Montana Code Annotated 2023



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

Division Of Property

40-4-202. Division of property. (1) In a proceeding for dissolution of a marriage, legal separation, or division of property following a decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to divide the property, the court, without regard to marital misconduct, shall, and in a proceeding for legal separation may, finally equitably apportion between the parties the property and assets belonging to either or both, however and whenever acquired and whether the title to the property and assets is in the name of the husband or wife or both. In making apportionment, the court shall consider the duration of the marriage and prior marriage of either party, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties, custodial provisions, whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance, and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court shall also consider the contribution or dissipation of value of the respective estates and the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit. In dividing property acquired prior to the marriage, property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent, property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent, the increased value of property acquired prior to marriage, and property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation, the court shall consider those contributions of the other spouse to the marriage, including:

(a) the nonmonetary contribution of a homemaker;

(b) the extent to which the contributions have facilitated the maintenance of the property; and

(c) whether or not the property division serves as an alternative to maintenance arrangements.

(2) In a proceeding, the court may protect and promote the best interests of the children by setting aside a portion of the jointly and separately held estates of the parties in a separate fund or trust for the support, maintenance, education, and general welfare of any minor, dependent, or incompetent children of the parties.

(3) Each spouse is considered to have a common ownership in marital property that vests immediately preceding the entry of the decree of dissolution or declaration of invalidity. The extent of the vested interest must be determined and made final by the court pursuant to this section.

(4) The division and apportionment of marital property caused by or incident to a decree of dissolution, a decree of legal separation, or a declaration of invalidity is not a sale, exchange, transfer, or disposition of or dealing in property but is a division of the common ownership of the parties for purposes of:

(a) the property laws of this state;

(b) the income tax laws of this state; and

(c) the federal income tax laws.

(5) Premarital agreements must be enforced as provided in Title 40, chapter 2, part 6.

(6) 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. 48-321 by Sec. 21, Ch. 536, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 48-321; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 613, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 189, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 88, L. 2013.