Montana Adoption Laws and Policies

Who Can Adopt in Montana?

A single individual 18 years or older, a married couple jointly, the child’s stepparent, and an individual 18 years or older without his/her spouse if they are legally separated or the spouse is deemed incompetent.

Montana Domestic Adoption Law

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? No.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes, but proceedings for adoption must be in the district court of the county where petitioners reside.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but only the State Dept. or a licensed child-placing agency can assist with placement of a child.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, counseling (up to 10 hours for birth mother), travel and temporary living, not including education, vehicles, vacations, permanent housing.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? 72 hours after birth, after receiving at least 3 hrs. of counseling with a counselor from a state-licensed child placing agency.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? After termination of parental rights. If consent is revoked before proceedings are completed, return is automatic (as long as birth parent has custody before proceedings began.)

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, but the court can overrule a contact agreement if enforcement would negatively impact the child, subvert the adopting parents authority, etc.

Montana International Adoption Laws

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, but only after the state reviews the foreign adoption decree.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Dept. will issue a foreign birth certificate upon receipt of the adoption certificate, proof of the child’s DOB and place of birth, and a request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adopted person if s/he is 18 years or older.

Adoption From Foster Care in Montana

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: 6 years or older, member of a minority group, member of a sibling group of 2 or more children being placed together, has a diagnosed or is at high-risk of developing a physical, mental, or emotional condition. In addition, the child must be 18 years or younger and in the custody of the Montana Dept. of Public Health and Human Services. It is also necessary that attempts were made to place the child without offering adoption subsidies. Subsidies begin at adoption placement or after adoption finalization, and after the adopting family completes a homestudy and undergoes a background check through Child Protective Services.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Montana?

Montana Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Vacant

PO Box 8005
301 South Park, 5th Floor
Helena, Montana 59604
Phone: (406) 841-2417
Fax: (406) 841-2487


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.