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Maine

SUMMARY
This law establishes the policy that parents should be awarded shared
parental rights and responsibilities unless the court finds that the
joint responsibility would not be in the child's best interest. The
court must provide that the parents equally share the responsibility for
providing their child's residential care, unless the court makes a
finding that the equal sharing is not in the child's best interest. The
parents may agree to a sharing of parental rights and responsibilities,
including the provision of residential care, which the court must accept
or provide written reasons why the agreement is not in the child's best
interest.
Became Law in 2002
1653. Parental rights and responsibilities

    1. Legislative findings and purpose. The Legislature makes the following findings concerning relationships among family members in determining what is in the best interest of children.


C. The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy. [2001, c. 329, §1 (new).]
[2001, c. 329, §1 (amd).]


    2. Parental rights and responsibilities; order. This subsection governs parental rights and responsibilities and court orders for parental rights and responsibilities.

A. When the parents have agreed to an award of shared parental rights and responsibilities or so agree in open court, the court shall make that award unless there is substantial evidence that it should not be ordered. The court shall state in its decision the reasons for not ordering a shared parental rights and responsibilities award agreed to by the parents. [1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (new); Pt. E, §2 (aff).]




    4. Equal consideration of parents. The court may not apply a preference for one parent over the other in determining parental rights and responsibilities because of the parent's gender or the child's age or gender. [1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (new); Pt. E, §2 (aff).]



    14. Notice of relocation. The order must require notice of the intended relocation of a child by a parent awarded shared parental rights and responsibilities or allocated parental rights and responsibilities. At least 30 days before the intended relocation of a child by a parent, the parent shall provide notice to the other parent of the intended relocation. If the relocation must occur in fewer than 30 days, the parent who is relocating shall provide notice as soon as possible to the other parent. If the parent who is relocating believes notifying the other parent will cause danger to the relocating parent or the child, the relocating parent shall notify the court of the intended relocation, and the court shall provide appropriate notice to the other parent in a manner determined to provide safety to the relocating parent and child. [1997, c. 403, §1 (new); §4 (aff).]

1501. Definitions

    As used in this Part, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings. [1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (new); Pt. E, §2 (aff).]

    1. Allocated parental rights and responsibilities. "Allocated parental rights and responsibilities" means that responsibilities for the various aspects of a child's welfare are divided between the parents, with the parent allocated a particular responsibility having the right to control that aspect of the child's welfare. Responsibilities may be divided exclusively or proportionately. Aspects of a child's welfare for which responsibility may be divided include primary physical residence, parent-child contact, support, education, medical and dental care, religious upbringing, travel boundaries and expenses and any other aspect of parental rights and responsibilities. A parent allocated responsibility for a certain aspect of a child's welfare may be required to inform the other parent of major changes in that aspect. [1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (new); Pt. E, §2 (aff).]


    5. Shared parental rights and responsibilities. "Shared parental rights and responsibilities" means that most or all aspects of a child's welfare remain the joint responsibility and right of both parents, so that both parents retain equal parental rights and responsibilities, and both parents confer and make joint decisions regarding the child's welfare. Matters pertaining to the child's welfare include, but are not limited to, education, religious upbringing, medical, dental and mental health care, travel arrangements, child care arrangements and residence. Parents who share parental rights and responsibilities shall keep one another informed of any major changes affecting the child's welfare and shall consult in advance to the extent practicable on decisions related to the child's welfare. [1997, c. 187, §1 (amd); §5 (aff).]




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