The Maine Divorce Process
It is during the most difficult times that we need to be surrounded with support. The emotional strain of going through a divorce or separation can leave you feeling alone, confused and overwhelmed on every side – legally as well as personally..
You may not know what decisions need to be made regarding child custody arrangements, separation agreements, property & asset division, just to name a few real world examples, which could have long-term impacts on your life moving forward and can change conditions dramatically depending on a wide number of variables
It’s best if they’re handled professionally by an experienced & compassionate lawyer who knows how complicated these types of matters usually turn out to be when there are multiple parties and variables involved.
The Divorce Process in Maine
Making a Decision to Divorce
No one, not even an attorney, should tell you whether divorce is the right decision or not. Divorce is a personal decision, one that many choose to discuss with their friends, family, mentors, religious leaders, and therapists.
If and when you do conclude that divorce is the right step, you or you and your spouse will need to make a decision.Will you utilize the collaborative divorce process or proceed with a contested divorce case? If you choose the latter, continue to the next step.
Find an Attorney
When the decision to get divorced is made, you should contact a Maine family law attorney as soon as possible. You may have questions such as if a divorce makes legal sense in your situation, and your lawyer can inform you of any steps you need to take before filing.
Choosing the right lawyer is a decision that will determine how your divorce ends. Do your research and make sure you ultimately hire a lawyer that you feel comfortable with.
After all, you will be working with them for some time, and they will know many personal details of your life.
Begin the Divorce
Once you retain an attorney, they will collect information and enlist your help to prepare the initial filings. Your divorce case officially begins once your Maine family law attorney files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your spouse will then be served with divorce papers.
File Financial Paperwork/Child Support Affidavits
You and your attorney will need to complete a financial affidavit, as well as a child support affidavit, in cases involving children.
The court cannot rule on any financial issues within the divorce, such as spousal maintenance and child support until these have been submitted, nor can the parties engage in the financial discovery process until those forms have been submitted.
We will also receive the same from your spouse. At which point, we can begin to assess many of the financial issues in your divorce.
Case Management Conference
A case management conference is a hearing involving the judge, attorneys, and you and your spouse.
Getting your case moving forward is the purpose of such a conference. The judge will want to know what you and your spouse agree and disagree about and if there is any possibility of quickly settling the case.
The court will then issue a scheduling order with deadlines for important case milestones such as conducting discovery, noticing of expert witnesses, depositions, etc.
In Maine, the law mandates that if you have children under 18, both you and your spouse must attempt mediation. If there are no children involved, mediation can still take place if both parties request it.
Court-hired mediators do not provide legal advice. Instead, they help spouses compromise and resolve disputes on specific issues.
Mediation is a great way to keep down the costs of divorce, which can increase when one or both parties want to litigate every issue at trial.
Trial or Settlement
Your divorce will likely either end with a settlement or a court-ordered solution. Most of the time, it is better to settle as you will have more control over the outcome. However, you should discuss this at length with your Maine family lawyer.
Settlements should not be agreed upon if one spouse is giving into everything the other spouse wants. Your attorney can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of going to trial.
The Final Divorce Decision
By state law, the minimum amount of time before the court can grant a final divorce is sixty days from the day the summons and complaint were served on the other party. It is not uncommon for the divorce process to last many months, especially if children are involved.
Once you and your spouse have resolved your disputes in mediation or the judge has ruled on your case, your final divorce decree will be issued.
If you have questions about the divorce process or are ready to file for divorce, contact our experienced divorce attorneys at The Maine Divorce Group or call us directly today. We know how complicated this process can be, and we are here to help.
Call 207-230-6597 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys today.
We serve many clients, just like you, across Maine in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, & Lincoln Counties.
Contact The Maine Divorce Group today
HOW CAN THE MAINE GROUP DIVORCE HELP?
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.