According to the Maine Revised statutes, both parents of a child are considered the natural guardians of a child, responsible for the care and custody of the child. Generally speaking, child custody works the same for unmarried women as it does for divorcing couples, in Maine.
Types of Custody
Courts in Maine will award either sole or joint custody. Sole custody implies one parent will have legal and physical custody of a child while in a joint custody arrangement, both parents will share legal and/or physical custody of the child. When parents share legal custody, they handle medical and educational decisions for the child together.
Physical custody is where the child will live on a day-to-day basis. Courts in Maine prefers a joint custody arrangement, as joint custody is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. An unmarried woman should ask the court for sole custody, if she is not comfortable sharing custody with the child's father.
Best Interests of the Child
In Maine, unmarried women, facing a custody battle should focus on the best interests of the child since courts in Maine focus on the child's best interests. In determining a child's best interests, a court will consider motivation of the parties involved in the custody dispute and the parents' ability to give love, guidance and affection to the child, the stability of the child's current living arrangements, the child's relationship with his parents and the child's age. An unmarried woman in Maine should focus on emphasizing the strong relationship she has with her child, in court.
If an unmarried woman was in a relationship with her child's father that involved violence, a court in Maine will take that factor into consideration. The court will not necessarily deny custody to a child's father if there was a history of domestic violence, but the courts may order supervised visitation or offer a neutral place of exchange for visitation purposes.
An unmarried woman who has custody of a child may relocate to another state if she provides the other parent with at least 30 days notice of the move. If there was domestic violence in the relationship between the unmarried woman and the child's father, the unmarried woman should notify the court about the move, instead of the child's father.