Maine Divorce Custody
Maine divorce custody laws are much similar to the child custody laws as found across the states of USA. Maine divorce custody issues are first advised to be settled “out of the court”, so that the parents arrive at an agreement which suits their child and have a more child-friendly custody mediation. In many cases, if the parents are unable to do so, then Maine courts have certain guidelines to consider while deciding to whom the custody of the child should be awarded. Following factors are considered while awarding custody of the child in divorce custody battles in Maine:
- Courts in Maine do not consider the gender of the parent while ruling for divorce custody cases. The parent who meets the needs of the child is preferred during custody. The best interests of the child are given the top most priority.
- The age of the child is a critical issue while awarding child custody. In Maine, if the child is an infant and is being breast-fed by the mother, the physical custody of the child is automatically awarded to the child.
- While handling Maine divorce custody cases, the actual wishes of the parents, their priorities and interests are assessed by the courts.
- If the child is considered mature enough and has special reasons for parental preferences, then Maine courts are found to show an interest in hearing out the child’s opinions. Parent-child bonding and the preference of the child to get emotional succor are some of the things that judges try to analyze while determining child custody issues.
- Joint custody is awarded if the judge is convinced that both the parent would be cooperating with each other for child care, respect the visitation rights of the other parent and does not willfully try to alienate the child from the other parent.
- The parent who can provide a stable community and can offer continuity in terms of a “home unit” is preferred while awarding physical custody of the child. Joint custody is often considered if the geographical proximity of the parents is such that visiting to the child and keeping up the visitation schedule is pragmatic. Though the physical custody of the child may be awarded to the parent who has been the primary caretaker of the child, yet the legal decisions are to be taken jointly by the parents in matters concerning health of the child, his/her education, religion etc.
- Maine courts handling divorce custody cases ensure that the police records regarding domestic brutality or physical abuse or domestic violence against the child or in the family (against the spouse etc) are verified while ruling for custody cases. The guilty parent is not awarded the custody of the child and may not even be given visitation rights!
- The parent who has been involved child abuse or child neglect or is an alcoholic, drug addict etc also does not get the custody of the child. He/she may not be even given visitation rights if it is found to be detrimental to the child’s safety and welfare.
- Courts ensure that child support is extended to the child till he/she turns 18 years of age or has married before that or has joined the US Armed Forces. Child support is calculated by pooling in the income resources of the parents and a proportion of that amount is fixed to be the child support.