Maine Divorce Laws

Maine Residency Requirements

Each state has different requirements for filing for divorce. One of these requirements is where the individuals filing reside. If any of the necessary requirements for the state of Maine are not met then the case will be dismissed. All divorce petitions are to be filed to the Maine bankruptcy court of the county where one or both of the individuals live.

Maine laws state that the individual filing for divorce must be a Maine resident for a minimum of six months prior to filing. The individuals also may file for divorce in Maine if they were married within the state lines.

Individuals may file for divorce if the grounds for divorce occurred while living in the state. If the individuals live in separate counties, a divorce petition can be filed at either individual’s county divorce court.

If an individual is stationed in Maine due to the armed forces while on active duty, he or she is eligible to file for divorce within the state. His or her spouse does not have to be a Maine resident to participate in the divorce proceedings.

Divorce residency requirements in Maine

In order to be able to file for complaint about divorce in Maine, the Family Court must have jurisdiction over your case. The spouse who is seeking a divorce may be able to apply for a complaint about divorce under the following conditions:

  • The spouse has resided in the state for a period of no less than 6 months at the time of them applying for divorce
  • The spouse is a resident of the state and was married in the state
  • The spouse filing is a resident of the state and the spouses were residing in the state when the cause of the divorce came about
  • The defendant is a resident of the state
  • The divorce may be applied for in either of the counties in which the spouses reside

Maine Filing Grounds for Divorce

Each state has different grounds for divorce. These are the reasons why two individuals, or one individual, request a divorce. Not all divorce grounds of other states are legal in the state of Maine. The individuals may file for a divorce together and decide congruently the grounds for divorce, or one individual may bring the case before the court where he or she will have to prove the decided grounds.

Maine has two different categories of divorce grounds. The first category is under No-Fault grounds. This category cites that no individual is solely responsible for the marriage’s dissolution. The irreconcilable difference is the only ground legal under the No-Fault category. Individuals filing for a divorce on these grounds are often preceded by marriage counseling.

The second category is under Fault grounds. These grounds normally cite one individual responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. Fault grounds include nonsupport in a gross manner with the ability to provide, abusive and cruel treatment, adultery, extreme cruelty, impotence, desertion for three or more years before divorce petitioning, a mental illness that requires confinement for a minimum of seven years prior to the divorce filing, and habitual drunken behavior or habitual drug usage.

In order to be able to apply for a complaint about divorce, certain grounds must be met and these are listed below:

No-fault based grounds

  1. Irreconcilable differences in the marriage

Fault-based grounds

  1. Adultery by one of the spouses
  2. Extreme cruelty
  3. Impotence
  4. Desertion for a period of no less than 3 years
  5. Any habitual drug or alcohol abuse
  6. Non-support when one of the spouses has the ability to be able to provide for the other spouse
  7. Cruel and abusive behavior of any type
  8. Mental illness, which has lasted for a period of 7 years or more Maine Revised Statutes – Title 19A – Sections: 902

Divorce Documentation

Maine requires several different documents when filing for divorce. Some of these include a Complaint about Divorce and Judgment of Divorce, a Financial Statement, an Affidavit Concerning Child Custody, a Confidential Family Matter Summary Sheet, a Marital Settlement Agreement, and an Entry of Appearance. More documents may be necessary or fewer depending on the circumstances, subsequent children, and length of the marriage.

Property division when divorcing

Maine is considered an equitable distribution state where all the property in the marriage is to be divided fairly rather than equally. If the individuals involved cannot reach a decision on the subsequent property then the court will determine which spouse gets what kind of property. Property distribution can depend on which parent has custody of any children present.

In Maine, any property and debt may be divided by the spouses under the marital settlement agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the court will divide any property in an equitable fashion. The Domestic Court will first decide which of the property is considered marital. A value is then put onto the property and this value is divided between the spouses. When dividing property equitably the following is considered:

  1. The contribution of each spouse to the marital property
  2. The value of the value set for each spouse
  3. The economic situation of each of the spouses at the time of property division and the desirability of the spouse who has been given custody of the child, to remain in the property for a reasonable amount of time Maine Revised Statutes – Title 19A – Sections: 953

Maine child custody

The courts will consider the following factors when reaching any child custody decisions:

  • The age of the child at the time of filing for divorce
  • The relationship between the parents and the child
  • If the child is old enough their considerations are taken into account
  • The child’s current living arrangements and maintaining continuity
  • Motivation of the spouses when it comes to love, affection, and guidance
  • The adjustment of the child to its surrounding
  • How the spouses feel about each other and whether they are likely to encourage a relationship with the other spouse
  • Any effect on the child if one parent is given sole custody
  • Any history of domestic abuse
  • The physical well being of the child
  • Whether the child in question is being breastfed at the time
  • Convictions for a sex offense Maine Revised Statutes – Title 19A – Sections: 1501, 1653

Child support issues

Either or both of the parents may be asked to contribute towards child support costs. Child support guidelines will be followed and the following will be taken into account:

  1. The number of children that require support
  2. If child support and property division is being decided at the same time
  3. The financial resources and the needs of each of the spouses
  4. The standard of living of the child if the divorce had not taken place
  5. The emotional and physical needs of the child
  6. Educational needs
  7. Inflation is taken into account for the cost of living
  8. Any tax consequences for the spouses
  9. Any assets which produce an income over $10,000,00 which are owned by either of the spouses
  10. Whether any of the children are above the age of 12
  11. Any costs for transportation of the child Maine Revised Statutes Annotated; Title 19-A, Sections 2001 to 2009