Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 4. Abuse or Neglect Proceedings

Stipulations -- Prohibition On Continuances Of Hearings

41-3-434. Stipulations -- prohibition on continuances of hearings. (1) Subject to approval by the court, the parties may stipulate to any of the following:

(a) the child meets the definition of a youth in need of care by the preponderance of the evidence;

(b) a treatment plan, if the child has been adjudicated a youth in need of care;

(c) the disposition; or

(d) extension of the timeframes contained in this chapter, except for the timeframe contained in 41-3-445.

(2) (a) Unless the court determines that good cause or exigent circumstances exist, a hearing scheduled pursuant to this chapter may not be continued. If the court determines that good cause or exigent circumstances necessitate the continuance of a scheduled hearing, the court shall review the reasons for good cause or the exigency and order an appropriate remedy that considers the best interests of the child.

(b) For the purposes of this subsection (2), "exigent circumstances" means:

(i) newly discovered evidence;

(ii) unforeseen personal emergencies; or

(iii) other unforeseen emergencies or disasters.

(c) For purposes of this subsection (2), "good cause" exists when:

(i) a parent is progressing with recommended treatment or other services included in a court-approved treatment plan and would benefit from a reasonable amount of additional time to complete the identified tasks to achieve reunification with the child;

(ii) additional time is necessary to meet the individual needs of a child, provide for the child's physical or emotional health, or to facilitate the child's permanency;

(iii) continuation of a hearing is necessary to satisfy the procedural requirements of due process or effective representation; or

(iv) the parties agree to a continuance.

History: En. Sec. 14, Ch. 281, L. 2001; en. Sec. 32, Ch. 311, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 504, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 779, L. 2023.