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Instructions to File For Divorce in Maine Without Children Form

In order to be able to file for divorce in the State of Maine that doesn’t have minor children involved, use the following instructions.


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DIVORCE WITHOUT CHILDREN:  What to do with these Court Forms  If  you  are  doing  your  own  divorce,  please  read  this.  It  will  help  you  to  know  what  to  do  with  these  court forms.  Here are a few tips for filling out the forms:  • Always use full legal names, not nicknames. • Type  or  print  neatly.    If  you  have  access  to  the Internet,  you  may  be  able  to  fill  out  the  forms on-line at • You  will  file  each  form  with  the  Court.    Before you  do  that,  make  at  least  two  copies  of  your completed  forms--one  for  yourself  and  one  for your  spouse.    You  will  need  to  find  a  place  to make  copies  (like  a  library).    The  court  clerk cannot make copies for you.  STEP ONE: Fill Out the Forms  COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE  The section  at  the  top  of  the  form  is  called  the "caption."    Fill  in  the  location  of  the  District  Court (for  example:  "Bangor").    The  clerk  will  fill  in  the Docket Number later.  You are the Plaintiff and your spouse  is  the  Defendant.    Write  your  full  legal  name in  the  blank  before  "Plaintiff."    Write  your  spouse's full name in the blank before "Defendant."  If you or your  spouse  owns  a  house  or  other  real  estate  or land,  check  the  box  next  to  "Title  to  Real  Estate Involved."  You should check this box even if title to real  estate  is  only  in  one  party’s  name.  Fill  in  the other  blanks  on  the  form.    Near  the  end,  where  it says  "Plaintiff  Requests…,"  check  all  the  boxes  that apply.    (If  you're  not  sure,  check  the  box;  you  can drop that request later.)    FAMILY MATTER SUMMONS AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION  You  must  use  the  original  summons  you  received from  the  clerk.    It  has  the  clerk's  original  signature and  seal.  You  cannot  use  a  photocopy  or  on-line version of this form.   Fill  out  the  "caption"  as  you  did  on  the  Complaint.  Fill  in  the  name  and  address  of  the  court.    Date  and sign  the  form.    Leave  the  spaces  on  the  second  page empty.  SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER DISCLOSURE FORM  You  are  required  by  both  State  and  Federal  law  to provide  your  social  security  number.  This information  is  collected  on the  Social  Security Number Disclosure form.  After filing, this form will be placed in a confidential envelope in the court file.  STEP TWO: Serve the Forms  Now  you  must  provide  copies  to  your  spouse.    This is  called  "serving" the  court  papers.    Court  rules  say you  can  do  this  in  one  of  three  ways:    (1)  You  can give  or  mail  the  papers  asking  your  spouse  to  agree to "service", and  if your spouse agrees to  this  type of service,  your  spouse  will  sign  the  Acknowledgment of  Receipt  form; (2) you  can  send  the  papers  by certified  mail;  (3)  you  can  pay  a  sheriff  to  give  the copies to your spouse.  Service by Acknowledgment   Mail  or  hand-deliver  all  of  these  papers  to  your spouse:  • Copy of Complaint • Copy of Summons and Preliminary Injunction • Two  copies  of  Acknowledgment  of  Receipt  of Summons  and  Complaint  (after  you  have  filled in the "caption" on both copies) • Stamped, self-addressed envelope  The  Acknowledgment  of  Receipt  form  must  be signed  by  your  spouse  acknowledging  that  he/she received  the  papers,  and  must  be  returned  to  you within 20 days.  If  you  receive  the  signed  Acknowledgment  back within 20 days, go on to Step 3.  If not, then you will need  to  serve  the  papers  by  one  of  the  other  two ways.  Service by Certified Mail  Take these papers to the post office: • Copy of Complaint • Copy of Summons and Preliminary Injunction  Tell the postal clerk that you want to send the papers by  certified  mail.    Make  sure  you  ask  for  a  “Return Receipt” and  “Restricted Delivery.”   This costs  more and  involves  a  few  extra  steps.  The  certified  mail forms  are  available  at  your  post  office.    File  the green  card  that  you  get  back  from  the  post  office with the court clerk to prove that your spouse got the papers.  If  you  do  not  receive  the  green  card  confirming receipt  of  the  mailing  by  your  spouse,  you  will  need to have the Sheriff serve your spouse.  Service by Sheriff  Mail or take to your county sheriff's office: • Copy of Complaint • The  original  Summons  and  Preliminary Injunction, plus one copy  In  a  letter, or  in  person,  ask  the  sheriff’s  office  to serve the papers on your spouse.  Give your spouse's home address and/or work address.  The deputy who "serves"  the  papers  will  complete  page  two  of  the Summons and return the original to you.  The Sheriff charges for this service.  STEP THREE: File the forms  FAMILY MATTER SUMMARY SHEET  Fill  out the Family  Matter  Summary  Sheet.    The clerk  will  not  accept  your  papers  for  filing  without this form.

After  serving  your  spouse,  hand  deliver  or  mail  the following  original  paperwork  to  the  court  clerk’s office:  • Summary Sheet • SSN Disclosure Form • Complaint • Summons  (with  deputy's  signature  if  you  used sheriff's service) • Acknowledgment  of  Receipt  (if  you  used service by mail) • Green card (if you used certified mail service)  The  Court  charges  a  fee  to  file  your  papers.    Later you  may  be  charged  a  mediation  fee  (shared  by  the parties).  Check with the court clerk for the exact fee amounts. If you cannot afford the court fees, you can ask  the  clerk  for  an  Application  to  Proceed Without Payment  of  Fees  and  Indigency  Affidavit.    Fill  out these  forms,  and  sign  them  in  front  of  a  Notary Public.  Then file the forms with the clerk along with your  other  papers.    A  judge  will  review  your financial information and decide whether you qualify for a “fee waiver.”  If the waiver is denied, you must pay  the  filing  fee  within  7  days.    If  the  waiver  is granted,  you  won't  have  to  pay  some  or  all  of  the court fees.  Financial  Statement:   You  must  file  a  Financial Statement  if  you  and  your  spouse disagree  about how  to  divide  your  property,  about  spousal  support (alimony),  or  about  attorney’s  fees.    This  form  is included  in  the  packet.   After  you  have  filled  it  out, file  the  original  with  the  clerk  and  send  a  copy  to your  spouse.  You  must  do  this  by the  date  listed  in the  Scheduling  Order  (See  Step  Four).  Your  spouse must  also  file  one  of  these  forms  and  give  you  a copy.  Certificate  in  Lieu  of  Financial  Statement:    If there  is  no  dispute  about  personal  property,  real estate, spousal support or attorney’s fees, you should file  the  Certificate  in  Lieu  of  Financial  Statement.  This  form  is  included  in  the  packet.    After  you  have filled it out, file the original with the clerk and send a copy to your spouse.  Real Estate:  If you or your spouse owns real estate, you must provide the court with information  about it in  order  to  make  sure  that  the  title  to  the  real  estate will  be  clear  after  the  divorce.    Use  the  Certificate Regarding  Real  Estate  (FM-056)  that  is  in  this packet.  Fill it out and give the completed form to the court clerk before your court hearing.   STEP FOUR: Schedule   After  your  spouse  files  an  answer,  response  or  entry of  appearance,  the  Court  will  issue  a  Scheduling Order  that  sets  deadlines  for  filing  documents  and completing other pre-trial matters. You will receive a copy  of  this  order  in  the  mail.  Mediation  will  be scheduled  and  you  will  be  required  to  pay  a mediation  fee  or  file  a  request  for  waiver  of  this  fee. A  Trial  Management  Conference  will  be  scheduled after the mediation date. (See Steps Five and Six).  If  your  spouse  does  not  file  an  answer,  response  or entry  of  appearance,  the  clerk  will  schedule  your case for an uncontested hearing. (See Step Six, (B).)  If  you  and  your  spouse  come  to  an  agreement,  you can request that an uncontested hearing be scheduled by sending a letter of request to the clerk.    STEP FIVE: Mediation  If  you  and  your  spouse  do  not  agree  on  all  issues, your next step  is  mediation.   You will be required  to pay  a  mediation  fee  and  it  is  generally  split  between you  and  your  spouse.  If  you  cannot  afford  the  fee, you may file  a request to waive  this fee. The form  is available from the court clerk.  At  the  mediation,  a  trained  mediator  will  try  to  help the  two  of  you  understand  where  you  agree  and where  you  disagree.    You  must  mediate  in  good faith.  This  means  that  you  must  attend  and  make  an honest  effort  to  resolve  your  disagreements.  If  there are  still  unresolved  issues  after  the  mediation,  you may  agree  to  a  second  mediation  or  go  to  a  court hearing. STEP  SIX:  Pre-trial  Conference  and  Court Hearing  (A) If you and your spouse do not come to an agreement  at  mediation,  you  will  need  to  have  a Trial  Management/Pretrial  Conference  to  determine how much time the court will need to hear your case.  (B) If your spouse  did  not  file  a  response  to  your complaint,  or  you  came  to  an  agreement  at mediation,  your  case  can  be  scheduled  for  an "uncontested  hearing."    The  hearing  must  be  at  least 60  days  after  your  spouse  was  served  with  the divorce  complaint.    You  must  fill  out  a  Federal Affidavit form and file it with the clerk.  This form is included  in  this  packet.  The  judge  will  not  hear  your case  until  this  affidavit  is  filed.    You  must  sign  this affidavit in front of a Notary Public.  (C) Once your case has been scheduled for a hearing, be  prepared  to  testify  and  present  evidence  to support  your  positions.    After  hearing  your  case,  the judge will decide the terms of your divorce.  HELPFUL RESOURCES  Video. Most  courts  have  a  video  explaining  the court  process  and  your  rights  and  responsibilities. If  you  would  like  to  view  this  video,  please contact the clerk.  Mediation. A mediator may be able to help you and  the  other  party  reach  an  agreement  on  issues relating  to  your  case.  The  court  has  a  video explaining  what  mediation is.    Mediation  can  be arranged through the court or a private mediator.  For more information about these resources, speak with  the  court  clerk  or  visit  the  Maine  Judicial Branch website at:      FM-081, Rev. 1/10 pg. 2
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