Family dissolution is a difficult ordeal for everyone involved: the parties, their lawyers, and the court. After all, these are not parties engaged in an arm’s length dealing, or strangers involved in an accident. On the contrary, the parties are generally intimately involved and often share property and children. Spouses frequently struggle to agree on even the most trivial of property divisions, with the ownership of a simple rocking chair a potential issue for appeal. As contentious as such property division disputes can be, disputes between divorcing parents regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities are particularly bitter. Most parents recognize, at least in the abstract, what the Maine Legislature demands: children do best when allowed to benefit from the affection and support of both parents. Nonetheless, each parent generally wants to spend as much time with his or her child as possible, and any time gained comes at the expense of the other parent.

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