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Maine Divorce Laws

After the fairy tale wedding and maybe a few beautiful children, the reality of a marriage sets in. When it’s more of a nightmare than the dream you imagined, separating and divorce sometimes follow. If a couple is frequently arguing, especially if there’s domestic violence involved, then divorce could be best for everyone.

Divorce with Children

When a married couple gets divorced with children from the marriage, child custody and support will keep the case involved with the family court until the kids are no longer eligible to receive child support. To learn more, see the Maine Child Custody article.

Maine Divorce Laws: The Basics

No matter where you divorce, there are some legal requirements you must meet before you can start and finalize a divorce. The table below outlines the basics of Maine's divorce laws.

Code Sections Maine Code Revised Title 19-A, Chapter 29: Divorce
Residency Requirements The plaintiff and/or defendant must reside in Maine, have been married there, or resided there when they separated or the cause for the divorce occurred. The plaintiff must have resided in Maine in good faith for at least 6 months prior to action or the defendant is a resident.
Waiting Period The court can make the divorce final immediately, but otherwise it is subject to an appeal period.
'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce Irreconcilable differences
Other Grounds for Divorce The fault based grounds for divorce in Maine are:
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty or abusive treatment
  • Desertion for 3 consecutive years
  • Drug and/or alcohol addiction
  • Impotence
  • Non-Support or having the ability to provide for the other spouse, but refusing to provide for him or her
  • Incapacity of one spouse has been legally determined by a court
Defenses to a Divorce Filing Recrimination, when the complaining spouse is also at fault (such as both had adulterous affairs) is a comparative, but not absolute defense.

At the court’s discretion, condonation, or that the spouse forgave the faulty behavior, could be a defense. It’s not an absolute defense.
Out-of-State Divorces You can’t go to another state to get a divorce that wouldn’t be granted in Maine solely to get that type of divorce or it won’t be recognized in Maine. However, any other valid divorce is valid in Maine, such as you were a resident of the other state first and married there so divorced there or the divorce would be valid in either state.

If you’re ready to get a divorce in Maine, you may want to consult with an experienced local lawyer. While it’s absolutely possible to file for divorce on your own, you may want some assistance in understanding or asserting your rights, especially if you and your spouse have many assets. You could be waiving marital property rights without knowing it. With a good lawyer, you’ll know what possible rights you’re giving up to get a (mostly) amicable divorce.

Note: State laws change constantly. Please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these state divorce laws.

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Maine Divorce Laws: Related Resources

Free Legal Evaluation of Your Maine Divorce Case

There are a lot of moving parts to a divorce, especially if there are child custody matters to sort out. And on top of it all, it's usually quite an emotionally difficult time for all parties involved. The best way to protect your interests and ensure the best possible outcome is to work with a divorce lawyer. Get started today by having a Maine divorce attorney review your case at no charge.

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