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Maine Divorce Laws

The following Maine divorce laws are unique to those people who wish to terminate their marriage.

We are providing the important Maine divorce laws online as an easy reference guide to help you while you are completing your uncontested divorce in Maine.

Residency Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in Maine, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:

A person seeking a divorce may file a complaint for divorce in the District Court if: A. The plaintiff has resided in good faith in this state for 6 months prior to the commencement of the action; B. The plaintiff is a resident of this state and the parties were married in this state; C. The plaintiff is a resident of this state and the parties resided in this state when the cause of divorce accrued; or D. The defendant is a resident of this state. The divorce may be filed in either county in which the parties reside.

The Dissolution of Marriage is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives.

The right to file a complaint or bring a petition may not be denied a person for failure to meet a residency requirement if the person is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty stationed in this state or the spouse of that member or a parent of a child of that member. The member is deemed to be a resident either of the county in which the military installation, or other place at which the member has been stationed, is located or of the county in which the member has sojourned. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 4 - Sections: 155 and Title 19-A - Section 902)

No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested divorce cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Maine the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:

A. Irreconcilable marital differences. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 902)

Filing Party Name: The Plaintiff. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the divorce and is the one who actually files the Complaint for Divorce with the county court.

Non-Filing Party Name: The Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.

Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: State of Maine, _____________ Court, ___________ County. All divorce cases in the state of Maine are facilitated through this court for that particular county.

Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Maine clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: District Clerk's Office.

Property and Debt Division: Maine is considered an "equitable distribution" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the marital property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is marital. Second, it will put a value on the marital property. Third, it will divide the marital property in an equitable fashion, which is not necessarily equal, but rather what is considered to be fair.

In a proceeding for a divorce, the court shall set apart to each spouse the spouse's property and shall divide the marital property in proportions the court considers just after considering all relevant factors, including: 1. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker; 2. The value of the property set apart to each spouse; and 3. The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live in the home for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 953)

Changing Name: Upon the request of either spouse to change that person's own name, the court, when entering judgment for divorce: 1. Former name. Shall change the name of that spouse to a former name requested; or 2. Any other name requested. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 1051)

Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.

If the parties can not agree, the court shall consider the following factors when determining an award of spousal support: 1. The length of the marriage; 2. The ability of each party to pay; 3. The age of each party; 4. The employment history and employment potential of each party; 5. The income history and income potential of each party; 6. The education and training of each party; 7. The provisions for retirement and health insurance benefits of each party; 8. The tax consequences of the division of marital property, including the tax consequences of the sale of the marital home, if applicable; 9. The health and disabilities of each party; 10. The tax consequences of a spousal support award; 11. The contributions of either party as homemaker; 12. The contributions of either party to the education or earning potential of the other party; 13. Economic misconduct by either party resulting in the diminution of marital property or income; 14. The standard of living of the parties during the marriage; 15. The ability of the party seeking support to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time; 16. The effect of the following on a party's need for spousal support or a party's ability to pay spousal support; 17. Any other factors the court considers appropriate. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 851, 951)

Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Maine courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.

The court shall consider the following factors: 1. The age of the child; 2. The relationship of the child with the child's parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child's welfare; 3. The preference of the child, if old enough to express a meaningful preference; 4. The duration and adequacy of the child's current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity; 5. The stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child; 6. The motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child love, affection and guidance; 7. The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community; 8. The capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent, including physical access; 9. The capacity of each parent to cooperate or to learn to cooperate in child care; 10. Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent's willingness to use those methods; 11. The effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing; 12. The existence of domestic abuse between the parents, in the past or currently, and how that abuse affects: 13. The existence of any history of child abuse by a parent; 14. All other factors having a reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child; 15. A parent's prior willful misuse of the protection from abuse process 16. If the child is under one year of age, whether the child is being breast-fed; and 17. The existence of a parent's conviction for a sex offense or a sexually violent offense. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 1501, 1653)

Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Maine child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.

Criteria that may justify deviation from the support guidelines are as follows: 1. The application of guidelines is not in the child's best interest; 2. The number of children for whom support is being determined is greater than 6; 3. The interrelation of the total support obligation established under the support guidelines for child support, the division of property and an award of spousal support made in the same proceeding for which a parental support obligation is being determined; 4. The financial resources of each child; 5. The financial resources and needs of a party, including nonrecurring income not included in the definition of gross income; 6. The standard of living each child would have enjoyed had the marital relationship continued; 7. The physical and emotional conditions of each child; 8. The educational needs of each child; 9. Inflation with relation to the cost of living; 10. Available income and financial contributions of the domestic associate or current spouse of each party; 11. The existence of other persons who are actually financially dependent on either party, including, but not limited to, elderly, disabled or infirm relatives, or adult children pursuing post-secondary education. If the primary care provider is legally responsible for another minor child who resides in the household and if the computation of a theoretical support obligation on behalf of the primary care provider would result in a significantly greater parental support obligation on the part of the nonprimary care provider, that factor may be considered; 12. The tax consequences if the obligor is awarded any tax benefits. In determining the allocation of tax exemptions for children, the court may consider which party will have the greatest benefit from receiving the allocation; 13. The fact that income at a reasonable rate of return may be imputed to nonincome-producing assets with an aggregate fair market value of $10,000 or more, other than an ordinary residence or other asset from which each child derives a substantial benefit; 14. The existence of special circumstances regarding a child 12 years of age or older, for the child's best interest, requires that the primary residential care provider continue to provide for employment-related day care; 15. An obligor party's substantial financial obligation regarding the costs of transportation of each child for purposes of parent and child contact. To be considered substantial, the transportation costs must exceed 15% of the yearly support obligation; and 16. A finding by the court or hearing officer that the application of the support guidelines would be unjust, inappropriate or not in the child's best interest. (Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19A - Sections: 2001, 2009)

Copyright Notice: These Maine divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.

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