Unmarried Partners

Maine does not recognize common law marriage.

Unmarried partners are considered unrelated individuals under Maine law. There is no action equivalent to a divorce for unmarried partners to address issues concerning who owns or how to divide personal property, real estate, other assets, and joint debts. 

If you and your partner have minor children together

  • You may ask for the court’s help to obtain an official co-parenting order by filing a Parental Rights and Responsibilities (PR&R) Case.
  • A PR&R case deals with child issues only, including parent-child contact, child support, residence, and related issues. 

If you and your partner do not have children together

Try to resolve your issues directly with your ex-partner. 

If you cannot work things out, there may be ways in which court action can help. 

Please consult a lawyer for advice and options on how to go about this. See the Legal Help page.

Maine Domestic Partnerships and Marriage Equality

In Maine, unmarried same sex and heterosexual couples may get married or form a domestic partnership. 

Domestic partnerships give unmarried couples some, but not all of the benefits of marriage. Domestic partnerships are also easier to enter into, and easier to end. 

Additional information on domestic partnerships may be found on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Domestic Partner Registry page. 

Additional Resources

Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Establishing Paternity page. 

Maine.gov, Getting Married in Maine page for general information on how to marry in Maine.

Pine Tree Legal Assistance, LBGTQ Family Law Guide for a comparison of domestic partnerships versus marriage and information on many family law topics.

Equality Maine, Getting Married in Maine page for information for same-sex couples.