Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. General Provisions

Copies From System Of Vital Statistics

50-15-121. Copies from system of vital statistics. (1) Except as provided in subsections (6) and (7), the department and county clerk and recorders shall, upon receipt of an application, issue a certified copy or copies of a vital record or a part of a vital record to the registrant, the registrant's spouse, children, parents, or guardian, or an authorized representative. Other individuals may obtain certified copies when the individual demonstrates that the record is needed for the determination or protection of the individual's personal or property rights. The department shall adopt rules to further define those who may obtain copies of vital records filed under this chapter.

(2) All applications, forms, and procedures used in the issuance of certified copies of vital records in the state must be uniform and prepared or approved by the department. All certified copies must contain security features that deter the document from being altered, counterfeited, duplicated, or simulated without ready detection that there have been these changes to the document.

(3) Each copy issued must show the date of filing. Copies issued from amended records must be marked and must show the effective date of the amendment. Copies issued from delayed records must be marked, must include the date of filing, and must contain a statement of the evidence used to establish the delayed certificate. A copy issued of a certificate of foreign birth must indicate the fact of foreign birth and the date of birth (if known), must show the actual place of birth, and must state that the certificate is not proof of United States citizenship for the adoptive child.

(4) A certified copy or other copy of a death certificate must be issued upon request of any person.

(5) A certified copy of a vital record or any part of a vital record, issued in accordance with subsections (1) through (3), must be considered for all purposes the same as the original. The admissibility of a certificate or vital record filed more than 1 year after the event or after a corrective record is filed, of a vital record that has been amended, or of a certificate of foreign birth must be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence.

(6) This section may not be construed to permit disclosure of confidential information contained in a birth certificate for medical or health use or of information for statistical purposes only contained in a certificate of marriage or report of dissolution of marriage unless disclosure is specifically authorized by law for statistical or research purposes or unless ordered by a court.

(7) (a) When the department receives information that a certificate may have been registered through fraud or misrepresentation, it shall withhold issuance of the certificate or any copy of that certificate pending issuance of an order after an administrative contested case hearing before the department to determine whether fraud or misrepresentation has occurred.

(b) The hearing provided for in subsection (7)(a) must be conducted pursuant to the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. In the proceeding, the department shall notify the registrant or the registrant's authorized representative and provide the registrant or the representative the opportunity to be heard.

(c) If, upon conclusion of the hearing, fraud or misrepresentation is not found, the department may issue the certificate or copies of the certificate in question.

(d) If, upon conclusion of the hearing, fraud or misrepresentation is found, the department may not register the certificate unless ordered to do so by a court.

(e) An affected person may appeal the department's decision to the district court as provided in Title 2, chapter 4, part 7.

(8) A person may not prepare or issue any certificate that purports to be an original or certified copy, except as authorized in this chapter or rules adopted to implement this chapter.

(9) The department may, by rule, prescribe details for the hearing and appellate procedures contained in this section.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 515, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 118, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 416, L. 1999.