Divorce and Separation: Where Can I Get Help?
If you need some support while you are going through a divorce, here is a partial list of services that may be of help to you. They are listed under three headings: "legal," "other" (including resources for domestic violence, counseling and support, and parenting help) and "financial." Check the topic headings to find resources in your geographic area.
|Pine Tree Legal Assistance||Penquis Law Project|
|Volunteer Lawyer's Project||Courthouse Assistance Projects|
|Maine Lawyer Referral & Information Service||Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic|
|Domestic Violence||Counseling and Support Services|
|Parenting Help and Education||Drop Off and Pick Up Centers|
If you are low income, Pine Tree may be able to help you with other legal problems, such as:
- you apply for government benefits but are turned down
- you are being evicted from public housing
- you have problems with MaineCare
- you need a protection from abuse order
Volunteer Lawyer's Project
If you meet income limits, the Volunteer Lawyers Project can give you free legal advice and written information. They may also refer you to a private lawyer who may handle your case for free. If you are doing your own divorce or parental rights case, they have a Helpline and Courthouse Assistance Projects. Through these programs, a lawyer can help you fill out your court forms and answer your questions.
Maine Lawyer Referral and Information Service
For a $30 fee, the Maine Lawyer Referral and Information Service can refer you to a lawyer in your area for a one half hour consultation or review of your paperwork. This service is approved and supported by the Maine State Bar Association. If the consultation goes over the half hour, or if you decide to hire the lawyer, you will need to negotiate fees and payment arrangements.
Penquis Law Project
The Penquis Law Project gives legal help to people with low and moderate incomes in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox Counties in cases involving domestic relations, including divorce, protection from abuse, child support and visitation. Priority is given to clients who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Services are free. One-time appointments are available for income-eligible clients who need help with court forms or have questions about family law matters.
Courthouse Assistance Projects
A volunteer may be able to help you fill out court forms, calculate child support, and answer questions. These projects are run by different organizations—some with strict income cap rules and others with more flexible income guidelines. Check to see if there is a help project in your area.
Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic
The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic is run by the University of Maine School of Law. Students represent low income people in civil cases, including contested divorces, in Cumberland, York, Southern Androscoggin, and Western Sagadahoc counties.
Toll Free: 1-877-780-2522
The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is a group of organizations set up to work together to end domestic abuse. It helps to coordinate the work of the local domestic violence projects.
If you need help, or just someone to talk to, contact the agency serving your county. Many of these projects also have a lawyer on staff, who may be able to help you with legal issues.
If you are a Native American, the following agencies can also help you:
Wabanaki Health and Wellness can make referrals.
Pleasant Point: Peaceful Relations or call the Tribal Police at 853-2551 (1-888-853-2613 Toll Free 24 Hour Hotline)
Indian Township: Indian Township Health Center call 796-2321 (M-F 7:30-4)
Houlton Band of Maliseets: 532-6401 (24 hours)
Aroostook Band of Micmacs: (ask for Tania Morey) 764-1972
Penobscot Indian Nation: (ask for Clarice Chavaree) 817-7491 Hotline # 631-4886
Counseling and Support Services
Get quick 24-hour access to health and human services information and resources. Toll Free Telephone: 2-1-1
Toll Free from outside of Maine: (877) 463-6207
211 Home Page
Search 2-1-1 for services online
Maine State Crisis Hotline
If you are stressed out and need help, the Maine State Crisis Hotline offers support and referrals to agencies in your area.
Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community (formerly Displaced Homemakers)
If you are going through major life changes, the Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community can give you support and assistance. The Maine Centers offer workshops and courses in employability, career/life planning, job searches, self-esteem, assertiveness, personal resource management, and self-employment. Call the number below to be referred to the program nearest you.
Toll Free: 1-800-442-2092
Women Unlimited is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to improving the economic well-being of Maine women by placing and training them in non-traditional occupations in trade and transportation fields. Women Unlimited's job-placement service (JobBank) is available for women seeking entry-level or skilled positions.
Toll Free: 1-800-281-5259
Catholic Charities Maine
Catholic Charities Maine offers such services as day care resources, pregnancy counseling and testing, substance abuse counseling, children's youth services, dental clinics, and services for the visually and hearing impaired, among others. Not all services are offered in all locations. Call the number below to be referred to the program nearest you.
Toll Free: 1-800-781-8550
Youth Alternatives Ingraham
Opportunities Alliance / Youth Alternatives Ingraham offers programs to help people deal with suicide, crisis, homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse
Toll Free: 1-877-429-6884
Cumberland County Crisis Response: 774-HELP or Toll Free: 1-888-568-1112 (Voice or TDD) 24 Hours
Parenting Help and Education
Mainely Parents, Inc.
If you are having trouble coping with your child or your child's situation, Mainely Parents offers parent support groups and parent education courses. The groups include a trained volunteer facilitator, a parent leader and other parents.
Kids First Center offers a variety of services to the community. The Center offers a number of different programs dealing with issues of divorce and separation for parents and children in various locations throughout the State. It helps people register for its programs and makes referrals to lawyers and therapists outside the Center. The Center also offers a library with books about issues of divorce and separation for parrents, children, and the professionals who work with them.
Call the Portland number listed below for information regarding programs in Portland, Topsham and Biddeford. For general information, write or call:
|Kids First Center|
|222 St. John Street, Suite 101|
|Portland, ME 04102-3054|
These organizations also offer the Kids First Program:
Southern Maine Medical Center
One Medical Center Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005
Toll Free: 1-866-543-7347
Woodside Elementary School
42 Barrows Drive
Topsham, ME 04086
Toll Free: 1-866-543-7347
Children's Task Force
113 Church Street
Farmington, ME 04938
The Kids First Program is also offered in the following locations. Please call local numbers for current dates and registration information.
Augusta, Waterville, Skowhegan: 859-1514
Belfast: 338-2200 ext 109
Lubec-Machias: 773-1090 x3114
The following organizations offer similar programs:
P.O. Box 505
Rockland, ME 04841
Bangor And Ellsworth:
For Kids Sake
P.O. Box 2367
Bangor, ME 04402-2367
CTC of Aroostook
454 Houlton Road
Easton, ME 04740
Drop Off and Pick Up Centers
Home to Home provides a safe place for separated or divorced parents of mid-coast Maine to exchange their children for visitations. A specific time is set up for the exchange. For more information about peaceful exchanges at Home to Home, please contact your lawyer or the Maine Sixth District Court:
West Bath: 442-0200
Home-to-Home Telephone: 837-4894
Advocates for Children
Based in Lewiston, AFC providesinteractive playgroups, educational activities and programs for children, information and referral to community services, and educational workshops on a variety of parenting topics such as child development and discipline strategies, raising responsible teens, fatherhood, divorce, social skills, self-esteem, nurturing, and attachment.
Safe Family Exchange (SAFE) provides a safe place for separated or divorced parents in Hancock County to peacefully exchange their children for court ordered visitations.Exchanges take place in neutral settings located in Ellsworth and Bar Harbor.
Family Access Program provides services designed to help family members have access to one another on a consistent basis, in a neutral and safe setting, and with qualified staff providing close supervision. The program also provides a service that transfers children from one parent to another, in a conflict-free atmosphere.
If you need financial help during or after your divorce or separation, you should know about the these programs.
Go here for tax tips. Apply for all the credits you qualify for and get your tax return prepared for free. The Earned Income Tax Credit was worth up to $5,666 in tax year 2010 and goes up every year. That's money in your pocket!
Both renters and homeowners can qualify for a property tax or rent refund. You can file each year between August 1st and the following May 31st. To get an application, call 624-7894. That number operates 24 hours a day. For information, call 626-8475, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The TTY number is 888-577-6690. Or, you can write to Maine Revenue Services, P.O. Box 1060, Augusta, ME 04332-1060. Go to online application and more information .
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
If your household qualifies, you can get a monthly check. TANF has a work/training requirement, the ASPIRE program. This requirement is waived for some people who get TANF. To apply for TANF, contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office nearest you. If you want to go to college while you are getting aid, ask DHHS about the Parents as Scholars (or PaS) program. If you are denied or told you cannot apply, call Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
An increasing number of children and their parents are eligible for MaineCare health coverage. Many children who are not financially eligible for TANF or food stamps can get MaineCare. If you qualify, MaineCare is free, although some families may have to pay a small premium. To apply, contact the DHHS office nearest you.
If you are pregnant, have had a baby within the last six months, are breastfeeding a baby under 12 months old, or have a child or foster child under age 5, the W.I.C. Program can help you buy certain types of food. Call the Toll Free number below to be referred to the Program nearest you.
Toll Free: 1-800-437-9300 TTY: 1-800-438-5514
This program is run by DHHS for low income households with children under the age of 21 who are threatened by destitution or homelessness because of emergency situations. DHHS can help pay a security deposit or back rent if that will prevent an eviction or if your present home is unsafe and you need to move. The program can also pay a bill to prevent a utility shut-off. You can get benefits from this program during a 30 day period one time per year. To apply, contact your area DHHS office.
Get more information
Alternative Aid Assistance is a program to help eligible parents who need short term help to find or maintain employment. Voucher payments equal to up to three months worth of TANF benefits. This program can help a family once every 12 months, to help them avoid the need for ongoing TANF benefits. To apply, contact your area DHHS office.
Get more information
General Assistance is a welfare program run by every city and town. You can use General Assistance vouchers to pay for rent, food, utilities, medicine or clothing. If your income is too low to pay for your basic necessities, General Assistance may help you. To qualify, you may have to show that your income for the past 30 days was spent on basic necessities. If you are able to work, you may be required to do a work search or "workfare." If you do not know how to apply, or have questions about how your town or city is handling your application, call DHHS Toll Free at 1-800-442-6003. The local number is 287-2826. The TTY number is 1-800-606-0215.
Learn more details about how this program works.
If you are low on money, food or clothing, call your local Salvation Army office. The Divisional Headquarters are located in Portland at 297 Cumberland Avenue, PO Box 3647, Portland, ME 04104. Telephone: 774-4172.
CAP agencies offer a number of programs which may help you. They include: health services and referrals, job training, day care, housing information and referral, fuel assistance, insulation and furnace repairs, surplus food, and transportation.
August 2011; partially updated Feb. 2016