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Maine Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Maine.

You can get more specific information regarding Maine divorce laws using the links provided to Maine divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Maine Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements To get a divorce under Maine law, you must meet one of the following residency requirements:
  • The plaintiff must have resided in the state of Maine for 6 months; or
  • The plaintiff must be a resident of the state of Maine and the parties must have been married in the state or resided in the state of Maine when the cause of the divorce occurred; or
  • The defendant must be a resident of the state of Maine.
Where to File Maine law requires the divorce to be filed in the District Court in the county where either spouse resides.
Grounds for Divorce Maine is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you can get a divorce if there are "irreconcilable marital differences." There are also the following fault grounds for divorce under Maine law:
  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Extreme Cruelty
  • Desertion for 3 consecutive years
  • Gross and confirmed habits due to drug or alcohol abuse
  • Wantonly or cruelly refusing to provide suitable maintenance when one spouse has the ability to do so
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • A judicial determination has been made that one of the parties is an incapacitated person, for whom a guardian with full powers has been appointed, other than a temporary guardian appointed.
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingNo
Property Distribution The court will set aside each spouse's separate property and will divide the marital property fairly, considering the following relevant factors:
  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
  • The value of the property set apart of each spouse
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live in the home for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children
Child Custody When the parents have agreed to share parental rights and responsibilities, the court will make that award unless there is substantial evidence that it should not be ordered.

Maine Laws on Best Interest of the Child.
The court shall consider the best interest of the child in making an award for custody. The safety and well-being of the child are primary concerns, taking into account the following factors:
  • The age of the child
  • The relationship of the child with the child's parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child's welfare
  • The preference of the child, if old enough to express a meaningful preference
  • The duration and adequacy of the child's current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child
  • The motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child love, affection and guidance
  • The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community
  • The capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent, including physical access
  • The capacity of each parent to cooperate or to learn to cooperate in child care
  • Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent's willingness to use those methods
  • The effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing
  • The existence of domestic abuse between the parents, in the past or currently, and how that abuse affects the child's safety and emotional health
  • The existence of any history of child abuse by a parent
  • All other factors having a reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child
  • A parent's prior willful misuse of the protection from abuse process in chapter 101 in order to gain tactical advantage in a proceeding involving the determination of parental rights and responsibilities of a minor child. Such willful misuse may only be considered if established by clear and convincing evidence, and if it is further found by clear and convincing evidence that in the particular circumstances of the parents and child, that willful misuse tends to show that the acting parent will in the future have a lessened ability and willingness to cooperate and work with the other parent in their shared responsibilities for the child. The court shall articulate findings of fact whenever relying upon this factor as part of its determination of a child's best interest. The voluntary dismissal of a protection from abuse petition may not, taken alone, be treated as evidence of the willful misuse of the protection from abuse process
  • If the child is under one year of age, whether the child is being breast-fed
Child Support Determination of basic support entitlement. After the court or hearing officer determines the annual gross income of both parties, the 2 incomes must be added together to provide a combined annual gross income and applied to the child support table to determine the basic support entitlement for each child.

Criteria that may justify deviation from the child support guidelines are as follows:
  • The noncustodial parent is in fact providing primary residential care for more than 30% of the time per year
  • The number of children for whom support is being determined is greater than 6
  • The interrelation of the total support obligation established under the support guidelines for child support, the division of property and an award of spousal support made in the same proceeding for which a parental support obligation is being determined
  • The financial resources of each child
  • The financial resources and needs of a party, including nonrecurring income not included in the definition of gross income
  • The standard of living each child would have enjoyed had the marital relationship continued
  • The physical and emotional conditions of each child
  • The educational needs of each child
  • Inflation with relation to the cost of living
  • Available income and financial contributions of the domestic associate or current spouse of each party
  • The existence of other persons who are actually financially dependent on either party, including, but not limited to, elderly, disabled or infirm relatives, or adult children pursuing post-secondary education. If the primary care provider is legally responsible for another minor child who resides in the household and if the computation of a theoretical support obligation on behalf of the primary care provider would result in a significantly greater parental support obligation on the part of the nonprimary care provider, that factor may be considered
  • The tax consequences if the obligor is awarded any tax benefits. In determining the allocation of tax exemptions for children, the court may consider which party will have the greatest benefit from receiving the allocation
  • The fact that income at a reasonable rate of return may be imputed to non income producing assets with an aggregate fair market value of $10,000 or more, other than an ordinary residence or other asset from which each child derives a substantial benefit
  • The existence of special circumstances regarding a child 12 years of age or older, for the child's best interest, requires that the primary residential care provider continue to provide for employment-related day care
  • Substantial cost of transportation, exceeding 15% of the yearly child support obligation, incurred due to visitation with the child
  • A finding by the court or hearing officer that the application of the support guidelines would be unjust, inappropriate or not in the child's best interest
Spousal Support Marriage Less than 10 Years. There is a refutable presumption that alimony may not be awarded if the parties were married for less than 10 years. There is also a rebuttal presumption that alimony may not be awarded for a term exceeding 1/2 the length of the marriage if the parties were married for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years as of the date of the filing of the action for divorce. (i.e. if the parties were married 14 years, alimony payments should not exceed 7 years following the divorce).

If the court finds that a spousal support award based upon the above presumption would be inequitable or unjust, that finding is sufficient to rebut the applicable presumption.

Alimony may be awarded in Maine to provide financial assistance to a spouse with substantially less income potential than the other spouse, so that both spouses can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce. Maine laws specify the following guidelines when determining an award of alimony in Maine:
  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of each party to pay
  • The age of each party
  • The employment history and employment potential of each party
  • The income history and income potential of each party
  • The education and training of each party
  • The provisions for retirement and health insurance benefits of each party
  • The tax consequences of the division of marital property, including the tax consequences of the sale of the marital home, if applicable
  • The health and disabilities of each party
  • The tax consequences of a spousal support award
  • The contributions of either party as homemaker
  • The contributions of either party to the education or earning potential of the other party
  • Economic misconduct by either party resulting in the diminution of marital property or income
  • The standard of living of the parties during the marriage
  • The ability of the party seeking support to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time
  • The effect of the following on a party's need for spousal support or a party's ability to pay spousal support
         a. Actual or potential income from marital or nonmarital property as part of the          property division; and
         b. Child support for the support of a minor child or children of the marriage.
  • Any other factors not specifically expressed in these laws that the court considers appropriate

Maine Divorce Attorneys by County

Click on any ME county below to find a divorce attorney in your area.


Maine Divorce Mediators by County

Click on any ME county below to find a divorce mediator in your area.


This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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