Legal Information: Maine


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November 28, 2023

Can a final order be changed?

If a parent wants to change a final parental rights and responsibilities order, s/he can petition the court for a modification hearing.1 To get an order changed, the parent needs to show the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued and that changing the order would be in the child’s best interests.2

According to Maine law, the following would automatically qualify as a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to bring the case back to court:

  1. if a court finds that domestic violence has occurred since the primary residence was last determined;
  2. if there is shared or allocated parental rights and responsibilities and:
    • one parent intends to relocate or has relocated out of state but the non-relocating parent lives in Maine;
    • one parent intends to relocate or has relocated within Maine and it will “disrupt the parent-child contact” between the child and the parent who is not relocating. Note: The judge will assume that any move greater than 60 miles from the relocating parent’s home or from the non-relocating parent’s home will disrupt the parent-child contact but it’s possible that a move of a lesser distances can also be determined to “disrupt the parent-child contact”; or
  3. if a parent receives a notice of the intended relocation of his/her child from the other parent.3

1 M.R.S. 19-A § 1657(1)
2 See M.R.S. 19-A §§ 1657(1); 1653(3); see also Neudek v. Neudek, 2011 ME 66, 21 A.3d 88
3 M.R.S. 19-A § 1657(3)

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