The realism of a marriage kicks in after the idyllic wedding and perhaps a few adorable children. Divorce and separation might occur when an experience is more like a nightmare than a dream. Divorce may be best for everyone if a couple fights frequently, particularly if domestic abuse is present. This article will explain to you divorce in Maine.
Maine Divorce Requirements
You or your partner must be a resident of Maine in order to initiate a divorce action there. One of the following circumstances must be met in order to file for divorce in Maine:
- The plaintiff has spent the last six months residing in Maine.
- Both of the spouses were wed in Maine, where the plaintiff resides.
- Maine is the defendant’s home state.
- Both of the parties were residing in Maine at the time of the divorce, and the plaintiff is a resident of Maine.
Legal Grounds For Divorce In Maine
There are various fault-based grounds for divorce in Maine, as well as one no-fault option. The following are the state’s legal grounds for divorce:
- Adultery is one.
- Extreme brutality;
- Complete abandonment, which persisted for three years straight previous to the divorce case being filed;
- Egregious and proven drug or alcohol-related drunkenness habits;
- Nonsupport, which occurs when one spouse has the means to support the other but blatantly, ruthlessly, or wantonly refuses to do so or neglects to offer the complaining spouse enough maintenance;
- Abuse and cruel treatment.
- A court has determined that one of the parties is mentally ill and a guardian with full authority has been appointed for them;
- Irreconcilable marital differences.
The jury may proceed with the case and order that both parties receive counseling from a trained professional counselor, who will be chosen either by agreement of the parties or by the court if one spouse asserts that there are irreconcilable marital discrepancies and the other spouse disputes this assertion. The court will determine that there are insurmountable marital differences if the party contesting them refuses or even neglects to attend the court-ordered counseling without good cause.
When citizens of Maine leave the state to file for divorce elsewhere in the state on the grounds that transpired in the state when the couple was residents or on the grounds that are not recognized in Maine, the divorce is not recognized in Maine. All other out-of-state divorce judgments that were acquired legitimately are recognized in Maine.
Whenever people who are residents of Maine get wedded outside of the state in order to avoid Maine’s legal restrictions, marriage is meaningless in Maine when they resume living there.
The following recommended unions are illegal and null and void without legal procedure:
- A man’s union with his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, or aunt.
- Marriages between a woman and her brother, nephew, uncle, father, grandpa, son, or grandchild.
- Without a doctor’s certificate of genetic counseling, marriages between a man and his first cousin or a woman and her first cousin are forbidden.
- The mental capacity of one or both parties to the marriage is insufficient for them to make, communicate, or carry out decisions that affect their property or well-being (due to disease or mental retardation).
- A surviving spouse from whom they are not divorced is present for either one or both spouses in the marriage.
- Marriage involves people of the same sex.
Either spouse may submit a petition for annulment when a marriage’s legitimacy is questioned. Based on the facts, the court will either declare the marriage null and void or uphold it. In addition to changing either spouse’s name upon request, an annulment decree may grant parental rights and obligations to any minor children of the marriage.
To get married without the need for a parent’s (or guardian’s) permission, both partners must be 18 years old. Both parental (or guardian) approval and court consent must always be sought if the parties are under the age of 16. After a marriage has indeed been solemnized, if the State Registrar of Vital Statistics believes that the parties are ineligible to marry due to age restrictions or other conditions, the state registrar may bring an action in district court to dissolve the marriage.
Despite being challenging to acquire, legal precedent encourages requesting an annulment in Maine on a few other grounds. The victimized party may request an annulment if one of the spouses does something illegal by lying to the other party to get their agreement to get married. The other partner may also ask for an annulment due to impotence if one partner is incapable of completing the marriage.
Filing for Divorce in Maine
Understanding how Maine’s court system operates is crucial if you’re managing a divorce by yourself. District courts in Maine are the first-level trial tribunals. The district court also has a family division that is active. All legal processes involving children, notably divorces, are handled by the family court.
The county in which you or your partner resides is where the divorce papers must be filed. Your case can be dismissed and you might have to start again if you file in the incorrect place. You can locate your neighborhood county court using the court locator on the Maine Judicial Branch website.
Maine Divorce Paperwork
Complete and file the paperwork
When the submitting partner, referred to as the “plaintiff,” completes and files the appropriate set of divorce paperwork, the divorce procedure officially starts. The clerk of court at your district courthouse or Maine Pine Tree Legal Assistance both offer free online access to divorce forms for the state of Maine. As an alternative, you can use an online service like Online Divorce from DivorceNet, which will fill out the forms for you.
Pay the filing fee
When you submit divorce papers, you must pay a filing fee. Ask the clerk to give you fee waiver documents so you can ask the judge to waive the filing and service costs in your case if you are unable to pay them.
Serve your spouse
You must make plans to serve the defendant with the documents after you have finished and submitted the papers to the court. This implies that you must employ legal procedures to provide copies of the forms to your partner, such as having a sheriff or process server deliver the papers in person. In order to receive proof of service, your spouse must either consent to service and sign a waiver or the process server must acknowledge service by signing paperwork.
Need help with child support in the state of Maine? Then, read this guide to learn more.
Finalizing Your Divorce
The judge will set a case management session after serving the defendant. The meeting will be overseen by a family law magistrate, who has some judicial authority but is not a complete judge. At the case management conference, you can select which concerns have been resolved and which ones are still up for debate. The judge will establish a timetable for the case and direct you to mediation to resolve any issues you haven’t previously resolved. Be aware that mediation has a cost.
Both partners must appear at the status conference to go over the outcomes of the mediation after the original trial management conference. A preliminary conference, a second mediation, an interim hearing, and ultimately a trial or final hearing will follow.
A judge or magistrate will make absolutely sure that the settlement is equitable and serves the couple’s children’s best interests, if any, at the final “uncontested divorce hearing,” which couples who resolve their cases early may only need to attend. In fact, if you can resolve all of your difficulties before any planned session, the judge may decide to have an uncontested hearing so that you can sign the final ruling after answering a few quick questions and making certain that you comprehend your arrangement.
Maine is a state that distributes wealth fairly. After taking into account all pertinent criteria, including that of the aforementioned, the court will divide the marital property in the percentages it deems and just set aside each partner’s possessions in a divorce or legal separation action.
- A spouse’s contributions as a homemaker and other contributions made by each partner to the establishment of the marital property.
- The price of the assets allocated to each spouse;
- The financial situation of each spouse at the time the property division is to go into effect, including whether it is preferable to give the custodial spouse the family home or the right to reside there for a fair amount of time.
All possessions obtained by either spouse following the marriage are referred to as marital assets, with the following considerations:
- received through a gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
- assets obtained in compensation for assets obtained previous to marriage or in compensation for assets obtained through gifts, bequests, devises, or descent
- property a spouse acquires after a judicial separation order;
- property prohibited by the parties’ legally binding agreement;
- the appreciation of assets amassed before marriage as well as the appreciation of a spouse’s non-marital assets
Irrespective of whether the title is allowed to hold separately by either partner or jointly by both partners in some other type of co-ownership, such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the totality, or community property. All assets acquired by either partner just after marriage and before a legal separation decree is generally assumed to be marital property.
A final divorce order will be deemed to hold both parties’ assets as common tenants if it fails to set apart and then divide marital assets over which the court has jurisdiction. On the request of the party, the court may exclude the property or split it fairly among the spouses.
Also, read: Grandparent’s rights in Maine.
Divorce Timeline in Maine
According to Maine law, the court must wait at least sixty days after serving the other party with the summons and complaint until granting a final divorce. The majority of divorces, however, require several months to resolve all the concerns. Divorce in Maine requires the court’s intervention to settle disagreements, especially when they involve minor children, and can sometimes last more than a year.
Broadly speaking, the best and fastest outcomes happen whenever the sides can leave aside the immense level of emotion implicated (much fairly easy when all is said and done) as well as consider the divorce proceedings as ending a collaboration that was not going to work anymore as well as trying to decide what is best for the kids as well as how the financial assets of the partnership are best separated.
In Maine, a divorce petition must be filed for $120. It will probably cost an extra $25 to $50 to have the complaint delivered by the Sheriff to the other party if they refuse to acknowledge service of the complaint.
In either situation, Maine law stipulates that there must be a minimum of 60 days between the submission of all required divorce documents and the final hearing. If you and your husband can’t agree on everything, your case can take more than 60 days.
The “equitable distribution” idea is now the standard in Maine when it comes to splitting assets through a divorce. States with community property make an effort to divide assets among partners as fairly as possible. Equitable distribution states divide assets in accordance with a judge’s assessment of what is just in each situation.
Adultery is a basis for a fault-based divorce in Maine. This means that you or your spouse may seek a divorce if you or they were dishonest while you were married.
The legal divorce procedure doesn’t commence until one partner submits a petition for separation with the local court, despite the fact that you might feel as if it does when you and your spouse decide to split consciously.