In order to determine what a parent may owe (or be entitled to) in child support, the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has created the Montana Child Support Guidelines.
The Montana Child Support Guidelines are based on the principle that it is the first priority of parents to meet the needs of the child according to the financial ability of the parents. In a dissolution of marriage or when parents have never been married, a child's standard of living should not, to the degree possible, be adversely affected because a child's parents are not living in the same household.
The Montana Child Support Guidelines are structured to determine child support on an annual basis. Payment will be made in equal monthly installments.
The Montana Child Support Guidelines take into account a huge number of factors. Parents are presumed to be capable of earning income from full‐time employment. Full‐time employment is presumed to be 40 hours per week but may be more or less depending upon the parent’s profession and/or the employer’s policies.
Note that child support may vary from the bottom line based on a stipulation or agreement of the parties if the stipulation or agreement meets certain criteria. You should speak with a Montana family law attorney if you are interested in discussing whether you and your co-parent can agree to a different amount than the figure calculated according to the Montana Child Support Guidelines.