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Child Custody


The term "child custody" is no longer used under Maine law; rather, it is addressed in terms of "parental rights and responsibilities," and more specifically, "primary physical residence" and "parent-child contact." The term "parent-child contact" is used instead of "visitation." But regardless of the terminology, these can be some of the most contentious areas of a divorce, and it is important that you have the right lawyer on your side to support you through this process and advocate for you and your child(ren).

In some cases, the parents may have shared primary residence of the child(ren) and "substantially equal care," resulting in a 50/50 schedule or something close to it. But in other cases, one parent may be allocated primary residence, and the other parent will have a schedule of parent-child contact.

These determinations are based, first, on the safety and well-being of the child(ren). Next, the court considers the "best interest of the child" 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • A parent's prior willful misuse of the protection-from-abuse (PFA) process in order to gain tactical advantage in a parental rights proceeding;
  • If the child is under one year of age, whether the child is breast-fed;
  • The existence of a conviction for a sex offense or a sexually violent offense; and
  • Whether allocation of some or all parental rights and responsibilities would best support the child(ren)'s safety and well-being. 

Parental rights and responsibilities can be modified after a divorce becomes final, based on a substantial change in circumstances.  

Contact a Maine Divorce Lawyer Today

At the Law Offices of Dylan Boyd, our lawyers know how much your child(ren) mean to you and will work hard to protect your parental rights. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more. 

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We are committed to answering your questions about Criminal Defense & OUI, Family Law & Divorce, Wills & Planning, and Mediation issues in Maine. We will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.