Montana court encourages divorcing parents to share their parental responsibilities as equally as possible. It is recommended that the parents create their own custody arrangement and parenting plan (defining both legal and physical custody of a child) and then submit it to the court. It does not matter if the plan is presented jointly by the spouses or separately by each party. In either case, the judge will consider it while taking into account the best interests of the child before awarding sole or joint physical and legal custody.
To decide custody, the family court analyzes the parents' and child's preferences, the child's adjustment to the current home and school, his/her development needs, the nature of the parent-child relationship, health and mental condition of all the parties involved, any history of domestic violence or child abuse, and other circumstances which may seem significant to the judge in a particular divorce case.