Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Support, Custody, Visitation, and Related Provisions

Separation Agreement

40-4-201. Separation agreement. (1) To promote amicable settlement of disputes between parties to a marriage attendant upon their separation or the dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for disposition of any property owned by either of them, maintenance of either of them, and support, parenting, and parental contact with their children. In cases in which children are involved, the separation agreement may contain a parenting plan as required in 40-4-234.

(2) Subject to subsection (7), in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation, the terms of the separation agreement, except those providing for the support, parenting, and parental contact with children, are binding upon the court unless it finds, after considering the economic circumstances of the parties and any other relevant evidence produced by the parties, on their own motion or on request of the court, that the separation agreement is unconscionable.

(3) If the court finds the separation agreement unconscionable, it may request that the parties submit a revised separation agreement or it may make orders for the disposition of property, maintenance, and support.

(4) If the court finds that the separation agreement is not unconscionable as to disposition of property or maintenance and not unsatisfactory as to support:

(a) unless the separation agreement provides to the contrary, its terms must be set forth in the decree of dissolution or legal separation and the parties ordered to perform them; or

(b) if the separation agreement provides that its terms may not be set forth in the decree, the decree must identify the separation agreement and state that the court has found the terms not unconscionable.

(5) Terms of the agreement set forth in the decree are enforceable by all remedies available for enforcement of a judgment, including contempt, and are enforceable as contract terms.

(6) Except as provided in subsection (7) and except for terms concerning the support, parenting, or parental contact with the children, the decree may expressly preclude or limit modification of terms set forth in the decree if provided for in the separation agreement. Otherwise, terms of a separation agreement set forth in the decree are automatically modified by modification of the decree.

(7) The decree may be modified, as provided in 40-4-251 through 40-4-258, for failure to disclose assets and liabilities.

(8) The court shall seal any qualified domestic relations order, as defined in section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 414(p), that is issued under this part except for access by the pension plan administrator of the plan for which benefits are being distributed by the order, the child support enforcement division, the parties, and each party's counsel of record.

History: En. 48-320 by Sec. 20, Ch. 536, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 48-320; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 326, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 11, Ch. 343, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 88, L. 2013.