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Divorce Laws in Maine

In Maine, if one spouse seeks a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable difference and the other spouse contests the divorce, the court may order the couple to attend counseling. If the spouse who denies the irreconcilable differences refuses or fails to attend counseling, the court will consider this non-compliance to be evidence of irreconcilable differences.

Residency and jurisdiction
In order to file for divorce in Maine, one of the following conditions must exist:

  • The filing spouse has lived in the State for six months prior to filing
  • The filing spouse lives in the State and the couple was married in the state
  • The filing spouse lives in the State and both spouses lived in the State when the cause of the divorce occurred
  • The respondent lives in the State

Fault or no fault
Maine grants fault and no fault divorce. No fault divorce may be filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Acceptable grounds for fault divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Desertion for three years
  • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse
  • Cruel and intentional refusal of support
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Mental illness resulting in confinement for seven consecutive years or more

Division of property
Maine is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. When dividing property the courts must consider many factors including:

  • Contributions to the acquisition of marital property including contribution as homemaker
  • Value of the property allocated to each spouse
  • Economic situation of each spouse

The family home is normally awarded to the spouse who is granted child custody, at least for the duration of custody.
 
Spousal support
In Maine, if the two spouses cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court must consider the following factors when determining spousal support:

  • Length of marriage
  • Ability to pay
  • Age
  • Employment history and employment potential
  • Income history and income potential
  • Education and training
  • Retirement benefits and health insurance
  • Tax consequences of property division
  • Contributions as homemaker
  • Contributions to the education or earning potential of the other spouse
  • Economic misconduct which has diminished marital property or income
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Ability of spouse seeking support to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time

Child custody and support
When determining child custody the court must consider the following:

  • Age of the child
  • Relationship of the child with the parents and any other significant parties
  • Wishes of the child
  • Duration and adequacy of the current living arrangements of the parents with favor given to maintaining the continuity of the child’s current living arrangements
  • Stability of living arrangements
  • Motivation and ability to give love, affection, and guidance
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Willingness to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact with the other parent
  • Ability to cooperate or ability to learn to cooperate in child care
  • Willingness to cooperate with the other parent and resolve disputes
  • Effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing
  • Past or present domestic abuse and its affect on the child
  • History of child abuse by parents
  • Any other factors affecting the physical and psychological well-being of the child
  • Either parent’s prior willful misuse of the protection from abuse process
  • Breastfeeding, if the child is under one year of age
  • Conviction for a sex offense or sexually violent offense

Maine follows the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Maine, contact an experienced divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from Maine divorce lawyers in your area.

 
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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Maine and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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