The 15 Most Common Questions About Getting a Divorce in Maine
No one likes to think that “I do” will someday turn into “I wish I hadn’t.” If that’s the case for you, though, and you or your spouse is a Maine resident, it’s important to know the layout of the land before you go through with your divorce.
Although divorces are rarely pleasant, they can be smoother and involve less frustration if you approach your divorce from a knowledgeable perspective. With that in mind, here are the answers to the 15 most frequently asked questions about getting a divorce in Maine:
What are the Grounds for Getting a Divorce in Maine?
Maine allows married couples to file for “no fault” divorces in this state – the only available listed reason is “irreconcilable differences.” If you’re both sure you want to go your separate ways for good, you’ll appreciate the broadness of this reason.
Fault-based divorce is also available in Maine. Permitted reasons are limited to:
- Cruelty or abuse
- Drug and alcohol addiction
- Abandonment of the home for a period of three consecutive years
- Inability or unwillingness of one spouse to support another
- Incapacity of a spouse as determined by a court
How Do You File for a Divorce in Maine?
The first step to obtaining a Maine divorce is to file a Complaint for Divorce with the family division of the court for your district. You can find this information on the State of Maine Judicial Branch website.
You must then choose how to “serve” notice of the Complaint for Divorce filing to your spouse. This can be done through regular mail, certified mail, or service of notice by the appropriate Sheriff’s office, depending on your circumstances.
Once you can prove that your spouse has been serviced with the notice of the Complaint for Divorce, you can complete the online Family Matter Summary Sheet and bring it to your district court with the Complaint for Divorce, Proof of Service, filing fee, and any financial statements, Certificates Regarding Real Estate, and other forms required by the court.
Does Maine Require Separation Before a Divorce?
Maine does not specifically require separation; however, there is a minimum 60-day waiting period between the date you file your Complaint for Divorce, and the date of your final divorce hearing.
Can I File for a Divorce in Maine without a Lawyer?
If you and your spouse have simply decided to go your separate ways, and there are no complex issues such as child custody or estate ownership in question, you may file for divorce without an attorney. In the case of an at-fault divorce, or when there are children or significant assets to consider, an attorney can help ensure equitable results.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Maine?
There is no specific divorce timeline in Maine – the length of time it will take to complete your divorce will depend on several factors. These include your timely filing of required forms and data, your spouse’s willingness to cooperate with divorce proceedings, and many others.
Maine does impose a 60-day minimum waiting period after you file your Complaint for Divorce, though, so you can expect to wait at least two months to finalize your divorce.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Maine?
The average fee for a divorce filing in Maine is $120. This is typically only the beginning, though – attorney fees and other divorce costs average $8,000 in Maine.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Get a Divorce in Maine?
Hiring an attorney can be an advantageous move, even if you don’t anticipate any problems. Your spouse could pose unexpected resistance and attempt to drag out the divorce proceedings. You might suspect an affair or have another reason for an at-fault divorce. Or you might simply want to ensure that you are treated fairly by the courts in terms of asset distribution, child custody, and other issues.
Although hiring an attorney can be a significant expense, this decision can help protect you throughout your divorce proceedings and beyond.
Should I Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
Many people who are contemplating divorce in Maine don’t consider hiring Certified Divorce Financial Analysts. Still, these professionals are essential to ensuring that you have the financial leverage you deserve as you move toward finalizing your divorce.
A CDFA can help you by uncovering opportunities to optimize your post-divorce finances and ensure equitable treatment of you and your soon-to-be former spouse. They can also help identify hidden assets, determine ownership of joint-owned business assets, and resolve other complex financial aspects of Maine divorce.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Simply put, an uncontested divorce is one in which neither party objects to the proceedings or the terms of the divorce. Both you and your spouse must agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, division of debt and assets, and child support payments.
How are Financial Assets Split in a Maine Divorce?
Maine is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the courts attempt to distribute assets fairly and equitably. This doesn’t mean that each partner gets the same amount, though. If one partner’s expenses are considerably higher than the other’s that person would likely receive a greater share of the assets.
Who Wins the House in a Maine Divorce?
If you are the sole owner of the home, you will likely keep it after the divorce. The same is true for your spouse. If you co-own the home, though, the court will determine who will gain legal possession of the home. This is determined by analyzing each partner’s finances and other lifestyle factors to determine which partner will obtain the greatest benefit.
Do I Get to Keep My 401K if I Get Divorced?
You will be able to keep funds deposited and earned before the marriage. Any contributed funds or earned interest during the marriage will be divided according to equitable distribution principles. Your CDFA can help you protect eligible assets to ensure a solid financial foundation for retirement.
How is Child Custody Decided in Maine?
Maine courts attempt to decide custody arrangements based on the best interest of each child involved. This can involve many factors, including each spouse’s work schedule, income, and living environment. The age and preferences of each child can also influence custody decisions in Maine.
Will I Have to Pay Alimony if I Get Divorced in Maine?
Alimony in Maine is gender neutral – either spouse can request alimony by demonstrating a financial need and showing that the proposed alimony payments will not impose an undue burden on the paying spouse.
Whether you will pay or receive alimony, and for how long, is determined by the court handling your divorce case.
At What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in Maine?
A child who is 18 or older may legally choose which parent they want to live with. In cases involving children under 18, the child’s preferences are still considered; however, the parents and the court handling the case have the final say.
Want to make sure your financial well-being is protected in a Maine divorce?
Having the right professionals on your side can make the difference between divorce-related disaster and an equitable arrangement where you and your former spouse both feel satisfied. Contact the friendly experts at August Wealth Management to discuss your options today.