Family Law Attorney in Maine
Family law is a broad practice area, where every issue is unique depending on the individuals involved and their circumstances.
Family lawyers must, therefore, understand the complexities of these situations, the relationships involved, and introduce creative solutions that can solve disputes or issues.
The stakes in family law issues are generally high and communications can become tense and emotional. A responsive, dependable, and skilled family lawyer can be an important asset for any family in Maine going through legal problems.
At The Maine Divorce Group, while our primary focus is on separation and divorce, we cover many other aspects of family law including representation for unmarried couples, prenuptial agreements, paternity issues, protection from abuse orders, etc.…
The family law-related services we focus on include:
- Child Support
- College Expenses for Children & Divorce
- Domestic Violence Proceedings
- Guardian Ad Litem
- Orders of Protection
- Parental Alienation
- Parental Responsibility
When individuals in a relationship are unmarried, it can create legal complexities – especially concerning issues like paternity, child custody, and property division.
The family courts in Maine will generally order paternity tests and enforce child support orders accordingly and we can help you navigate these complexities.
Prenuptial agreements are quite common these days as people tend to get married later in life having already accumulated significant assets.
These assets can be protected and other provisions made in the event of a separation, with a properly drafted prenuptial agreement covering property division, alimony, etc.
Note that child custody issues are excluded from such agreements.
Despite common-law relationships (not recognized in Maine) and other arrangements providing other options these days, marriage remains a popular step and comes with a set of legal rights and responsibilities.
The team at The Maine Divorce Group can help you navigate the legal procedures required to formalize your marriage, such as the application for a marriage license and submittal of the marriage certificate.
Annulments, legal separations & divorce
There are several ways to end a relationship in Maine. We can assist with each of the following…
An annulment invalidates a marriage. Unlike with a divorce, individuals involved in a marriage annulment can legally say that they were “never married”.
For an annulment to go through, legal grounds must be established: fraud, no legal eligibility for marriage (too young, already married or a family member), impotence, temporary insanity, or another valid reason is required.
Legal separation is where a married couple separates and lives apart, but does not take the step of getting divorced.
Remaining married can be a better option for couples for many reasons, including financial, religious, and ethical reasons. Each spouse retains his or her legal rights as a married person.
Divorce formally ends a marriage in Maine. It is only granted after the key elements in a separation are resolved, such as the division of the marital estate, spousal support, child support, and child custody/visitation/parenting responsibilities.
Maine does allow fault-based divorces, but the majority of divorces here are no-fault, meaning that a couple separates due to “irreconcilable differences” rather than having to prove the fault of the other party.
Divorce issues in Maine
The main issues in a divorce are usually solved either during discussions between spouses, mediation, collaboration between lawyers, or following a trial with a judge.
Litigated trials are much less common in Maine these days, saving time and expense.
A key decision to be made in a divorce is how the marital estate will be divided.
This can be complex not only because the determination is made based on an “equitable” distribution of property rather than an “equal” distribution but because some couples are not aware of what constitutes marital property and what doesn’t.
A seasoned divorce lawyer will help you understand your obligations and rights concerning marital property division.
Spousal support (“alimony”)
Spousal support is paid by one spouse to the other to enable a smoother transition to independent life.
Your divorce lawyer can help you make the necessary calculations and submit the correct paperwork to the Maine courts.
Child custody, support and visitation
Every parent has a legal obligation to support their minor children. As such, the major issues to be resolved when a marriage with children ends are legal and physical custody, the rights and responsibilities of each parent, and the amount of child support to be paid by the noncustodial parent.
These issues are often handled at the same time by the Maine courts as they are considered separate but interconnected.
Two spouses can draft a parenting plan covering these issues, subject to approval by the Maine family law courts. The key determining factor is whether it is in the best interests of the children.
If a couple cannot decide on these important matters between them, the courts may need to decide – a potentially lengthy and stressful process that our experienced divorce attorneys can assist with.
When married couples have a child in Maine, there is a general presumption that the father of the baby is the spouse.
However, when unmarried couples have a child, paternity may be established either by both parents signing an acknowledgement of paternity (AOP) in front of a notary public or decided by a judge in court after a paternity suit is filed and testing ordered.
A paternity action can be brought by the child, mother or father and is often required to resolve child support or parenting/visitation issues when unmarried couples separate. The Maine Office for Family Independence, Division of Support Enforcement & Recovery (DSER) also regularly files lawsuits in situations where a child receives public assistance.
Domestic violence and protection from abuse
Sometimes, in family situations, certain individuals (often children and spouses) require protection from potential harm or abuse.
The Maine courts have the power to issue orders of protection (no-contact orders or restraining orders) to ensure the safety of family members.
Domestic violence issues are treated very seriously in Maine.
If you are experiencing difficulties at home in this respect, one of our Maine family law attorneys can guide you on how to obtain the necessary legal assistance to keep you safe.
Learn More → How does domestic violence affect child custody in Maine?
Protection from abuse
An order of protection is a specific court order that prohibits a person from taking particular actions like contacting, harassing, following, or physically harming the protected person. Contravening such an order can result in fines or even jail time.
An order of protection is usually obtained from the district court where you live or where the alleged abuser lives. Our family law attorneys can help organize what you need through the Maine family law system.
The Maine Divorce Group Can Help You
Whether you require to transition to a single life, ensure financial security for you and your children, protect yourself as you enter a new marriage or escape an abusive relationship, the family lawyers at The Maine Divorce Group can help, starting with a case evaluation or call us to set up a consultation.
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.