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Maine Child Custody and Support Guidelines


Maine Child Custody and Support Guidelines:

The court may not apply a preference for one parent over the other in determining parental rights and responsibilities because of the parent's gender or the child's age or gender. When the parents have agreed to an award of shared parental rights and responsibilities or so agree in open court, the court shall make that award unless there is substantial evidence that it should not be ordered.

The court shall state in its decision the reasons for not ordering a shared parental rights and responsibilities award agreed to by the parents. The court, in making an award of parental rights and responsibilities with respect to a child, shall apply the standard of the best interest of the child. In making decisions regarding the child's residence and parent-child contact, the court shall consider as primary the safety and well-being of the child. In applying this standard, the court shall consider the following factors:

  • The age of the child.

  • The relationship of the child with the child's parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child's welfare.

  • The preference of the child, if old enough to express a meaningful preference.

  • The duration and adequacy of the child's current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

  • The stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child.

  • The motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child love, affection and guidance.

  • The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community.

  • The capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent, including physical access.

  • The capacity of each parent to cooperate or to learn to cooperate in child care.

  • Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent's willingness to use those methods.

  • The effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing.

  • The existence of domestic abuse between the parents, in the past or currently, and how that abuse affects the child emotionally, and the safety of the child.

  • The existence of any history of child abuse by a parent.

  • All other factors having a reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child.

[Based on Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19-A - Section 1653]

Child Support:

Either parent of a minor child shall contribute reasonable and just sums as child support payable weekly, monthly or quarterly. After the court or hearing officer determines the annual gross income of both parties, the 2 incomes must be added together to provide a combined annual gross income and applied to the child support table to determine the basic support entitlement for each child.

Termination of support: A court order requiring the payment of child support remains in force as to each child until the order is altered by the court or until that child:

  • Attains 18 years of age. For orders issued after January 1, 1990, if the child attains 18 years of age while attending secondary school as defined in Title 20-A, section 1, the order remains in force until the child graduates, withdraws or is expelled from secondary school or attains 19 years of age, whichever occurs first.

  • Becomes married.

  • Becomes a member of the armed services.

The court may require the payment of part or all of the medical expenses, hospital expenses and other health care expenses of the child. The court order must include a provision requiring at least one parent to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for medical, hospitalization and dental expenses, if reasonable cost health insurance is available to that parent. [Based on Maine Revised Statutes - Title 19-A - Sections 1653 and 2006]

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