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Montana Adoption Laws

State laws govern the adoption process and often vary from one another, which sometimes presents challenges when families of adopted children move to other states. States determine which types of adoption are allowed, who may adopt, how stepparent adoption works, and any residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents. This article provides a brief overview of adoption laws in the state of Montana.

Types of Adoptions in Montana

In Montana, the law allows several different types of adoptions. The most common adoptions are through direct parental placement, through a placement by a licensed adoption agency, through a placement by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), or through stepparent adoption.

Who May Adopt?

Either married couples or single adults who have an approved pre-placement evaluation or adoptive home study may adopt in the State of Montana.

What Is a Stepparent Adoption?

In a stepparent adoption, a birth parent may give their parental rights to the child's stepparent or a member of that child's extended family. The procedure is generally the same as other types of adoption but requirements like the pre-placement evaluation and the 6-month post-placement evaluation and report can be waived by the Judge.

A stepparent may adopt their spouse's child if:

  • The spouse has custody of the child and the child has been living with the spouse and stepparent for at least 60 days before the adoption petition is filed;
  • The spouse is dead but previously had custody of the child, and the child has lived mainly with the stepparent for 12 months before the adoption petition is filed; or
  • DPHHS or an agency placed the child with the stepparent.

Montana Adoption Laws: At a Glance

Some of the main highlights of Montana adoption laws are listed in the box below. Explore FindLaw's Adoption section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section § 42-2-101 et seq. of the Montana Code
Who May Be Adopted Any person
Age that Child's Consent Needed

12 years and older

Who May Adopt

Unmarried person who is at least 18 years old. Married partners jointly or may adopt separately when one spouse is a parent of the child

Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?

6 (six) months

State Agency/Court Department of Public Health and Family Services/District Court or Tribal Court
Statute of Limitations to Challenge

Not specified

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law:

Montana Adoption Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Adoption

Deciding to adopt a child can be a serious emotional decision, and the legal process surrounding adoption can be just as serious. You should consider contacting an experienced adoption law attorney today.

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