Maine family courts will not discriminate against a parent based on the parent's gender or the child's gender. In Maine, when parents request joint custody, the court will agree to this arrangement unless the court decides joint custody is not in the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Maine should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with Maine child custody laws.
Best Interests of the Child
A court in Maine will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. The court uses the following factors to determine a child's best interests:
- The child's age
- The child's relationship with his/her parents
- The child's preference, if the child is of a sufficient age and intelligence (generally over age 12)
- The child's adjustment to his/her current home, school, and community
- Each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
- The stability of the child's current living arrangements
- Motivation of all involved parties
- History of child abuse
- History of domestic violence
Joint Custody in Maine
A family court in Maine will award either sole custody or joint custody. An award of joint custody in Maine will include provisions such as:
- Which parent will have primary physical custody and which parent is entitled to visitation, and
- Specific times when the child will live with both parents
Domestic Violence in Court Proceedings and Child Custody in Maine
A family court in Maine will only grant primary custody to a person accused of domestic violence if the court deems the custody agreement to be in the best interests of the child. If a court in Maine orders custody or visitation to a parent accused of domestic violence, the court may also order the following:
- Supervised visitation
- Drop off at a neutral place of exchange
- The perpetrator to pay a fee to assist with the costs of providing supervised visitation
- The victim of domestic violence to attend counseling with the parent who committed the violence
- No overnight child/parent contact
Relocation and Child Custody in Maine
A relocating parent in Maine should provide the other parent with at least 30 days notice of a potential move, or as soon as reasonably possible. If a parent fears danger from the other parent when informed about the relocation, the relocating parent should inform a Maine family court as soon as reasonably possible.
For more information about child custody in Maine, please speak with an attorney in Maine or refer to the Maine Domestic Relations statute.