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Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis

Port City Legal, LLC
  • Appeals & Appellate, Divorce, Estate Planning...
  • Maine
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Summary

I graduated with honors from The University of Maine School of Law. My practice focuses primarily on three areas: Family Law, Estate Planning, and Appeals. I set up Port City Legal with the idea that a small law firm effectively serving the regular legal needs of regular people with intelligence ~and~ compassion could do very nicely here in Portland, ME. Six years later, the idea has proved true. Along the way, I have enjoyed many successes both in and out of the courtroom. My client reviews have been excellent. I've won five of the seven appeals I've handled before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Most importantly, I've repaid the faith my clients have placed in me with solid results. I hope you'll consider contacting me when you need help with a family matter or estate planning.

Practice Areas
  • Appeals & Appellate
  • Divorce
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • Probate
Fees
  • Free Consultation
    In-person or on the phone, up to 30 minutes or so.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    I accept Visa, MC, and Amex
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Current billing rate is $300 per hour, and a retainer is required.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Maine
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Professional Experience
Owner
Port City Legal, LLC
- Current
Education
University of Maine - School of Law
J.D.
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Honors: Cum Laude
Activities: Class Graduation Speaker
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Fordham University
B.A. | History, Political Science
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Professional Associations
Maine State Bar Association
Member
- Current
Activities: Board of Directors, New Lawyers Section
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Websites & Blogs
Website
Website
Legal Answers
12 Questions Answered

Q. My dog bit my wife when I had my children and the Mom is refusing my visitation because of it. What can I do?
A: As always, if you have court-ordered rights to visitation and your co-parent is getting in the way of that happening, you can simply take her back to court on a motion to enforce or a motion for contempt. If this is a persistent thing, or part of a larger co-parenting problem, you may wish to consider getting a new order by way of a motion to modify. That said, it sounds like your children's mom is pretty freaked out by an incident that directly involves your children's environment. I think working with her and your current wife to develop a plan to not let the kids be in danger of a dog bite makes sense. This is a learning moment for all involved, eh? Even the puppy! Best of luck. - Joe
Q. What should you do when you know that your ex has lied/omitted financial information on a child support affidavit ?
A: Hi there. The only financial information on the child support affidavit that always matters is gross income. The definition of gross income is a hotly litigated issue in a lot of child support cases. The relevant statute can be found here: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/19-A/title19-Asec2001.html (subsection 5) Other financial information can also come into play in a child support case because Maine law allows for a deviation from guideline child support based on the financial circumstances of the parties generally. So, if one party has a lot of money in the bank, or has valuable property and so forth, that information can influence the amount of support ordered. The problem that I am guessing you are facing is that your ex doesn't have to agree to any of this. If he doesn't agree, then you have one of two options: You can suck it up and just deal with what he is willing to give you, or you can take him to court. If you go to court, you (or your lawyer) can press him on financial information through a process called Discovery. Based on your question, it sounds quite possible that a judge will order him to pay more than he is otherwise willing to pay by agreement. You should absolutely contact a lawyer and see how much better you can do if you assert your rights. There is no reason to just "take it" when your children's father wants to stiff you for child support. Best of luck to you. - Joe
Q. My wife and I have an amicable agreement regarding marital property and money. Do we still have to fill out form 43?
A: Not necessarily. There is a form on the court's website called "Certificate in Lieu of Financial Statement" that enables you both to tell the court that there is no need to fill out the FM-043 form because you agree on all the financial issues. Congratulations on getting this done amicably! - Joe
Q. What are my options if I'm taken to court for back child support after 11 years
A: Hi there. Tough situation, of course, but there is good news and bad news for you. The good news is that the courts will only look back over the past six years, not the full 11. The other good news is that many payments you made to her toward support of your second child (clothing, education, medical bills, etc.) can be credited as back support that was actually paid. More good news is that you won't have to pay it all at once. Finally, the court has a lot of discretion as far as what award it makes. You can make a case for a break of some sort based on financial circumstances or by agreement of the parties. (This is where a good lawyer comes in!) The bad news is that the law provides the court authority to determine a balance due for the last six years, and you are not going to be able to make it just go away based on arguments like "she waited too long" or "I had the kid with me a lot." Your goal now is to manage the award based on the numbers. Best of luck to you!
Q. My husband and I just moved from NC to Maine. We have lived in Maine two weeks. Where do I file for legal separation?
A: Actually, there is no 6-month minimum for a judicial separation as there is with divorce. The only requirement other than being married is that you plan on living apart or have already lived apart for 60 consecutive days. The other differences between divorce and legal separation are pretty nuanced. You should ask a family lawyer directly! If you want to straight-up get divorced, you will have better luck with NC, but even that might not really work if you both now live here in ME.
Q. Grandfather died,left everything to my deceased father. My cousin wants me to sign a non-compete form. Why?
A: You totally have something to do with it ... if you want to inherit the crappy home trailer and anything else that might be in your grandfather's estate. Based strictly on what you are sharing here for information, it seems like you (and any of your siblings) are in line to inherit your father's share of the estate. There is no such thing as a non-compete form in Maine probate law, so I don't know what that's all about. I do believe, however, that your cousin and your grandfather's ex-partner are interested in keeping you from getting anything which is an excellent clue that there is something to get. You should absolutely consult a lawyer directly to dig a little deeper. You can also research stuff like this at maineprobate.net. Best of luck! - Joe
Q. what do I need to do to change custody from shared to sole when the other parent has agreed to sign off in Maine?
A: Hello. Assuming that the shared custody order was a Maine order, you and your child's father should be able to file a stipulated motion to modify that order to reflect your desired change to sole parental rights and responsibilities. It is important to provide the court with a draft order for signature that indicates that no hearing is necessary because the two of you agree. The issue of what to do about child support will need to be addressed as well. If asked, the court will almost certainly accept a downward deviation from the child support guidelines, but you need to offer a good legal explanation for the deviation that finds root in the statutes. Getting all this done from out of state is certainly possible, but you would also be well-served to contact a lawyer local to Maine for assistance in getting it done right. Best of luck to you!
Q. My 16 year old daughter hates my rules and wants to live with her dad. Will I have to pay him child support now
A: The only way to modify a child support obligation is via a motion to modify child support. Even if your daughter is living with her father, his court order remains in place, and the obligation will be enforceable.
Q. I need to file a Motion to Enforce and Motion to Modify. Can I do this at the same time in Maine?
A: Yes, you can!
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Contact & Map
Port City Legal
10 Moulton Street
4th Floor
Portland, ME 04101
USA
Telephone: (207) 210-6559