Regardless of the reasons, going through a divorce is never easy, but when children get involved, a difficult and emotional divorce can become a heated conflict. Fortunately, by being open to negotiating with your to-be ex, and understanding the Maine laws related to getting a divorce with children, you can create a smoother process that’s easier on you as well as your children.
Furthermore, by getting an experienced divorce attorney located right here in Portland, you can ensure comprehensive legal oversight, counsel, and representation throughout every step of the divorce or mediation processes. For a consultation with attorney Schultz, call our Portland ME law firm today at (207) 210-6555.
Child Custody and Child Support in Maine
When minor children are involved in a divorce, the Maine courts try to minimize the emotional trauma as much as possible, and for this reason, the courts encourage parents to mutually draw up reasonable and lawful child custody and support arrangements. If parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding these issues, the courts may establish custody and support orders at its discretion.
It’s important to remember the fundamental idea underlying the court’s decision: making a decision in the best interests of the child. This is standard in Maine courts, and the courts place safety and well-being above all else. Other factors Maine courts consider include, but are not limited to:
- The age of the child
- The parent’s relationship with the child, and others who may affect the child’s welfare
- The child’s preference, if old enough to understand this decision
- The duration and adequacy of the child’s living arrangements, and the desirability of continuity
- The motivation of the parties and their individual ability to provide love, affection, and guidance
- The capacity of each parent to encourage frequent and continual contact with the other parent
- The amount of adjustment a separation would case regarding home, school, and community
5 Steps for Getting a Divorce With Children in Maine
Step 1: The first step in the divorce process is to fill out a Complaint for Divorce. Like a divorce process for spouses without children, you will also need to complete a Family Matters Summon and Preliminary Injection as well as a Social Security Number Disclosure Form. Because you have children, you also need to fill out a Child Support Affidavit.
Step 2: The next step is to “serve” copies of these forms to your ex, which is exactly as it sounds. There are three basic ways to serve the documents, including mail or hand delivery, certified mail, or service by sheriff.
Step 3: Within 20 days of your spouse receiving the forms, you need to hand deliver or mail the summary sheet, complaint, child support affidavit, summons, acknowledgment of receipt (for service by mail), or green card (for service by certified mail). File these forms with the relevant court and pay the associated fees. There may be addition fees for mediation.
Step 4: Two weeks after completing Step 3, the courts will contact you regarding the date and time for a case management conference. Temporary agreements for children will likely be discussed at this conference.
Step 5: The last step is mediation, which is a special type of conflict resolution where a trained mediator facilitates negotiation on major issues, including and especially custody and support arrangements. If there are still unresolved issues after mediation, the parents may receive a second mediation or a court hearing.
Contact the Schultz Law Firm Today
These five steps represent a very basic timeline of the divorce process in Maine for parents with children. Depending on your unique circumstances, the scope of your assets and/or debts, the complexity of child support and custody arrangments, and more, the divorce can take anywhere from 60 days to many months.
To learn more about how to get divorced in Maine, contact Schultz Family Law in Portland at (207) 210-6555.