Guardianships & Adoption Missoula Montana
Montana Adoption Laws
Adopting a child can be a stressful experience, but the end result can be truly wonderful for all involved. At the Judnich Law Office, we’re proud to represent adoptive parents as they welcome new additions to their family or as they formalize existing parenting relationships. Our goal is to provide adoptive parents with outstanding legal representation while also protecting the rights of adoptive children.
In the state of Montana, adoptions are conducted through either the Child and Family Services Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services or through a number of state-licensed private adoption agencies.
In Montana, a married couple, a step-parent, or a single person are all eligible to be adoptive parents. At the Judnich Law Office we represent all types of adoptive parents and are well-versed in every aspect of Montana’s adoption laws.
Child and Family Services and Private Agency Adoptions
To adopt a child through a private agency or through Montana’s Child and Family Services (CFS) division, adoptive parents must pass a pre-placement evaluation or an adoptive home study to make sure they are ready to adopt. Specialized training courses must also be completed before adopting through CFS.
When it comes to private agency adoptions, an agency will place a child with adoptive parents for a 6-month waiting period, after which a hearing will be held to finalize the adoption. This waiting period can be waived if certain extenuating circumstances exist.
Direct Parental Placement
There are also what are known as uncontested adoptions, where a child’s parents voluntarily relinquish their rights. Neither CFS nor a private agency need to be involved in this type of adoption.
In the case of direct parental placement adoptions, our legal team at Judnich Law will make sure that your rights and the rights of the child are protected at all times. Additionally, we’ll help make sure that the birth parent follows all regulations, including, but not limited to:
- Completing 3 hours of counseling
- Providing a medical history of their family
- Disclosing the identity of the other legal parent
- Accounting for all bills and out of pocket costs
We’ll continue to represent you at a hearing where a Judge will review all documentation and listens to testimony from you, the adoptive parents. This hearing is the last step in granting custody to adoptive parents and finalizing a direct parental placement adoption.
Many step-parents are interested in adopting their step-children. This is legal in Montana. However, state law requires that:
- The step-parent must be living with his or her spouse and the child for at least 60 days before filing an adoption petition.
- In the case of a spouse’s death, the child must have lived with the step-parent for 12 months prior to filing an adoption petition.
There may be additional exceptions, regulations, and other factors that can complicate a step-parent adoption. If you have any questions at all, it is best to contact us so that we can discuss your unique situation.
About the Judnich Law Office
Marty Judnich has been practicing law for nearly 20 years. During that time he’s built a practice of talented lawyers, who are committed to helping the people of Montana. The Judnich Law Office is a place where everyone is welcome and where all are treated with respect. Whether you need help with an adoption, a divorce, or anything else, we’ll always do our best to help you.
Are you interested in adopting a child? Are you unsure about the adoption process? Do you have questions about adoptions or guardianships in Montana?
Please contact us. Consultations with the lawyers of the Judnich Law Office are always free and we’ll be happy to answer your questions clearly, honestly, and accurately.
When You’re Ready, We’re Here to Help
We’ve been helping couples come to peaceful resolutions for over 15 years.