What to Know Before Starting the Divorce Process in Maine

What to Know Before Starting the Divorce Process in Maine

Before starting a divorce in Maine, becoming acquainted with some of the basic requirements and items to prepare for a divorce in the state can make the process as smooth as possible.

The eligibility requirements, costs, time it takes, and whether to hire a lawyer are all important considerations as you prepare for divorce.

Here’s what you need to know.

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Who can file for divorce in Maine?

You can file for a divorce in Maine if your marriage has some connection to the state—even if you were not married here.

More specifically, the Maine courts will accept your case if any of the following applies:

  • You have lived in Maine for at least six months before you file for divorce
  • You are a resident of the state of Maine and were married in the state
  • You are a resident of the state of Maine and were living in Maine when the situation or events leading to the divorce occurred.
  • The person you are divorcing is a resident of Maine

Why should I hire a divorce lawyer?

No two divorces are the same but it’s fair to say that most encounter hurdles along the way. Few divorces pass completely smoothly through the family court system in Maine from start to finish.

Even if you and your spouse are communicating well and in agreement about most issues, including keeping the matter out of the courts, the early involvement of a divorce lawyer can assist the process and prevent disputes and conflicts from developing.

Hiring a divorce attorney may be recommended if any of the following applies to you and your partner’s situation:

  • There are child custody, child support, and/or parenting issues
  • There have been instances of domestic violence
  • The marital estate includes property that was both accumulated during the marriage and brought into the marriage by one or both spouses
  • The issue of spousal support is disputed

During a divorce, matters involving the children must be resolved in their best interests, property division must be settled fairly and the transition to a single life for both partners must involve as little financial hardship as possible.

Often, a divorce lawyer’s expertise in these matters can help guide spouses to an amicable settlement and prevent the matter from having to be decided by a judge.

How long does a divorce in Maine take?

Under Maine law, divorcing parties must wait 60 days from the date of filing until a final divorce judgment can be entered.

Unlike some states, there is no minimum separation period for married couples before the divorce can be filed—but 60 days is the absolute quickest that a divorce can be finalized in Maine. Most times, it takes a little longer than this even if the couple agrees on all aspects of the divorce.

If there are disputes that need resolving first, a divorce can take many months or, in the case of the most serious conflicts, years. Typically, if property division or custody issues are contested, a divorce in Maine will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months or more.

How much does a divorce cost in Maine?

The costs of divorces in Maine vary greatly, mainly depending on the level of involvement of divorce lawyers.

Besides the legal fees, there are some standard costs to be met when filing for divorce:

  • Summons form: $5
  • Filing fee: $120
  • Service fee: $8 – $50 (depending on which method of service you use)

There may also be a mediation fee of $80 per party to pay for mediation if you request it rather than having it ordered by the court.

Anyone in financial difficulty and unable to afford the fees can complete a form and an affidavit to ask the court to waive them.

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How do I prepare for an impending divorce in Maine?

Now you know the basic requirements, timelines, and costs of a divorce in Maine, you’re in a better position to prepare for your divorce.

Most importantly apart from preparing yourself emotionally for the process, you’ll need to consider the needs of any minor children from the marriage, if applicable.

The children must be insulated from any disputes or conflicts that may arise and adequate financial and parenting arrangements must be made to support their requirements.

Even if you have no children, you’ll need to take a few steps to prepare for other matters. A key consideration is the financial breakup. This element can delay the divorce process unless you have everything prepared beforehand.

Before (or shortly after) serving the divorce papers on your spouse, try to collect and collate the following types of documents to demonstrate your financial status:

  • Bank account statements
  • Tax returns
  • Pension information
  • 401(k) statements
  • Details of properties held
  • Details of investments

This will help you resolve matters pertaining to property division, spousal support or alimony, and attorney fees.

Once you file for divorce, the court will issue a pre-trial scheduling order in case the matter goes to a court trial. This will specify dates by which certain steps in the case must be completed, most notably the “discovery” process. Each party must disclose their financial situation and it’s important to be prepared for this.

You may also need to attend a case management conference with a family magistrate, especially if children are involved. The magistrate will try to identify the main outstanding issues in the divorce and has the authority to issue temporary court orders while the case is pending. These issues often involve parental rights and responsibilities, primary residence, contact, and child support.

Depending on the precise circumstances of your case and the level of conflict, being prepared for the case management conference, mediation sessions, and a possible trial can be stressful and time-consuming. The process is generally made a little easier if you can rely on the legal skills and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer.

If you need legal assistance during a separation or divorce in Maine, speak to an experienced family law attorney at The Maine Divorce Group during an initial consultation.

Call 207-230-6884 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.


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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.