Divorcing spouses may file a complaint for divorce in the Maine Superior Court or in the Maine District Court. If you file in Superior Court, it should be in the county where either you or your spouse live. If you file in the District Court, it should be in the judicial district where either you or your spouse live.
Either spouse may file for divorce in Maine if at least one of the following is true:
These requirements, known as the "residency" or "jurisdictional requirements" for a divorce in Maine, can be found in the Maine statutes at 19-A M.R.S.A. § 901.
The proof that you will need depends on the grounds for divorce. Maine recognizes several grounds for divorce (set forth in 19-A M.R.S.A. § 902), but the most common is the "no-fault" ground of "irreconcilable differences." This is just a fancy way of saying the couple can't get along anymore, and it requires testimony that the marriage is broken beyond repair. This can be done through testimony of the parties.
A divorce hearing cannot take place until at least 60 days from the date that the "defendant" (the spouse that has to respond to the initial divorce paperwork) is served with a summons and complaint for divorce. After that, the speed at which you get divorced depends upon whether or not you and your spouse have agreed on all of the issues in your case, or whether you will require a full-blown divorce trial.
In addition to dissolving the bonds of matrimony, a divorce court may address any of the following issues:
You always have the right to represent yourself in court. However, this may not be in your best interest. Family law can be rather complex, and if you miss some technical requirement or are unfamiliar with the law, you may unknowingly give up important rights. The legal costs of trying to straighten out mistakes in a divorce, may amount to well more than what you think you saved by representing yourself.
If you are unsure of your rights under the law or if any of the issues in your divorce are contested, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area for help.