Maine Divorce Laws

The decision to file for divorce is not one you come to lightly. Yet, there are times when it is the inevitable outcome for a marriage. When you realize that you have come to that point, take the time to learn more about the laws affecting divorce in Maine.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds?

In order to file for divorce in Maine, one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for a period of six months. This time period is waived if the filer is a resident of the state and the marriage occurred in the state.

Maine allows for no fault divorce. The parties simply need to claim irreconcilable differences for this. Otherwise the grounds for divorce are as follows:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for 3 years
  • Impotence
  • Habits of intoxication from liquor or drugs
  • Deliberate refusal to support a spouse
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Mental illness requiring confinement for 7 years

Those who are in the military and are stationed in Maine may meet the residency requirements to file in the state if they are residents for the six month period. However, they will need to follow military family law when filing, so it might be beneficial for them to use an attorney who is familiar with this type of law.

Division of Property

If the parties in the divorce are unable to come to a settlement about the distribution of property, it will be divided in an equitable fashion. This does not mean what is fair, but what is equal. Factors the courts look at when making this determination may include:

  • Contributions that each party made to acquisition of the property, including the support of the homemaker
  • Value of the property each party has
  • Economic circumstances the parties face
  • Desire to award family home to the parent who retains custody of the children

Marital property is property acquired during the marriage with a few exceptions. These exceptions include:

  • Property offered as a gift, bequest, descent, or devise
  • Property that is acquired by exchanging property received prior to the marriage
  • Property acquired after a legal separation
  • Property excluded by an agreement between the parties
  • Increase in value of property that was acquired prior to the marriage

Child Custody

When determining child custody arrangements in Maryland, the courts will look at what is in the best interests of the child. To determine this, courts consider the following factors:

  • Child’s age
  • Relationship of the child and the parents and other important individuals
  • Child’s preferences
  • Duration and adequacy of the current living arrangements for the child
  • Stability of the proposed living arrangements
  • The desire and ability of each parent to allow frequent contact between the child and the other parent
  • Parent’s prior misuse of the protection from abuse process
  • Whether or not an infant is being breast fed
  • Adjustment to school, home, and community
  • Ability of each parent to give love, affection, and guidance
  • How well the parents can cooperate and resolve disputes
  • Effect of granting sole custody on the child’s upbringing
  • Any domestic or child abuse
  • Any other factors that have a role to play in the psychological and physical well being of the child


Some cases will include provisions for spousal support. When determining whether this is necessary, the courts will consider:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Ability of the parties to pay
  • Age of each individual
  • Employment history and potential of each individual
  • Income history and potential of each individual
  • Education and training of each individual
  • Provisions for retirement and health insurance for each spouse
  • Contributions of the homemaker
  • Health and disabilities of each party
  • Tax consequences of the division of property
  • Contributions of the parties to the earning potential of the other party
  • Economic misconduct that diminished the marital property or income
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Ability of the parties to become self-supporting
  • Any other factors the courts choose to consider

Child support amounts are determined based on the Income Shares Model. This divides the support amount proportionate to the children’s incomes. The courts may consider debts, educational expenses, the reason for the separation, and other financial considerations when determining these amounts.