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How to File for Divorce in Maine

Divorce in Maine State is the legal process of terminating marital ties between two persons through the Judicial Branch. The District Courts’ family division hears divorce actions in the state. To get a divorce, interested persons must be married, and either them or their partner must be a resident of the state for at least half a year or more. Persons looking to file for divorce must establish a legally adequate reason for it. The state statutes prescribe at least sixty days between the beginning of a divorce action and the final hearing.

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Maine?

The Maine District Courts require sufficient reasons before proceeding with a decree for divorce. Such reasons can either be fault-based or no-fault based. Under Section 902 of the divorce statutes, legal motives for divorce includes:

  • Adultery of a partner
  • If a partner is impotent
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Abandonment for up to three consecutive years before the divorce filings
  • When a spouse fails to support and provide the other despite having the ability to do so
  • Irreconcilable marital issues

Divorce actions have to be backed up by any of these reasons before the court can commence the proceedings. However, the court does not require the couple to provide any grounds if they file a divorce based on no-fault (irreconcilable differences).

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce lawyers can assist in filing divorce papers and they also represent parties at the court hearings. If the parties try to reach a settlement, divorce lawyers can offer advice to help their clients negotiate the best deals. Upon the failure of parties to settle out of court, court proceedings will commence and divorce lawyers can represent their clients.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Maine?

Interested persons can commence a divorce action in Maine by completing and filing the required divorce papers with the clerk of court in either of the judicial districts the parties reside. Individuals may find a Maine District Court in their town/city by using the online court directory. The required forms are available on the state’s judicial website. Upon filing the necessary paperwork, the plaintiff has to serve the defendant copies of the document via U.S mail or through the services of the Sheriff’s Office. Within a period of twenty-one days, an answer can be filed by the other party upon being served the court papers. Usually, the answer shows if the defendant agrees or contests the plaintiff’s claims. From the date of filing, the court process takes at least sixty days to the final hearing.

How to File for Divorce in Maine Without a Lawyer?

The District Courts allow individuals to file for divorce in Maine without employing the services of a lawyer. The process is no different from the usual and the court has no special requirements for self-represented litigants. Such plaintiffs can view the Legal Help & Guides page on the judicial branch site to obtain information that can assist them in filing for divorce. The step-by-step process and necessary court forms are available on the Court Process in a Family Matters Case page.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Does Maine Divorce Mediation Work?

Mediation offers the parties involved in a divorce action to negotiate the terms of their divorce and reach an agreement without going through the litigation process. The court appoints a mediator that aids the parties in this process. In divorce matters that involve the custody of minor youths, the court may mandate mediation for the parties. While mediation offers the parties the opportunity to reach a mutual agreement, they are not obligated to reach any agreement.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Maine?

The conclusion of a Maine divorce matter after mediation depends on the success of the process. If the parties reach a mutual settlement, the court schedules a hearing and gives a final order. However, further proceedings will occur if the party fails to agree after mediation. Generally, both processes take at least sixty days.

Are Divorce Records Public in Maine?

While divorce records are public information in Maine as stated in the state’s public records law, some details in the records are confidential. Confidential or sealed information is not available to the public due to its sensitive nature or on the court’s order.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Get Maine Divorce Records?

To obtain Maine divorce records, querying parties can fill the records request search form and submit it to the Judicial Branch Service Centre. Charges include a fee of $20 per search and copy fees of $2 for the first page and $1 per subsequent pages. Requestors are to address the form to the location:

Judicial Branch Service Centre

PO Box 266

Lewiston, ME 04243

(207) 753–2901

The vital records department of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services also manages and disseminates divorce records for a fee of $15 per certified copy. Interested persons can mail a written request that contains the name on the divorce record, the divorce date, and the location that the divorce filing occurred. Requestors should mail requests to:

Vital Records Department

11, State House Station

220 Capitol Street

Augusta, Maine

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