Over the years, Attorney Orso specializes in the following practice areas:
Family law is the law governing all litigation matters involving families. These cases include divorce, legal separation, paternity actions, parental rights actions, child support collection matters, and guardianships. These cases occur exclusively in one of the three District Courts in York County (York, Biddeford or Springvale) or the York County Probate Court in Alfred, Maine. There are procedural and substantive nuances to each type of matter. For example, divorce in Maine has a 60-day waiting period from the time of service of the divorce complaint before the parties can get divorced.
Divorce with Minor Children
Divorces with minor children (18 years old and still in high school or younger) are governed by the Family Rules and the Family Court. The Family Court is still held in one of the three District Courts, although it has a more detailed process than divorces without minor children. Mediation is required prior to a final hearing if child-related issues remain. The Family Court was set up to assist the parties and give them as many opportunities throughout the process to resolve their disputes short of a final contested hearing.
Divorce Without Children
Divorces without minor children involve a less regimented process than divorced with minor children. Mediation is strongly encouraged for these matters, even though there are not minor children involved. These matters take place in the same District Courts as divorces with minor children, although they are typically shorter in duration.
Legal Separation is an infrequently used process in the State of Maine, primarily for two reasons. First, the process for resolution of the matter is essentially identical to that of divorce, except at the end of the matter, the parties will be legally separated as opposed to divorced. The second reason this is in frequently used is that the parties will still have to get divorced if either of them ever want to remarry.
These types of actions are for parties who have minor children, but have never been married. The Court will first deal with the issue of paternity and then move the matter through the Family Court, similar to a divorce with minor children. With very few exceptions, these types of cases deal only with child-related issues and will not address separate property issues the parties might have even though they are not married.
Child Support issues will be part of any matter involving minor children, whether a divorce, or paternity/parental rights matter. The identification and collection of child support may also be a matter unto itself. This type of matter will frequently have the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) involved in it. DHHS assists in the collection of child support for matters involving state aid and for instances where the party receiving child support desires to have it collected by the State of Maine. Child support is based upon both parents’ income, and the costs of day care, health insurance for the minor child, and any extraordinary medical expenses for the minor child.