The decision to get a divorce is not one most people reach easily. You have probably gone through a great deal of stress already, and ideally you would like to move forward with your Maine divorce quickly. Fortunately, the divorce process in Maine can be straightforward and relatively easy, especially if you meet the requirements for an uncontested divorce – one where you and your spouse agree on all the important factors like property division and what will happen with your children (if you have children). In this instance, you may be able to file your divorce without an attorney. If you meet this criteria, you simply need to fill out the required divorce papers for Maine and submit it to your county clerk to start the process. CompleteCase.com can make the uncontested divorce process even easier online by helping you to choose the right forms for your situation and ensuring that those forms are completed accurately.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement about some issues, divorce mediation may be a good option. For more complicated divorce situations, it may be a good idea to seek a divorce lawyer’s services.
The following information is here to help you understand the basics of divorce in Maine, and how you can begin moving forward with your own divorce.
Data supplied by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), indicates that Maine’s 2011 divorce rate was 4.2 for every 1,000 residents. This divorce rate places Maine in the middle of statistics for divorce in the United States. The divorce rate in Maine has remained fairly constant over the past 20 years.
Maine allows both fault-based and no-fault divorce. In a fault based divorce, you must prove that your spouse was responsible for the end of the marriage on grounds that are accepted by the state. Some grounds for divorce in Maine include adultery and excessive cruelty. In a no-fault divorce, you simply need to state that there are “irreconcilable differences” and that the marriage is no longer working. Many people in Maine choose no-fault divorce because it is usually faster and less expensive than a fault-based divorce.
Maine has residency requirements for those divorcing in the state. If your situation meets one of the following requirements, you can file:
You must have lived in the state for six months.
You are a resident and you were married to your spouse in Maine.
You are a resident and the reasons for your divorce occurred in the state.
Your spouse is a resident of the state.
The specific divorce papers you complete will depend on your individual circumstances, which is why it always a good idea to check with your local county clerk before you start filling out forms. However, there are a few forms that are standard in the Maine. These include the “Complaint for Divorce”, the “Family Matter Summons” and the “Social Security Number Disclosure”. Avoid signing your forms until you are in front of a notary. Most Maine county courts will provide a notary service, but you will want to check before you arrive.
The State of Maine Judicial Branch website has a section devoted to divorce, where you can read about divorce in the state and find the forms to start your divorce. The site offers a section for divorce without children and divorce with children. When you are reading through all of the information and possible forms offered on the state website, understand that it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed. Unless you have legal training there is a good chance you will find some of the language and divorce forms unfamiliar. For many people, it is easier to get their divorce papers for Maine online from CompleteCase.com. Our online divorce paper preparation service will direct you to choose the correct forms and help you to complete them correctly, the first time. This option will provide you with much-needed peace of mind in an otherwise stressful experience.
Once you have completed all of Maine’s required divorce paperwork, it is time to take your forms down to your local county clerk. In addition to the originals, you’ll need a copy for your records and one to serve to your spouse. It never hurts to call ahead before you head to the county courthouse, to verify that you have all your divorce forms, and that you have an accepted method of payment to pay the state filing fee.
When you have filed your paperwork and paid your fee, the clerk will stamp your documents and give you further instructions.
To complete the divorce filing process, you will need to “serve” the papers to your spouse. Serving the papers just means giving stamped copies to your spouse so that he or she has a chance to respond in court.
Maine allows you to serve your divorce papers in several ways. If you and your spouse are on good terms, you can bring copies of the papers to your soon-to-be former spouse directly. He or she will need to sign the “Acknowledgment of Receipt” form, which you will file with the clerk. If you do not want to deliver the papers yourself, you can hire a sheriff’s deputy to do it for you. The deputy will charge a fee. When the forms have been served, the deputy will complete the second page of the Summons and give it to you, which you can then file. You can also serve the forms through certified mail where your spouse will have to sign to acknowledge receipt of the papers. When you get the receipt of delivery from the post office, you can file it with the court.
What happens after everything is filed will depend on your situation. If you and your spouse are in agreement on everything, the process can go fairly quickly. If you have to work things out through divorce mediation or trial, it will take longer.