Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Administrative Enforcement of Support

Order To Seek Employment

40-5-291. Order to seek employment. (1) In a proceeding under this chapter to enforce a support order, if an obligor claims inability to pay support because of unemployment or underemployment, the department may order the obligor to seek suitable employment and make progress reports on that activity to the department unless the obligor proves by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(a) the obligor is engaged in diligent, bona fide efforts to seek suitable employment; or

(b) the obligor, due to illness, injury, or other incapacity, does not have the ability to seek employment or to engage in work if employment is offered to the obligor.

(2) The seek-work order must direct the obligor to:

(a) seek employment within a specified amount of time;

(b) file a weekly report with the department showing at least five new attempts by the obligor to find employment; and

(c) include in the report filed under subsection (2)(b) the name, address, and telephone number of the employers with whom the obligor sought employment and the name of the individuals the obligor contacted to inquire about or apply for employment.

(3) The order is effective for 6 months or until the obligor finds work, whichever occurs first.

(4) Failure to report or otherwise comply with a seek-work order, absent good cause, is evidence of willful nonpayment of child support for which the obligor may be determined to have committed the offense of nonsupport under 45-5-621 or may be held in civil contempt under Title 40, chapter 5, part 6. The department may enforce the order as provided in 40-5-226.

(5) For the purpose of this section, "suitable employment" is employment commensurate with the obligor's education, training, professional or occupational qualifications, job skills, work history, and the availability of employment opportunities in the community, or in the absence of commensurate employment available within a reasonable range of the obligor's area of residence, suitable employment is any employment that the obligor is capable of performing.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 552, L. 1997; Sec. 40-5-275, MCA 1999; redes. 40-5-291 by Code Commissioner, 2001.