MAINE DIVORCE LAW
If you are facing or considering divorce in Maine, you must first learn about the laws governing divorce, annulment and legal separation. This article provides a general overview of Maine laws on this subject; the information will help you when discussing your options with a Maine divorce attorney.
Maine Legal / Judicial Separation
Maine offers couples the option of "judicial separation." Although spouses who legally separate cannot remarry, a legal separation can be handled similarly to a divorce, with couples dividing their assets and determining child visitation via separate maintenance agreements. There are a variety of reasons why you and your spouse might prefer a legal separation to an actual divorce; contact a Maine divorce attorney to learn more about the differences between the two.
Maine Divorce - Grounds
Maine allows divorces on a variety of different grounds, some Fault-based (i.e. the plaintiff must prove the other spouse's fault) and some No-fault. There are several fault-based grounds for divorce in Maine such as, impotency, adultery, cruel treatment or abuse, and refusal to provide subsistence for the other spouse. No-fault grounds include "irreconcilable marital differences;" the petitioning spouse need not prove the other spouse's fault for this ground. To determine which ground(s) above best apply to your situation with your spouse, contact a Maine divorce attorney.
Maine Divorce - Residency/Where to File
A person can file for divorce in Maine if: (a) the person has resided in good faith in Maine for six months before filing; (b) the plaintiff is a resident of Maine and the parties were married in the state; (c) the plaintiff is a resident of Maine and the parties resided in the state when the grounds for the divorce arose; or (d) the defendant is a resident of Maine.
Maine Divorce - Property Division
In Maine, the judge can divide up the marital assets and allocate debts according to what the court believes, this is known as "equitable distribution." Certain criteria define whether an asset is considered "marital" such that it is eligible for distribution by the court. The court will make its distribution based on a variety of factors, including the education and job experience of the spouses, whether one of the spouses functioned as a "homemaker" during the marriage, the primary caregiver to any children, and so forth. A Maine divorce lawyer can help you determine which of your assets are considered marital property and an idea of the possible outcome of the equitable distribution.
An annulment has the same effect as divorce of making sure there is no legal relationship between the two parties. However, if a divorce terminates a valid marriage, the court's decree means that the marriage was never valid in the first place. In Maine, annulment is available in specific circumstances that void the marriage, such as the minor age or mental incapacity of a party, the existence of a party's prior valid marriage to a third party, and a family relationship between the parties that is considered too close for marriage.
Maine Divorce Laws
Click here to find the Maine Code related to obtaining a divorce or other family law proceeding in Maine.