or has regular visiting periods with the child. However, the child does not stay over at their house in specified periods of time.
Working According to the Best Interests of the Child
According to the Montana child custody laws, the courts and the judges will always work according to the best interests of the child, no matter the wishes of the parents. The best interests of the child are determined according to the following factors:
- The wishes and the requirements of the child. According to the child custody laws in Montana, custody will be only given to that parent whom the child wishes to stay with.
- If both the parents agree to give custody to one parent, then the courts too, have a duty to give custody to the same parent.
- The courts will seek out the mental and the physical health of both the parents and then determine which parent will be more suited to take care of the needs of the child. However, disabilities of any parent are not taken into consideration when eliminating options.
- Understanding whether or not the parent can support the growing needs of the child is a huge factor. As a child grows, so do their needs and demands increase. It becomes the job of the courts to determine whether or not the parent is in a position financially to support the child as well as themselves, and also save for the future.
- The relationship that the child holds with his parents hold the most important when determining custody. If the child is seen to be more comfortable and open with one parent as compared to another, custody is naturally given to the first parent.