Divorce & Family Separation
Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage. You can file for divorce in Maine if:
- You are married and have lived in Maine for 6 months or longer; or
- You are a Maine resident and were married in Maine; or
- You are a Maine resident and were living in Maine when the cause of divorce arose;
- Your spouse is a Maine resident.
Maine law requires a minimum 60-day waiting period between the filing of all the necessary divorce paperwork and the final hearing. See more information about filing for a divorce.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
If you and your child’s other parent are NOT married and you want to establish each of your individual parental rights and responsibilities, you should file a Parental Rights & Responsibilities complaint (see Parental Rights & Responsibilities Cases), NOT a divorce complaint. See more information about Parental Rights and Responsibilities.
Do I need a lawyer?
Many people do not hire lawyers when getting divorced or establishing parental rights and responsibilities. However, if you are able, you may want to talk to a lawyer about the process. See the Legal Help page for more information.
This is especially important if:
- You and your spouse disagree about decisions affecting your children;
- You and your spouse have complicated property, financial, or real estate issues; or
- There is a history or threat of domestic violence in the household.
Assistance through the Volunteer Lawyers' Project (VLP)
If you have a question about a divorce or Parental Rights & Responsibilities case, you may be able to get free legal advice from a family law attorney through the VLP's Courthouse Assistance Projects (CHAPs). More information about CHAPs, including hours, eligibility, and an intake phone number, can be found on the VLP website here: www.vlp.org/about/#family.
For more information on the procedural steps, court forms you will need, and how your case will proceed through the court, see the Court Process in a Family Matters Case page.