Before you start the divorce process, it’s helpful to know whether your current situation qualifies you to file for divorce. Since each state’s laws are different, the applicable laws in Montana probably won’t be the same as the laws you’ve heard about from friends and family members in other states.
Generally speaking, Montana allows its residents to get divorced if one spouse wants to end the marriage. To end a marriage in Montana, the court must find that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A marriage is considered irretrievably broken if: (i) the spouses have lived apart for at least 6 months; OR (ii) “there is serious marital discord that adversely affects the attitude of one or both of the parties towards the marriage.” MCA 40-4-104. Under this law, only one spouse needs to have an adverse toward the marriage in order to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Even if you and your spouse still live together, you can file for divorce if you can prove that you have an adverse attitude toward the marriage due to serious marital discord. Your spouse doesn’t have to agree with you that the marriage is over; Only your attitude matters.
In addition to proving that the marriage is irretrievably broken, either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in Montana (meaning you lived in the state and considered Montana to be your home state) for at least the 90 consecutive days before you file for divorce. If you are domiciled in Montana but your spouse is not, speak with an attorney about the laws of jurisdiction.
If you expect your spouse to object to the divorce, read What If My Spouse Objects to the Divorce?