Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Uniform Parentage Act

Judgment Or Order

40-6-116. Judgment or order. (1) The judgment or order of the court determining the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship is determinative for all purposes.

(2) If the judgment or order of the court is at variance with the child's birth certificate, the court shall order that a substitute birth certificate be issued under 40-6-123.

(3) (a) The judgment or order may contain any other provision directed against the appropriate party to the proceeding concerning the custody and guardianship of the child, visitation privileges with the child, the furnishing of bond or other security for the payment of the judgment, or any other matter in the best interest of the child.

(b) Except when the financial responsibility of a responsible parent is in the process of being determined pursuant to the administrative procedure provided in 40-5-225, the judgment or order must contain a provision concerning the duty of child support.

(c) The judgment or order may direct the father to pay the reasonable expenses of the mother's pregnancy and confinement.

(4) (a) Support judgments or orders ordinarily must be for periodic payments, which may vary in amount.

(b) In the best interest of the child, a lump-sum payment or the purchase of an annuity may be ordered in lieu of periodic payments of support.

(c) The court may limit the father's liability for past support of the child to the proportion of the expenses already incurred that the court considers just.

(5) In determining the amount to be paid by a parent for support of the child and the period during which the duty of support is owed, a court enforcing the obligation of support shall consider all relevant facts, including:

(a) the needs of the child, including medical needs;

(b) the standard of living and circumstances of the parents;

(c) the relative financial means of the parents;

(d) the earning ability of the parents;

(e) the need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;

(f) the age of the child;

(g) the financial resources and the earning ability of the child;

(h) the responsibility of the parents for the support of others;

(i) the value of services contributed by the custodial parent;

(j) the cost of day care for the child; and

(k) any custody arrangement that is ordered or decided upon.

(6) (a) Whenever a court issues or modifies an order concerning child support, the court shall determine the child support obligation by applying the standards in this section and the uniform child support guidelines adopted by the department of public health and human services pursuant to 40-5-209. The guidelines must be used in all cases, including cases in which the order is entered upon the default of a party and those in which the parties have entered into an agreement regarding the support amount. A verified representation of a defaulting parent's income, based on the best information available, may be used when a parent fails to provide financial information for use in applying the guidelines. The amount determined under the guidelines is presumed to be an adequate and reasonable support award, unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the application of the standards and guidelines is unjust to the child or to any of the parties or is inappropriate in that particular case.

(b) If the court finds that the guideline amount is unjust or inappropriate in a particular case, it shall state its reasons for finding that the application of the standards and guidelines is unjust to the child or a party or is inappropriate in that particular case. Similar reasons must also be stated in a case in which the parties have agreed to a support amount that varies from the guideline amount. Findings that rebut and vary the guideline amount must include a statement of the amount of support that would have ordinarily been ordered under the guidelines.

(c) If the court does not order a parent owing a duty of support to a child to pay any amount for the child's support, the court shall state its reasons for not ordering child support.

(d) Child support obligations established under this section are subject to the registration and processing provisions of Title 40, chapter 5, part 9.

(7) The judgment or order, whether temporary or final, concerning child support and each modification of a judgment or order for child support must include a medical support order as defined in 40-5-804.

(8) (a) Unless an exception is found under 40-5-315 or 40-5-411 and the exception is included in the support order, a support obligation established by judgment, decree, or order under this section, whether temporary or final, and each modification of an existing support obligation made under 40-6-118 must be enforced by immediate or delinquency income withholding, or both, under Title 40, chapter 5, part 3 or 4. A support order that omits the exception or that provides for a payment arrangement inconsistent with this section is nevertheless subject to withholding for the payment of support without need for an amendment to the support order or for any further action by the court.

(b) If a support order subject to income withholding is expressed in terms of a monthly obligation, the order may be annualized and withheld on a weekly or biweekly basis, corresponding to the obligor's regular pay period.

(c) If an obligor is excepted from paying support through income withholding, the support order must include as part of the order a requirement that whenever the case is receiving services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, support payments must be paid through the department of public health and human services as provided in 40-5-909.

(9) (a) If the district court establishes paternity or establishes or modifies a child support obligation, the judgment, decree, or order must include a provision requiring the parties to promptly file with the court and to update, as necessary, information on:

(i) identity of the party;

[(ii) social security number;]

(iii) residential and mailing addresses;

(iv) telephone number;

(v) driver's license number;

(vi) name, address, and telephone number of the party's employer; and

(vii) if the child is covered by a health or medical insurance plan, the name of the insurance carrier or health benefit plan, the policy identification number, the name of the persons covered, and any other pertinent information regarding coverage or, if the child is not covered, information as to the availability of coverage for the child through the party's employer.

(b) The order must further direct that in any subsequent child support enforcement action, upon sufficient showing that diligent effort has been made to ascertain the location of the party, the district court or the department of public health and human services, if the department is providing services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, may consider the due process requirements for notice and service of process to be met with respect to the party upon delivery of written notice by regular mail to the most recent address of the party or the party's employer's address reported to the court.

(10) A judgment, decree, or order establishing a child support obligation under this part may be modified or adjusted as provided by 40-4-208 or, if the department of public health and human services is providing services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, may be modified or adjusted, by the department as provided for in 40-5-271 through 40-5-273, 40-5-277, and 40-5-278.

[(11) The social security number of a person subject to a paternity determination under this part must be recorded in the records relating to the matter. The recordkeeper shall keep the social security number from this source confidential, except that the number may be provided to the department of public health and human services for use in administering Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.] (Bracketed language terminates on occurrence of contingency--sec. 1, Ch. 27, L. 1999.)

History: En. 61-316 by Sec. 16, Ch. 512, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 61-316; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 702, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 266, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 635, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 294, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 21, Ch. 631, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 31, Ch. 504, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 147, Ch. 546, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 89, Ch. 552, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 542, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 564, L. 2005.