How To: Navigate Your Divorce or Parental Rights Case in Maine

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Printable Word Version of this Guide

This guide is here to help you through the Maine Court's family law process. We hope that this will help you feel more confident about dealing with the legal system.

Is this guide for you?

You may use this guide if:

  • You are married
  • You have children, and
  • You want to get a divorce


  • You are not married
  • You have children, and
  • You want to separate or establish "Parental Rights and Responsibilities"

If you are married, but you don't have children together, this is not the guide for you. Read our guide How To: Get a divorce in Maine (without children) for more information

How to use this guide

We've set up this guide to reflect the most common path divorce and parental rights and responsibilities cases take. The numbered steps are in the order you will need to complete them.

More complicated cases will have other steps, such as an interim hearing or a pre-trial conference. If one of these comes up in your court case, visit these steps in the guide for more information. Since these steps are less common, they are listed below the numbered steps. You can visit this information whenever you need it.

How this guide works:

  • We've created this guide so you can walk through a legal process step-by-step. The most common steps are in order and numbered. We've also included information about other, less common, things that might come up during your case. These steps are at the end of the list, and you can visit them any time, if you need them.
  • To navigate between sections of the guide, you can either click on the name of the step you want to visit or use the "next" and "previous" buttons on each page.

Introductory videos

You may want to start by watching our video, and a new video from the Maine Judicial Branch. They will give you a quick overview of the process. Then move on to the more detailed information below. 


How to File for Divorce or Parental Rights and Responsibilities (Custody) from Maine Judicial Branch on Vimeo.

Parenting challenges during divorce and separation

We also offer an important guide to effective parenting during a separation - to help your kids cope and to avoid putting them in the middle. This "Families Change" Guide also includes sections for teens and younger children, to help them deal with their difficult feelings during their parents' separation.


Updated August, 2023
PTLA #321