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Maine Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers

In Maine, divorce papers come in packets for couples with children and for couples without children.

The plaintiff, who is the party desiring the divorce, completes the divorce paperwork; the defendant, who is the other spouse, accepts the paperwork and responds to the complaint.

The divorce paperwork includes:

  • the Complaint for Divorce, which asks the court to end the marriage and spells out desired relief (including the disposition of a house or other real estate or land). The plaintiff must sign this form in front of a Notary Public, who can be found at a bank, a legal services office, through a town office, or at the court clerk's office.
  • the Child Support Affidavit, which must be singed in the presence of a Notary Public. After defendant receives the Complaint, the Court asks him/her to fill out the same financial form and send the plaintiff a copy.
  • Family Matter Summons and Preliminary injunction.
  • the Social Security Number Disclosure Form.

Read more about Maine divorce forms

Filing the Paperwork with the Court

Divorcing spouses file a complaint for divorce in the Maine Superior Court or in the Maine District Court in the county where either spouse lives.

A person filing for divorce must be a resident for the six months immediately prior to the filing. These requirements, known as the residency or jurisdictional requirements, can be found in the Maine statutes at 19-A M.R.S.A. 901.

Read more about Maine divorce facts

Serving the Documents

The plaintiff must give the defendant copies of the divorce papers, including one copy of the Complaint, one copy of the Summons and Preliminary Injunction, one copy of the Child Support Affidavit, two copies of the Acknowledgment of Receipt of Summons and Complaint (after completion of the caption), and a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Service of process can be accomplished in one of three ways:

  • The papers can be mailed, which asks the spouse to agree to service.
  • The papers can be sent the papers by certified mail.
  • The papers can be delivered by a sheriff for fee.

The Acknowledgment of Receipt form asks the other spouse to sign it, showing he or she got the papers, and to return the form within 20 days.

Read more about Maine process service

Disclosing Financial Information

If the spouses disagree about spousal support or how to divide the marital estate, each must complete a financial disclosure form. The original is filed with the clerk and a copy is provided to the other spouse. This must be done by the date listed in the Scheduling Order. The other spouse must also file one of these forms and give the plaintiff a copy. If there is no dispute about personal property, real estate, spousal support or attorney's fees, the plaintiff files a Certificate in Lieu of Financial Statement. The original is filed with the clerk and a copy is sent to other spouse.

If either spouse owns real estate, he or she must provide the court with information about it in order to make sure that the title to the real estate will be clear after the divorce. The party, or parties, use the Certificate Regarding Real Estate (FM-056). He or she, or both, complete the form and return it to the court clerk before the court hearing.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Within two weeks after the filing, the Court notifies the spouse of a case management conference at the Court. The parties should read all of the papers from the Court, including Important Information Regarding Case Management Conference.

If it is an uncontested divorce, and both spouses agree on temporary arrangements for the children, such as where they will stay, visits with the other parent, and how they will be supported, they may complete and file a form called Certificate in Lieu of Case Management Conference. The court clerk provides this form, and both spouses must both sign the certificate. The parties may not have to go to the case management conference if they file the certificate before the conference date. The Court sends a notice in the mail if they do not need to go to the conference.

Finalizing the Divorce

The divorce hearing cannot take place until at least 60 days from the date that the defendant - the spouse that has to respond to the initial divorce paperwork - is served with a summons and complaint for divorce. After that, the speed of the action through the courts depends upon whether or not the spouses agree on the issues, or whether they battle it out in a full-blown divorce trial.

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