Grounds for Divorce in Maine
One of the most common fields of family law is divorce law. According to the U.S. Census, Maine has one of the highest rates of divorce in the country. Many people considering divorce may have questions about the process and be unsure where to even start. A call to our office is a good first step. You can set up a consultation with one of our experienced divorce lawyers in Portland Maine who can help you better understand the process. When a couple chooses to dissolve their marriage, they will need to file for divorce. Divorce law is covered in Title 19-A, Chapter 29 in under Maine Revised Statutes. According to these laws, a person may seek a divorce in Maine if:
- They have lived in the state for 6 months or more prior to commencement of filing
- They are a resident of Maine and were married in Maine
- They are resident of Maine and were in the state when the grounds for divorce occurred
- Their spouse is resident of the state
A person filing for divorce will also have to state a reason. This is referred to as grounds for divorce. A divorce can be based on any of the following grounds listed under section 902 of Maine law:
- Irreconcilable marital differences
- Extreme cruelty
- Desertion – one party has been absent for 3 or more years consecutively
- Cruel and abusive treatment
- Substance abuse – the law describes this as “Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication from the use of liquor or drugs”
- Nonsupport – defined as “when one spouse has sufficient ability to provide for the other spouse and grossly, wantonly or cruelly refuses or neglects to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse”
If neither party contests the reason for divorce, no proof or witnesses will have to be used to prove it true and the petition can be filed without further inquiry.
Common Issues of Maine Divorce
Divorces can be complicated. Even couples who enter into an uncontested divorce can get into arguments when agreeing to the terms. Most divorces are contested in that parties do not agree on all aspects of the divorce. Some of the most commonly contested issues include the following:
- Allocation of assets – couples can often disagree about who will keep what property especially when it comes to large items like homes, vehicles and even fine jewelry or frequent flyer miles.
- Dividing up debts – divorcing spouses must decide who will be responsible for what debts.
- Child Custody – a marriage that involves a minor child or children will have to develop a parenting plan when divorcing. This plan will list all aspects of child care and how responsibilities will be divided. Subjects include decision making ability, custody and visitation, primary custody, child support, and more.
- Alimony – When one party is the majority earner in a couple, the other party may seek spousal support in order to maintain their same quality of life post-divorce.
Options for Divorce in Maine
If a divorce is uncontested and couples– This type of divorce proceeding occurs when both parties have an attorney present to represent their best interests. Parties and attorneys will work to negotiate an agreement that everyone is happy with. This option requires multiple correspondences and exchanges between attorneys and clients until all issues can be resolved. Though this method can be beneficial because it encourages compromises, it can be expensive and sometimes lengthy. of the following options:
Lawyer based negotiations – This type of divorce proceeding occurs when both parties have an attorney present to represent their best interests. Parties and attorneys will work to negotiate an agreement that everyone is happy with. This option requires multiple correspondences and exchanges between attorneys and clients until all issues can be resolved. Though this method can be beneficial because it encourages compromises, it can be expensive and sometimes lengthy.
Arbitration – Arbitration is similar to litigation in that the facts of the case are presented to a neutral party, the arbitrator, who then issues a written opinion which parties must follow. Arbitration is used in divorces where compromises cannot be reached and is often more cost-effective than going to the litigation while yielding similar results.
Mediation – During mediation, a trained mediator will work with both sides to resolve issues and reach agreements on contestant issues in a divorce. In Maine, a court mediator is usually required to work with a family before any family law issue can be heard. It can be very effective when parties are able work together to reach compromises.
Litigation – Taking a divorce dispute to court and having a judge make a decision is called litigation. It is the most common way that contested divorces of settled. When divorcing parties cannot reach an agreement on issues including child custody, alimony, division of assets, etc., they can present their case to a judge who will then make a ruling. Like arbitration, a court's ruling is final and can only be modified by filing a petition.
In any type of divorce process, an attorney can be extremely helpful. Having a lawyer on your side ensures that someone is looking out for your best interest. If you are considering filing for divorce in Maine, contact the best divorce lawyers in Maine right away to find out more about your options.
Portland, ME Divorce Attorney
If you are thinking about divorcing in Maine, contact WTB Law today. Our divorce attorneys Bangor ME clients consult can help you choose the best divorce method for your needs. Going through a divorce is never easy. It is important to make sure that you have an experienced and compassionate attorney standing by your side. We work hard to make sure that our clients are taken care of in all respects. To find out more about how we can assist you, call us right now.