Establishment of Support Orders

Before an order for child support can be established, legal paternity must be determined. If paternity is not an issue, the first step is to determine the amount of child support to be paid. This is determined by the Montana Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are required by law and used in all child support cases. The guidelines determine how much money each parent should contribute for the care of their child. Child support orders normally include an obligation for health insurance coverage. 

Steps to Establishing a Child Support Order

  1. The CSSD will gather both parent's financial information. This information is used to generate a proposed order for child support using the Montana Child Support Guidelines. The CSSD uses an administrative notice process to establish new child support orders as authorized by state law. The proposed child support notice and order will show the child and medical support obligations and the start date of the order.   
  2.  Once the proposed child support notice and order is issued the notice must be served on each parent. The time needed for this step may vary because it may take repeated attempts to serve the notice.
  3. The parents may provide additional information, consent to the proposed child support notice and order, or request a hearing.   
  • If neither parent contacts the CSSD the proposed order will be finalized by default.  
  • If the CSSD receives additional information an amended proposed child support notice and order may be issued. 
  • The notice must be read carefully as there are set time-frames involved in requesting a hearing. If a hearing is requested, additional steps are taken at that time. Please review the information about Administrative Hearings.

 If there are questions about any part of this process please contact CSSD.