An Overview of Legal Separation in Maine

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Legal separation in Maine is also known as Judgment of Separate Maintenance or Judicial Separation. The statute of Maine defines legal separation as a legal action regarding the responsibilities of marital issues when the couple is legally separated but remains legally married.

Maine is a state which recognizes the provision and documentation for legal separation and it is issued by the family court. The procedure is same as divorce process but in the end the couple is still legally married and cannot remarry. Only their status changes from married to legally separated.

The residency requirement for filing for legal separation in Maine is 6 months before the date of filing. At least one spouse must have resided in the state for 6 months. In Maine, legal separation is the process which begins just like a divorce process by filing the petition. After the petition is filed, the court encourages the couple to reach a settlement agreement regarding the childcare issues, property division and other issues pertaining to marriage.

Separation Agreement in Maine:

A separation agreement in Maine is a settlement agreement, which a couple formulates mutually by making decisions regarding the marital issues, which need to be sorted out once the couple decides to separate.

The couple is supposed to make arrangements for child custody, parental rights such as visitation, support payments, property division such as the custody of family home, vacation home, any other real estate or other assets that may be acquired by the couple during their marriage.

In cases where the couple cannot reach a mutual settlement, the court can issue Temporary Separation Orders regarding these marital issues.

Even after judgment of separate maintenance is granted, the option of reconciliation is open and the couple has to dismiss the judgment after they reconcile. In the state of Maine, separation is not a pre-requisite for divorce. It can be considered as a trial separation and a time to cool one's head off before taking the big decision of filing for divorce.

Grounds for Legal Separation in Maine:

The process of legal separation in Maine being similar to the divorce process in Maine, the grounds are similar to divorce. These grounds are as follows:

  • Adultery A partner can file for legal separation if the other partner has committed adultery. It comprises of extra-marital affairs, romantic liaisons, one-night stands or flings. It can be a firm ground for legal separation. Adultery is a legal offense and the person can be punished by law for committing it.
  • Incarceration If a person has been incarcerated in a mental asylum on the basis of permanent or temporary insanity, the partner can file for legal separation on the grounds of the same. One can argue that the incarcerated person is unable to provide for his / her family and thus legal separation be granted.
  • Imprisonment If a person is convicted of the charges of felony and imprisoned for the same, the partner can ask for legal separation on these grounds. The person imprisoned for more than two years really cannot provide the appropriate environment for a normal family. Thus, one can cite this as a ground for legal separation.
  • Desertion Willful desertion or abandonment for more than two years can be a ground for legal separation in the state of Maine. If the partner has deserted the family home and is known to be staying somewhere else, the other partner can file for legal separation on the same grounds.
  • Physical or Sexual Abuse If a person is suffering from physical or sexual abuse through the hands of his or her spouse, they are entitled to file for legal separation. This includes hitting, bashing, threatening, accusing, denying sexual relations, sadomasochism, etc. No person should suffer from the hands of the partner and they can get legal separation on the same basis.
  • Living Separate and Apart If the couple has been living separate and apart mutually for more than two years without indulging in sexual relations, they can get an annulment on these grounds. They have to give a statement to the court that they are staying apart and want legal separation.
  • Habitual Drug and Alcohol Abuse Substance abuse is the reason why most of the marriages end up either in divorce or any form of separation. The partner can get a legal separation if they prove that their partner habitually abuses substances such as drugs, alcohol or other medications.
Thus, legal separation in Maine is a court order which is granted on specific grounds as defined by the statute of Maine. After the separation is granted, the couple stays married and cannot remarry until and unless they get a divorce. One has to file the petition in the local county courthouse and then the court directs the petitioner to proceed.

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