The Easiest Way to Get a Divorce in Maine

by Beverly Bird

The ease of divorce is directly related to how often you involve the court in the proceedings. The less you do so, the faster and simpler the process will typically be. This is no different in Maine, although the state does impose a 60-day waiting period. If you use this time to nail down a settlement agreement with your spouse, you can be divorced almost immediately after the waiting period elapses.

The Complaint for Divorce

Maine's divorce process begins with the filing of a complaint. You can pick up a form at your local district court or go to the website for the Maine State Bar Association. Maine's no-fault grounds is irreconcilable differences. When you complete your complaint and if you cite irreconcilable differences as the reason you want a divorce, you can avoid the possibility that your spouse will contest your grounds and force a trial in which you'd have to prove that your spouse's behavior was the cause of divorce.

Service of Process

If your spouse is willing to accept a copy of your complaint from you, you can skip the sometimes time-consuming process of having him served with the paperwork. He must sign an acknowledgment that he received your papers, and you can then file the acknowledgment with the court. If he won't accept service from you, you can try sending the paperwork to him by certified mail, but this also requires that he sign the receipt. If he won't do this, you'll have to ask the sheriff to hand-deliver copies to him.

Parenting Issues

You can bypass a few steps in the divorce process if you and your spouse do not have children, or if you can agree on issues regarding your children. Within a couple of weeks after you file your complaint and serve your spouse with a copy, the court will schedule your divorce for a case-management conference. A magistrate will meet with you and try to work out a temporary parenting plan to address custody and visitation while your divorce is pending. If you can reach an agreement on your own before the scheduled conference date, you can file a Certificate in Lieu of Case Management Conference with the court. It's possible that the judge might waive attendance, particularly if other aspects of your divorce are already resolved. Otherwise, if you can come up with a permanent parenting plan at the management conference, you can potentially avoid a status conference later in the proceedings and an interim hearing, as well.

Financial Issues

You can also avoid unnecessary court appearances and other steps if you and your spouse reach an agreement regarding economic issues. Maine requires that both spouses file financial statements early on in the divorce proceedings. However, if you've resolved all issues of property, debts and support, you can file a Certificate in Lieu of Financial Statement and be done with this requirement. If issues of your children are also resolved, or if you don't have children, you can request a court date for an uncontested hearing instead. Otherwise, you'll most likely have to attend the case management conference, even if you've resolved parenting issues. The magistrate is authorized to help you reach a settlement agreement. If you're successful, the magistrate can restructure the rest of your divorce proceedings so you can avoid any further appearances. If you're not successful, you'll have to attend mediation, and if you still can't reach an agreement, you'll face a divorce trial -- which is definitely not the easiest way to end your marriage.