Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question.
In Montana, the requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) capacity to consent to the marriage; (2) an agreement to be married; (3) cohabitation; and (4) a reputation of being married. The current law is codified in Montana Code Annotated, Title 40, Chapter 1, "Marriage". A brief but helpful explanatory overview is provided by the State Law Library of Montana. This state is one of a minority of jurisdictions still recognizing the validity of common law marriages.
Hello and thanks for choosing Just Answer®. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and assist you. To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify these points:
Once I hear back from you, I will be glad to let you know my answer. There may be some delay as I am assisting other customers or am away from my computer. Please rest assured, however, that I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you.
That sounds fine. Once you have a chance to supplement your information, I will be glad to comment in greater depth.
Take care and thanks again for choosing JustAnswer®!
Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you. I will be glad to comment further, and I appreciate your taking the time to provide the additional clarification.
What you have provided is evidence in support of a finding of a common-law marriage. Ultimately, in Montana only a Court can officially make that determination. No one item of evidence is determinative, but at this point the best we can do is proceed as if the status of the marriage has been confirmed.
Turning to your question, namely concerning your daughter's rights, here is how Montana law works in that regard. A common-law marriage is a real marriage and requires a legal Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) to terminate the relationship. The most pressing need at this point is to secure temporary orders from the Court. This is in the form of a restraining order, later turned into an injunction, to maintain the status quo. This would prevent the man from disturbing your daughter's property and prevent him from having his mother come into the home and go through things.
The bottomline is that your daughter is in urgent need of conferring with a family law attorney just as soon as possible. The cheapest way for her to do so is through the State Bar of Montana's free, non-profit, Lawyer Referral and Information Service. She can start the confidential process by calling(###) ###-####Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If she is unable to afford to meet with a private lawyer, she should contact Montana Legal Services by calling(###) ###-#### ***** wish that things were simpler, but the truth of the matter is that given the attitude of her husband, your daughter is going to need judicial intervention to protect her rights and interests here.
I hope this information is of some additional help and that all of this works out properly for your daughter in this matter.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).