Families & Children

The Family Division of the Maine Judicial Branch handles a variety of cases involving families and children. Family matters cases are heard in the District Court. Click on the pages below for more information on specific topics.

Court Process in a Family Matters Case

The general procedural steps in family matters cases, from information gathering to final judgment.



Overview of divorce in Maine and related issues.

Parental Rights & Responsibilities Cases

For unmarried parents who are seeking court help to determine their parental rights and responsibilities, including parent-child contact, paternity and parentage, and child support.


Ways to Become a Parent

Overview of the ways an individual may become, or be recognized as a legal parent by a court under the Maine Parentage Act, and related information.


Information for Unmarried Partners

General information on issues facing unmarried partners who no longer live together.


Changing or Enforcing a Final Order in a Family Matters Case

Information on filing a Motion to Modify, Motion to Enforce, or Motion for Contempt. How to register a foreign divorce or other out-of-state family-matters order in Maine.


Child Protection Cases

A summary of the court process to address allegations of child abuse or neglect.


Guardians ad Litem

Guardians ad litem (GALs) are appointed by the court in child protection and some famliy matters cases to help the court determine the best interest of the child.


Overview of the process for asking a court to grant an order of emancipation of a 16 or 17 year old.


Juvenile Cases


Grandparent Visitation

Summary of the process for asking a court for an order of grandparent visitation.


Abuse & Harassment (Protection Orders)

How to file a Protection from Abuse or Protection from Harassment case.


Statewide Resources for Families & Children

Quick links to selected health and human services, tribal resources, parent education programs, and more.


Contact Us

Caroline Jova, Esq., FamilyDivision Manager - (207) 822-3211
Jodi Kimball, Administrative Assistant - (207) 213-2865
Kaela Jalbert, Esq., Coordinator, Guardian Ad Litem Services - (207) 213-2862
Darren Defoe, Esq., CASA Legal Services Advisor - (207) 213-2864 
Erin Swanson, Esq., CASA Legal Services Advisor - (207) 213-2863
Joanna Davis, Esq., Family and Civil Process Specialist - (207) 822-3210
Betsy Boardman, Esq., CIP / Juvenile Case Process Specialist - (207) 822-3215


Many family cases include an opportunity for mediation. Learn more about preparing for mediation in a family case.

Family matters cases are handled by a judge or a family law magistrate without a jury. A magistrate is a judicial officer who has some of the powers of a judge. A magistrate handles only cases involving minor children. Magistrates may conduct case management conferences, preside over some types of hearings, and issue orders related to the case.

See the Family Law Magistrates page for more information. Further information on the powers of a family law magistrate may be found in this section of the Maine Revised Statutes.

Who to Contact

If you have a question regarding a current family matters case, contact the clerk’s office for the court handling the case. See Find a Court to locate your court. Court clerks can answer questions about process, status, and scheduling, but cannot tell you what to put in court forms or give legal advice.

If you have a general family matters process question or a question related to a GAL or Maine CASA GAL, contact the Family Division above.