The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Montana

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 40-6-102; 42-1-103; 42-1-104; 42-2-201

The term 'parent and child relationship' means the legal relationship existing between a child and the child's natural or adoptive parents on which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. It includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship. The parent and child relationship extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

The parent and child relationship between a child and the birth parent may be established by proof of the person having given birth to the child. The parent and child relationship between a child and the natural other parent may be established under this chapter.

The term 'putative father' means an individual who may be a child's other parent but to whom the following applies:

  • They were not married to the child's birth parent on or before the date that the child is born.
  • They have not established parentage of the child prior to the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights to the child for purposes of adoption.

The term 'putative father' includes an individual to whom the following applies:

  • They are younger than age 18.
  • They are not married to the child's birth parent even though the individual is a presumed other parent within the meaning of § 40-6-105.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-2-202; 42-2-203; 42-2-204

The putative father registry is established within the Vital Statistics Bureau of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. The department shall adopt rules to administer the registry.

The purpose of the putative father registry is to provide notice of termination of parental rights to a putative other parent who asserts a parental interest in a child so that the putative other parent may appear in a proceeding and have an opportunity to establish that their inchoate rights in the child have vested because a substantial relationship with the child has been established as provided in § 42-2-610.

In addition to any other notice to which the putative other parent is entitled, a putative other parent of a child who complies with the requirements of the putative father registry is entitled to notice of any proceedings involving termination of parental rights to the child.

A person who engages in sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex is presumed to know that a pregnancy could result.

An individual who is not married to the birth parent but who is presumed to be the other parent under § 40-6-105 and registers in accordance with this part is entitled to receive notice of a termination of parental rights proceeding.,/p>

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 40-6-105; 40-6-107

A person is presumed to be the natural other parent of a child when any of the following apply:

  • The parents are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage has ended.
  • Before the child's birth, the parents have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following applies:
    • If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the end of cohabitation.
  • After the child's birth, the parents have married or attempted to marry, and any of the following apply:
    • The child's birth parent and alleged other parent have acknowledged parentage in writing or in a parentage acknowledgment form.
    • With their consent, they are named as the other parent on the child's birth certificate.
    • They are obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or court order.
    • While the child is a minor, they receive the child into their home and openly represent the child to be their natural child.
    • The scientific evidence resulting from a paternity test shows a 95-percent or higher statistical probability of parentage.
    • The person is presumed to be the child's natural other parent under the laws of the State or Indian territory in which the child was born.

An action to determine the existence of the parent and child relationship for a child who has no presumed other parent may be brought by the child, the birth parent, a personal representative of the child, the department, or a person alleged to be the other parent.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-2-205

In addition to any other notice to which the putative other parent is entitled, a putative other parent is entitled to notice of any proceedings to terminate parental rights involving a child whom the putative other parent might be the genetic parent if they file the following information with the department in a timely manner:

  • The following for the putative other parent:
    • Full name
    • Address at which they may be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, with notice of a proceeding to terminate parental rights
    • Social Security number
    • Date of birth
    • Tribal affiliation, if applicable
  • The following for the birth parent:
    • Name, including all other names known to the putative other parent that the birth parent uses
    • Address, Social Security number, and date of birth, if known
  • The following for the child:
    • Name and place of birth, if known
    • The approximate date and location of a possible conception and the approximate expected date of delivery

A putative other parent shall register on a registration form prescribed by the department or with a legibly typed or handwritten statement that provides the required information and that is submitted to the department pursuant to § 42-2-207. The registration must be signed by the putative father and notarized.

A putative other parent who registers under this section is responsible for providing written updates regarding any change of their name or address.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-2-223; 40-6-105

Unless a support order has been issued, a putative other parent may revoke a registration at any time by submitting to the department a signed, notarized statement revoking the registration.

An acknowledgment of parentage under § 40-6-105(1)(e) may be rescinded by a signatory at any time within 60 days after it was signed by filing a notice of withdrawal with the department. The notice of withdrawal must include an affidavit attesting that a copy of the notice was provided to any parent who signed the acknowledgment form.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-2-224

The department shall furnish a certified copy of the putative other parent's registration form upon written request by any of the following:

  • A putative other parent whose name appears on the registration form being requested
  • A birth parent whose name appears on the registration form being requested
  • Upon reaching majority, a person who was the subject of a registration
  • A prospective adoptive parent or an attorney representing a prospective adoptive parent in a direct parental placement adoption who has the notarized consent of the birth parent
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • A court that presides over a pending adoption
  • The child support enforcement division of the department
  • A representative of the department involved in an adoption or a neglect and dependency proceeding