Maine Court Records
How are Divorce Records Generated in Maine?
Divorce records include any document generated at any point in the process of dissolution of a marriage or union. These could be case files such as divorce complaints, affidavits, summons, orders of appearances, and financial information. It could also be documents generated at the end of the divorce process, such as divorce decrees and certificates.
In Maine, there are 8.3 divorces per 1,000 women aged 15 and above. Divorces can be granted on a no-fault or fault basis. Grounds for divorce in Maine include:
- Irreconcilable marital differences
- Cruel and abusive treatment
- Utter desertion for three consecutive years before the divorce filing
- Extreme cruelty
- Gross habits of intoxication from drugs or liquor use
Divorce can be contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the parties are in agreement about terms and conditions of the divorce, such as spousal support, child support, child custody, debt and asset division, property use and division, and child visitation. Uncontested divorces are typically finalized quicker than contested divorces.
In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to agree on the terms and conditions of their divorce. These types of divorce cases typically take longer to finalize. For both contested and uncontested divorces, Maine has a mandatory waiting period of 60 days between the filing of the divorce complaint and the divorce hearing.
To be eligible for divorce in Maine, applicants must have a legal ground and must meet the residency requirements. Either or both parties in the divorce must have lived in Maine for at least six months before the filing of the divorce complaint. Interested persons may also be eligible to file for divorce in Maine if:
- The plaintiff is a Maine resident and got married in Maine
- The defendant is a resident
- The plaintiff is a resident and lived in Maine at the time the ground for divorce arose
Divorce is finalized when a judge delivers the final divorce judgment and issues a Decree of divorce. Divorce records are filed with the town or city clerk in the county where the divorce was granted. Divorce records created after January 1, 1892, are maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Data, Research, and Vital Statistics (DRVS) office and most municipal offices statewide.
Are Divorce Records Public in Maine?
Under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, some parts of divorce records are not available to the public. Examples of such parts include social security numbers, financial information, child custody information, or any information which would threaten the life or safety of a child if made available to the public. Records containing information about victims of abuse or domestic violence are also sealed by law.
Maine is a closed records state. This means that to obtain certified copies of vital records, requestors must submit written requests along with valid identification. Requestors may also be required to show a legitimate interest in the record requested or prove their relationship to persons named on the record. This means that requestors may need to present the reasons for their request or show that they are related to either party named on the record.
Uncertified copies may be available to the public for a fee, however, uncertified copies are marked as such and are not useful for any legal purposes.
What are the types of Divorce Records available in Maine?
Divorce records available in Maine include case files, certificates of divorce, and the final decree of divorce. Case files include documents generated in the process of the divorce, from the filing of the divorce complaint to the delivery of the final divorce judgment. Complaints, affidavits, and summons are examples of case files. Case files are maintained by the clerk of the district court in the county where the divorce is granted.
Divorce certificates are issued by the state as legal proof of the dissolution of a marriage or for record purposes. It contains a summary of the divorce details such as the names of the parties in the divorce, the venue or county where the divorce was granted, and the date the divorce was finalized. A divorce certificate is not a court document. Divorce certificates are issued by the Vital Records office in Maine.
A divorce decree or the Final Decree of Divorce is the final order of the court that grants the dissolution of a marriage or union. The divorce decree contains all the terms and conditions of a divorce, and the court’s decision on matters like child custody, visitation rights, property and asset division, alimony or spousal support. It is usually multiple pages long, and it must be followed by both parties in the divorce.
A divorce decree is enforceable. This means that if one party in the divorce does not follow the divorce order of the court, the other party may file a motion to enforce the Final Decree of Divorce.
Divorce is finalized when the Final Decree of Divorce is signed and dated by the judge and the court clerk. Divorce decrees are maintained by the town or city clerk in the county where the divorce is granted. Divorce decrees are also available at the Vital Records Office.
Except for case files, divorce records can be used as legal proof of divorce in matters such as immigration and citizenship, remarriage, and social security matters.
How Do I Get Divorce Records in Maine?
Divorce records can be obtained in Maine in person, by mail, or online. To view a divorce record in person, requestors may visit the town or city clerk in the county where the divorce was granted.
To request a divorce record by mail, requestors must submit a completed request form along with valid photo identification and a money order or payment check payable to Treasurer, State of Maine. The request must be mailed in a stamped and self-addressed envelope to:
11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333–0011
Acceptable means of identification include a passport, driver’s license, or any other government-issued photo identification. Persons who do not have acceptable photo identification may present two alternative documents with their names on it. Acceptable alternatives are:
- Bank statement
- Utility bill
- A copy of income tax return
- A personal check with an address
- A letter from a government agency requesting a vital record
- A previously issued vital record
- A social security card
- A Department of Corrections identification card
- Voter’s registration card
- Medicare or Medicaid insurance card
- A pay stub
- A license or rental agreement
- A hospital birth worksheet
- A DD214
- A school or employee photo identification card
- Other forms of identification that list the requestor’s name, date of birth, and address
A certified copy of a divorce record costs $15, and additional certified copies of the same divorce record will each cost $6. Non-certified copies cost $10. Checks and money orders are the only acceptable payment methods, as the Vital Records Office does not accept credit card information over the phone. The office also does not accept online orders.
To get divorce records online, requests must be submitted online or over the phone to a government-approved third-party website. The website may charge additional fees for the use of their service and to expedite requests.
The following information is required for the fulfillment of divorce records requests:
- The full names of the divorced parties as listed at the time of divorce
- The date the divorce was finalized
- The city or town where the divorce was finalized
- The requestor’s telephone number
Who Can Obtain Divorce Records in Maine?
Persons requesting certified copies of divorce records in Maine may be required to show a legitimate interest in the record requested or prove their relationship to parties named on the divorce record. This is because Maine is a closed records state. Persons authorized to request copies of divorce records are parties named on the record, members of their immediate family, or authorized representatives of either party named on the record. Requestors will be required to show valid, government-issued identification before their requests for divorce records can be fulfilled.
Are Maine Divorce Records available online?
Certified copies of divorce records are available online through third-party websites. Copies available may contain only summaries of the divorce records. This means that actual divorce records may not be available through some third-party sites. The Vital Records Office does not accept or fulfill online requests for divorce records.
How Do I seal My Divorce Records in Maine?
Persons who wish to seal parts or all of their divorce records may petition the court to have the records sealed. If the court decides that good cause is shown, or that sealing the records is beneficial for the public good, the motion may be granted and the records sealed. By law, some divorce records are not accessible to the public. Examples are records of financial information, social security numbers, information about children, or child custody. Records containing information about victims of abuse or domestic violence are also not accessible to the public.