Legal Information: Maine


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November 10, 2017

How will the judge decide on a parental rights and responsibilities arrangement?

The judge will issue a parental rights and responsibilities order that s/he think is in the child’s best interest. The judge will consider many factors when making this decision:

  • The child’s age;
  • How strong the child’s relationship is with each parent;
  • The child’s wishes (if the child is old enough to make an informed decision);
  • The motivation of the parties involved and their abilities to give the child love, affection and guidance;
  • The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community;
  • Which parent is more likely to make sure that the child has frequent meaningful contact with the other parent;
  • Both parent’s ability to cooperate with each other and resolve disputes on issues related to their child;
  • 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;
  • If a parent has misused the protection from abuse order process to gain an advantage in the parental rights and responsibilities process;
  • If the child is under one year of age, whether the child is being breast-fed;
  • If a parent or someone the parent is living with (such as a new spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend) is a convicted sex offender.1

1 M.R.S.A 19-A § 1653(3)