Filing for a divorce in Maine is complicated…and mistakes can be costly.
Having a firm grasp on the ‘rules of the road’ will save you time and money.
With that in mind, we put together this guide covering the important things that you absolutely need to know.
- What Information Should I Gather and Prepare for Divorce in Maine?
- What are my divorce process options?
- What are the Necessary Forms to Prepare for a Maine Divorce?
- How Do I File My Forms for a Divorce in Maine?
- How do I serve my spouse with divorce papers?
- What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce in Maine?
- FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Maine
What Information Should I Gather and Prepare for Divorce in Maine?
If you want the best possible outcome for your divorce, you need to be prepared and organized for what’s to come.
Much of this involves gathering a lot of documents and evidence you’ll need to make your best case. Being able to access it easily will save you time and aggravation in the long run.
It may be smart to gather as much information as possible before you even discuss divorce with your spouse. This protects you from the possibility that a spouse will be uncooperative or will hide critical documents and information you’ll need.
What are my divorce process options?
You have options to decide how you’ll move forward with your divorce in Maine. Much of this is driven by whether or not you have outstanding issues to be resolved, and what your level of cooperation is with your spouse.
What are the Necessary Forms to Prepare for a Maine Divorce?
As the plaintiff, you will need to file the following forms to start your divorce in Maine.
To file for divorce in a marriage with no children:
- FM-002, Confidential Family Matter Sheet, which identifies the parties and the type of action.
- FM-005, Complaint for Divorce (no minor children), which lists the ground for the action and the type of relief sought
- CV-038, a Family Matter Summons and Preliminary Injunction, which must be obtained in person from the clerk at the time of the filing. This informs the Defendant that the action has begun, enjoins him or her from dissipating marital assets, and gives him or her 20 days to file an Answer.
- CV-036, Acknowledgement of Receipt of Summons and Complaint or Post-Judgment Motion, which acknowledges the Defendant’s receipt of service and establishes that he or she will participate in the case.
- FM-052, Federal Affidavit, which attests to the fact that the Defendant is not in the military and protected by the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, and which must be filed if he or she fails to file an answer or enter an appearance.
- FM-043, Financial Statement, which is completed by both parties and details the finances of each. This form is used when the spouses disagree about the division and distribution of the marital estate or alimony.
If either party owns real estate, the spouses must complete a CV-056, Certificate Regarding Real Estate, so that the title to the land will be clear after the divorce.
To file for divorce in a marriage with children, a plaintiff must also file:
- FM-004, Complaint for Divorce (with children);
- FM-040, Child Support Worksheet, which shows the calculations by which child support is determined.
- FM-050, Child Support Affidavit, which stipulates the terms and conditions of child support.
How Do I File My Forms for a Divorce in Maine?
After your forms are complete, you will file them with the clerk in the county courthouse where you or your spouse live. If your spouse lives out of state, talk to the court about the procedures you’ll need to follow.
How Do I Serve My Spouse with Divorce Papers?
A defendant can be served in one of three ways:
- By Mail. The defendant will sign the Acknowledgement of Receipt of Summons and Complaint within 20 days and returns it to the Plaintiff.
If this does not prove successful, then the plaintiff can complete proof of service by:
- Certified Mail, Return Receipt, Restricted Delivery.
- By Sheriff. Once served, the sheriff will complete the second page of the Summons and certify Proof of Service.
When a defendant can’t be located or will not accept Service of Process, the plaintiff may serve him or her by publication.
To do this, the Plaintiff must prepare:
- A CV-072, Motion for Service by Publication and Affidavit, (which describes the Plaintiff’s effort to locate the missing spouse).
- A CV-144, Order for Service by Publication (signed by the judge and permits the Plaintiff to advertise the legal action in a newspaper).
- A cover letter to the newspaper selected to publish the notice of the action.
- A CV-73, Verification, completed by the newspaper attesting to the publication.
Publication must begin within 20 days of the date of the order. The notice is published once a week for three consecutive weeks. The verification of publication is returned to the plaintiff and the defendant has 21 days to answer the notice. If there is no answer, a hearing is held after 60 days to seek a default decree.
What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce in Maine?
As you file paperwork with the court, you must complete proof of service by having the paperwork legally served on your spouse. You can accomplish this by mailing the papers through regular mail or using certified mail or a sheriff to serve the action. If these measures don’t work, you can use service by publication.
Your spouse will then have 20 days to file an answer with the court. If they don’t comply, you can seek a default judgment.
There is a 60-day waiting period in Maine. After that, if your divorce is not contested, a judge may sign your final paperwork and you will be divorced. If not, you may need to go through mediation or litigation to complete your case.
In some cases, when you can’t reach agreement after a period of time, you may have to go to trial to resolve your issues. The judge will listen to testimony and review evidence, and then decide issues on your behalf.
FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Maine
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Maine?
The filing fee in Maine is $120. You may have an additional fee of $25-$50 if you need to complete proof of service using a sheriff.
Can divorce fees be waived?
In some cases, if you can prove you are indigent, your fees will be waived. To seek a waiver, file a Form CV-067, Application to Proceed Without Payment of Fees, and a CR-032, Indigency Affidavit.
Can I file for divorce online?
No. You must file your paperwork in person at your county courthouse.
However, you can start your paperwork using an online service.
Our favorite resource for a fast and effective online divorce is: 3 Step Divorce.
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They aim to make it easy – and they certainly deliver.
From step-by-step instructions to unlimited live support, here are just a few of the reasons why 3 Step is our #1 recommended online divorce resource:
- $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
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- Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
- Library of free tools and resources
- Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
- Immediate access to completed forms
- Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)
3 Step Divorce also boasts the highest customer rating in the industry (4.6 stars based on 1,575 reviews).
You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.
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Can I file for divorce without a lawyer?
Yes. You do not need an attorney in Maine to handle your divorce case. Many people go this route when filing an uncontested divorce.
What are the residency requirements for getting a divorce in Maine?
Either you or your spouse must have lived in Maine for six months immediately preceding when you file for divorce.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Maine? What is the timeline?
After you file paperwork, there is a minimum 60 day waiting period before your case can be heard by the court. It often takes longer due to case backlogs and availability of judges.
Contested divorces take much longer, perhaps several months or up to two years, depending on the level of animosity and complexity of your issues.
Can I file for divorce in Maine while I am pregnant?
You can file for divorce in Maine while you’re pregnant, but most judges will not allow a divorce to be finalized until after the baby is born. This makes it easier to handle issues such as child support, custody and visitation.
In some cases, paternity will need to be established before clear rulings can take place. This may require genetic testing or other similar means to clarify parenthood.
If I’m in the military, how does that affect filing for divorce?
An active duty spouse must be personally served with divorce paperwork for a Maine court to have jurisdiction over the service member. In an uncontested case, the active duty spouse can sign a waiver affidavit acknowledging the divorce action instead.
A spouse or the military member must either live in Maine or be stationed in Maine for state jurisdiction to preside over the divorce.
The grounds for a military divorce are the same as they are for civilian divorces.
Also, pursuant to the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) of 1982, active-duty members are afforded certain protections.
For example, a military spouse can request a delay in divorce proceedings so that his or her military duties are not impacted. Legal action can be delayed when he or she is on active duty plus 60 days beyond the end of his or her enlistment.
The USFSPA also governs how military pensions are disbursed and whether or not a former military spouse has full medical and commissary privileges.
Pursuant to USFSPA, the federal government will not divide any of the military member’s retirement to the spouse unless they have been married 10 years or longer while the member has been active duty military.
Also, child and alimony support payments can’t exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. Otherwise, normal child support guidelines are used.
Looking for more great tips about divorce? Check out some of our most popular resources:
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- 29 Warning Signs That Your Marriage is in Trouble
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