Call Now To Get Your Life Back

207-230-6597

Menu
Search
We help good people, in bad marriages, realize a happier future through divorce.

MAINE DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS

Maine Family Law Attorneys Guiding You Toward a Better Future Through Divorce

Ending a marriage is rarely easy, but sometimes it is necessary for one or both spouses to move on with their lives and build a happier, healthier future. The Maine Divorce Group was established to help families through these difficult transitions.

Why MDG?

We understand that each divorce is unique, and we’ll work with dedication and compassion to find the best solutions for your situation. From collaborative divorce options that can save time and money, to tough negotiation tactics for contentious property division cases, our Maine family law attorneys are prepared to advocate for you and your needs.

The Divorce Process

Click on the text in each circle to learn about the typical Maine divorce process and how an attorney can assist you at each step.

Decision to Divorce

Ultimately, only you and/or your spouse can decide if divorce is the right course of action. Once that choice is made, some couples are able to work together through a collaborative divorce process and resolve their disputes quickly. If not, divorce cases typically follow the steps described here.

Find an Attorney

The terms of your divorce will have a major impact on your life, and so it’s important to find a divorce lawyer who understands your needs and goals. Even if you and your spouse are splitting on good terms, choosing an experienced family law attorney can make the process easier.

Begin the Divorce

A Maine divorce officially begins when a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. Your attorney will assist you in gathering the documents and records needed to begin building a clearer picture of your assets and debts.

File Affidavits

A financial disclosure affidavit will need to be filed before any decisions can be made by the court in regard to child support or alimony, for example. Receiving this information from your spouse and their attorney will help your lawyer determine how to proceed next.

Case Management Conference

During this meeting, you, your spouse, and each of your attorneys will discuss the issues in your case with a judge and attempt to reach a resolution that will move your case forward. If no agreement is reached, the negotiation process will continue.

Mediation

Mediation is a required step for divorcing couples in Maine who have minor children. Couples without children may also request mediation. The mediator does not represent either side but instead works to find a compromise between both parties.

Trial or Settlement

Couples able to resolve their disputes through mediation will move on to a settlement, and for others, a trial may be necessary. We will work hard for a peaceful resolution to your case, but we’re also prepared to fight aggressively for your interests in court if needed.

Decision

Once the legal disputes in your case have been decided, either through a collaborative process or by a judge, a final divorce decree will be issued. In Maine, a minimum of 60 days is required between the filing of the initial summons and complaint and the final divorce decree.

The Maine Divorce Group ADVOCATES
FOR YOU

Skilled, Trusted Representation
For All Your Legal Needs

Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful experience for most people. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Having a strong divorce attorney in your corner can help ensure that you and your children walk away from this process with the best opportunities available for future success and happiness.

Meet The Team

The team at The Maine Divorce Group assists clients in all areas of family law, from high-asset divorces to paternity disputes. We also have attorneys with extensive experience in criminal law and personal injury practice, allowing us to offer comprehensive representation for all your legal needs.

The Lawyer's College logo
Super Lawyers 2015 Family Law logo
Super Lawyers Rising Star logo honoring Willliam T Bly

OUR PAST CLIENTS
CASE RESULTS

We are committed to helping Maine residents improve their lives by resolving tough family and divorce challenges in a fair and efficient manner. We treat every client with deep respect and personalized attention because we know they deserve the best legal guidance available, every time.

CLIENT REVIEWS FOR
THE MAINE DIVORCE GROUP

Ready to get your life back? Call now!

A wooden gavel and block with a golden justice lady in the background representing how one can benefit from calling a Portland criminal defense attorney.

Maine Divorce Lawyers

If you are separating or getting divorced in Maine, it can be challenging to think clearly, get the right advice, and take the right steps so that you (and your children) are in the best possible position to move forward with your lives.

Maine has some of the highest divorce rates in the U.S., so what is happening to you has unfortunately happened to many others before you.

There are many decisions to make – and most are not easy. It helps to have trusted and dependable lawyers fighting for your best interests so that you can plan ahead with the peace of mind that the legal matters are taken care of.

At The Maine Divorce Group, we help separating or divorcing couples move forward without the expense, delays, and stress of a courtroom battle.

What does a family lawyer do?

Our Maine family lawyers can help you take care of all domestic and family-related issues that may present legal problems for you.

While matters concerning divorce and separation take up a large proportion of the time, other matters concerning domestic violence, civil protection order proceedings, parental alienation, adoption, guardian ad litem, and child abuse/neglect are also areas that we regularly assist with. We can also help you draft marital agreements (prenups and postnuptial agreements).

Principally in divorce and separation cases, we can help you solve the following key issues:

  • Marital property division
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony (spousal support)

Where family law matters cannot be settled by collaboration, negotiation, mediation or arbitration, litigation remains an option.

What’s the difference between divorce and separation in Maine?

In Maine, a couple can separate long-term without getting divorced. This means that the spouses live apart and are legally separated but remain married.

Divorce ends a marriage and the couple move on with their lives separately from a legal standpoint.

Legal or “judicial” separation (as it is generally termed in Maine) sometimes has advantages over divorce. However, it requires settlement on most of the same issues as a divorce, such as property division, child custody, spousal support, and so on.

Some people want to remain married for religious or ethical reasons or to retain healthcare or insurance benefits. Others want a trial separation period before finalizing matters with a divorce.

In Maine, if you are legally separated, you will receive a decree of judicial separation. You are still legally married but bear in mind that the Internal Revenue Service considers you “unmarried”.

What are the grounds for divorce in Maine?

Grounds for divorce are the legal reasons that you state for seeking a divorce. If you cannot state a valid reason, you will not be granted a divorce in Maine.

Unlike in the majority of states in the U.S., Maine retains two main categories of grounds for divorce:

  1. No-fault divorce
  2. Fault-based

No-fault divorce

This is the most common category. With this type of ground for divorce, no proof of fault, misconduct or wrongdoing is required. The couple agrees to part because of “irreconcilable differences” in the marriage.

This is left deliberately vague but it is not enough to be unhappy in the marriage. You must state that you and your partner are unable to get along and there is no reasonable prospect of the situation changing. That usually involves a communication breakdown and regular disagreements.

If one spouse does not agree that the differences in the marriage are irreconcilable, the court can order both spouses to attend counseling.

Fault-based divorce

Many states do not now allow fault-based divorce because it is seen as encouraging blame, disputes, and increasing the potential for litigation and court time being wasted.

Wrongdoing must be proven in court, and may include the following:

  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Extreme cruelty or abusive treatment
  • Desertion (for three consecutive years)
  • Habitual intoxication (liquor or drug usage)
  • Nonsupport (failing to provide suitable support for a spouse, despite having the capability of doing so)
  • Incapacitation of one spouse, when a permanent guardian has been appointed by the court for that spouse

Which grounds for divorce should you choose?

The fault-based grounds for divorce outlined above could also lead to the “irreconcilable differences” that are the basis of a no-fault divorce.

If you have specific reasons for proving misconduct of your spouse, you may opt for the fault-based option but the vast majority of people in Maine choose a no-fault divorce. It is considered less time-consuming, expensive and stressful for all parties involved, including the children.

Fault-based divorces are now effectively discouraged by the court system in Maine as a spouse’s misconduct is not a factor if a judge needs to decide on issues concerning alimony, division of marital property, etc.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Maine?

In Maine, you cannot file for a judicial separation or divorce unless you have lived apart from your spouse continuously for a minimum of 60 days.

This usually means living in a separate home but if you can prove that you are not living as a married couple (e.g., sleeping and eating separately, separate bank accounts, etc.), it may be adequate.

What issues are resolved during divorce in Maine?

Most divorces in Maine require a wide variety of issues to be resolved but the following four are generally the main ones:

  1. Child custody/parental rights for minor children from the marriage
  2. Child support – who pays what for the upbringing of the children
  3. Spousal support (alimony) – when one spouse needs financial support from the other to transition to a single life
  4. Marital property and debt division

If you are fortunate, you and your spouse may be able to resolve these issues through discussion and negotiation. In many cases, however, legal assistance is required to help resolve issues.

Even if the separation is amicable and you can resolve the differences between you, the divorce or separation agreements should be drafted professionally by a lawyer before being submitted to the court for approval to avoid legal issues with your divorce.

What You Need to Know about Child Custody Primary Residence and Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Maine

Is Maine a 50/50 divorce state?

The division of property and debts in the marital estate is nearly always an area of intense discussion and dispute in a divorce or judicial separation in Maine. It helps to receive legal advice and to understand the legal rules when negotiating with your partner.

Bear in mind that Maine, unlike some states in the U.S., is NOT a community property state. This means that in a divorce, marital property is NOT automatically divided equally (50/50) between spouses.

Instead, the standard of equitable distribution is applied by the Maine courts. This means that property must be divided fairly between the spouses. “Fairly” is a subjective term that allows a high degree of discretion from the judge, who will consider many factors before deciding on the division.

In particular, each individual’s contributions to the marriage, earning ability, and needs will be assessed before a determination is made. If one spouse has been guilty of wasting marital assets or other financial misconduct, this will also be taken into account.

As an example, the Maine courts may award approximately two-thirds of the marital assets to the higher-earning spouse and one-third to the lower-earning spouse but this varies greatly depending on your specific circumstances.

What happens to non-marital property after divorce in Maine?

The courts in Maine assess and divide only property that is part of the marital estate.

Certain assets like anything owned before the marriage or inheritances/insurance payments for injuries received during the marriage are considered exempt from division.

Our Latest Blog

Annulment & Prohibited Marriages in Maine

  Many people are unaware of the fact that there…

Primary Residence and Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Maine

Knowledge of the family law system in Maine helps you…

An Overview of the Guardian Ad Litem Process in Maine

Divorces are never pretty, but some circumstances are likely to…

Ready to Get Started? Contact Our Firm Today!

The attorneys at The Maine Divorce Group understand how emotional and complex the divorce process can be and we are here to help.
Call to speak with a member of our team today, who can discuss your case and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Portland Office

By Appointment Only
207-571-8162

Kennebunk Office

Main Office
207-571-8162
Call Now Button