Enforcing Out of State Custody Orders in Maine


Enforcing Child Custody in Maine


When a child custody order is issued in another state, residents in Maine can still use the courts to enforce it. Under Maine law, section 1763, “court of this State shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity” with Maine's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act. Additionally, the court can use “any remedy available under other law” to enforce an order. If you are looking to file a motion to enforce in Maine, contact a family law attorney right now.

If the court does not have the jurisdiction to modify a child custody order that was issued by another court, it does have the option of instead issuing a temporary order. This order can last for a period of time set by the court or until a new order is obtained. Under section 1764, this order can enforce the following:

  • The visitation schedule established in the other court
  • The provisions of visitation of an order that did not provide a specific visitation schedule

Registering a Child Custody Order in Maine

A child custody determination that was issued by another state can be registered in Maine by filing a letter or document requesting registration. The court will then review the order and give the other party a chance to contest registration. Once the registration process is complete, Maine courts will have the ability to "grant any relief normally available under the law" and will be able to recognize and enforce a previously issued order. Courts will not, however, be able to modify such an order.

A petition to enforce a child custody determination must include the following under section 1768:

  • What jurisdiction basis the original order identified If the order has ever been vacated, stayed or modified
  • Whether any type of proceeding is in progress that could have an effect on the situation such as domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights and adoptions cases
  • Where the child and other party currently live
  • Whether attorney's fees and court costs are also sought
  • The date and place where the order was registered in Maine

If a temporary emergency order has not been issued and the existing order calls for the petitioner to gain “immediate physical custody of the child”, custody will be granted as long as:

  • The order has been registered with Maine Court
  • The issuing court has jurisdiction
  • The order has not been vacated, stayed or modified
  • The other party was not notified of the order's registration

Call a Maine Child Custody Lawyer

Getting the court to enforce an existing child custody determination can be confusing. If you are looking to get a motion to enforce, call out office and speak to an attorney. We can help with all the necessary paperwork and get you results are quickly as possible. Call WTB Law now at (207) 571-8146 to get started.


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