How to Register Your Parenting or Custody Order in Montana
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
When you register a parenting or custody order from another state in a Montana District Court, that will give Montana the power to enforce your parenting or custody order. If you have moved from out of state and are concerned about the other parent following the custody or parenting order, it may be a good idea to register it here in Montana so Montana can enforce the order. This article will help you with the court steps and paperwork to register your parenting or custody order from another state to make it enforceable in Montana.
When can't I register a custody or parenting order in Montana?
You cannot register a custody or parenting plan from another state if the case is still open and ongoing. If you have an open and ongoing parenting case out of state and want to transfer it to Montana, you should talk to a lawyer. You can register a parenting or custody order in Montana if the legal case is closed or inactive.
What do I need to register a custody or parenting order in Montana?
You will need a few things before you can register your parenting or custody order in Montana:
Certified copy of the custody or parenting order from another state (You can contact the Clerk of Court that issued the order for a certified copy)
You will want to keep a copy of the order for yourself to keep safe
- Names and addresses of anyone who was awarded custody, visitation, or parenting time
- How to Register a Foreign Order packet - this is the court paperwork you will file to register the custody or parenting order. The packet is attached at the bottom of this page.
Where do I register a custody or parenting order?
You can register a custody or parenting order from another state with any Clerk of District Court in Montana. You can only register a custody or parenting order in a District Court. Other courts do not have the power to register parenting orders. It is probably a good idea to register the order in the Clerk of District Court in the county where you live unless you are concerned about your safety. If you are worried about your safety, you may get help from a crime victim advocate near you.
Be aware: If you are a domestic violence survivor or afraid of the other parent, registering the custody or parenting order in Montana will notify the other parent where you are currently living. You can apply for the Montana Address Confidentiality Program. However, even if you keep your address confidential the other parent, or anyone else involved in the parenting case from the other state, will know that you moved to Montana. If you have questions about staying safe, you may be able to get help from a Crime Victim Advocate near you.
What are the steps for registering a custody or parenting order in Montana?
The steps for registering your parenting or custody order from another state in Montana are:
Get a certified copy of the custody or parenting order.
Keep a copy for yourself. Keep it safe.
Fill out the How to Register a Foreign Order Packet.
File the Letter Requesting Registration of a Foreign Judgment or Order that is in the packet with the Clerk of District Court.
File the Certified Copy of the Custody or Parenting Order with the Letter. The Clerk will decide whether to register the foreign order or judgment.
Serve the other party. You must serve the other party with the Notice of Registration of Child Custody Determination that the Clerk will complete. The Notice is included in the packet.
Wait. The other party will have 20 days after they are served if they want to contest the registration. If the other party files paperwork with the court saying that they do not agree with the registration, the court will schedule a hearing.
Once a court registers a custody case from another state, Montana will have the power to enforce that order.
- The State Bar Lawyer Referral Service may provide you with contact information for attorneys who provide the type of assistance you are seeking, for a fee. You can contact the State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (406) 449-6577 or montanabar.org.
- Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) provides free civil, non-criminal legal help to eligible clients. Learn more about how to apply for free legal help in Montana.
- If you qualify for help from MLSA, you may be able to get free legal advice from a volunteer attorney by email using Ask Karla.
- Contact your nearest Self Help Law Center for free legal information and forms.
- Download a free Registration of Foreign Order Packet