Family Legal Services
Assistance in Difficult Times

Family Legal Services

Protecting Your Interests With Hard Work and Compassion

No two family matters are exactly alike just as no two families are alike. We understand that family matters can be some of the most emotionally charged and trying experiences for any family. We will provide you with a dedicated and compassionate family attorney who will work to protect your best interests.

Whether you are contemplating a divorce, looking to modify child custody or child support orders or pursuing parental rights and responsibilities, we have the skills and expertise to handle these delicate situations. In addition to providing the utmost of professional legal services, we also make it our mission to remove as much of the worry and uncertainty from the process as we can. It is important that you hire an effective and caring attorney who will fight for the best outcomes for you and your family.

  • Dedicated Family Lawyers
    Alison B. Thompson
    Senior Counsel
    Family cases touch the core of our most fundamental relationships.

    I am dedicated to providing clients support through difficult situations while ensuring their long-term interests are protected.

    Read Alison's Full Profile

    The decision to end a marriage is not easy and often painful. Let our skilled team help you through this process.

    • Fault or No-Fault Divorce
    • Collaborative Divorce
    • Spousal Support and Property Division

    When a divorce involves children, the stakes are even higher. We help protect your and your child's futures.

    • Primary Residence/Custody
    • Co-Parenting
    • Motions to Modify Existing Orders

    If you are not married, it is even more important to establish concrete rights and responsibilities to protect your children.

    • Paternity
    • Visitation and Custody
    • Child Support
Senior Counsel
Alison Thompson joined the Hanly Law team in June of 2013, after graduating with high honors from the University of Maine School of Law, and gaining experience in the Cumberland County District Attorney's office. She focuses on family law, custody and divorce proceedings.

Alison strives to understand the unique challenges each of her clients face in times of adversity and takes a compassionate approach to her advocacy. Alison values and understands the importance of communication with her clients and endeavors to consistently be available to clients when questions arise.

    Legal Experience

    Alison graduated from the Maine School of Law in 2012 magna cum laude. She was a case note and comment editor on Maine Law Review and received the Pro Bono Public Service Award. She was also involved in the Women's Law Association and the Maine Association of Public Interest Law.

    Alison has gained criminal defense experience in the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office. She brings her experience working in prosecution to each of her cases, allowing her to effectively strategize based on the unique facts of each case and generate positive outcomes for her clients.

    Alison has also volunteered at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and at the Volunteer Lawyer's Project family law helpline since 2009. Throughout the years she has helped hundreds of indigent clients throughout Maine with their family law cases.


    B.S. University of New Hampshire-Durham, New Hampshire, summa cum laude.
    J.D. University of Maine School of Law-Portland, Maine, magna cum laude

    Admissions and Organizations

    American Bar Association
    Maine State Bar Association
    Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Domestic Violence Judicial Review Panel

    Community Involvement

    Volunteer Lawyer's Project-Since 2009
    Katahdin Council 2014-2016


    Family law cases involve emotionally-charged issues about the most intimate and personal aspects of your life. In addition, your divorce order will play a central role in your life for the foreseeable future. The order can result in property distribution, cash disbursements, modification of retirement benefits and spousal support. If you have children, your divorce order will also dicate the terms of child-support, child custody and visitation, and decision-making authority. It is important to work with an attorney you trust to sincerely care about your case and listen to the needs of your family.


    In Maine, there are both fault-based divorces and no-fault divorces, requiring only “irreconcilable differences.” Even uncontested divorces in Maine require a 60 day “waiting period” before the divorce can be finalized. In cases involving complex property issues or child custody issues, the divorce process often takes longer.


    Family law cases involving children go through a case management system in the courts. In these cases, the court is required by law to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. These decisions are guided by the "parental rights and responsibilities" statutes. It is important to have an attorney to advocate for your wishes, protect the best interests of your children, and effectively navigate the case management system for you.


    In a collaborative divorce, the parties agree to make every reasonable effort to settle their case without requiring court intervention. The goal is to settle all issues together. This approach is less acrimonious and can be much more efficient. A collaborative divorce attorney must respect your wish to proceed collaboratively by signing a contract that requires the parties to seek alternative counsel if the matter needs to be litigated. This allows your attorney to work for your best interests, but also incentivizes all parties to reach an agreeable resolution. When everyone respects the process and the final outcome, it results in less stress for the parties, less likelihood that the parties will return to court at a later time, and can help preserve whatever aspect of the relationship remains between the parties. If you are interested in a collaborative divorce we can facilitate the process while making sure your interests are still protected.

  • One of us is in the Military. How does this impact Our divorce?

    We understand and respect the unique challenges and benefits of military life. If you our your spouse is in the military than you need an attorney who understands base pay rates, Tricare health benefits, retirement benefits and a whole set of economic issues which are unique to military familes. Service members are also entitled to protection under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act. Make sure to choose an attorney familiar with military benefits, or you could face costly consequences in your divorce.


    If you have already had a final family court order but there are new circumstances that dramatically change the ability to comply with the order or the other party is not following that order, we can help you file a post-judgment matter. Post-judgment matters involve asking the court to either modify the order or enforce the original order.

    A motion to modify generally requires a “substantial change in circumstances.” Motions to enforce ask the court to enforce the original order, while motions for contempt ask the court to reprimand the other party for not following an order. Although your original order is final when entered, if the matter is re-opened all issues can be re-litigated. It is important to have a dedicated attorney working for you to preserve the elements of the order that you agree with, and modify those that need to be changed.

  • Can I petition for Parental Rights and Responsibilities if I am unmarried?

    The phrase "Parental Rights and Responsibilities" is used almost interchangeably with "custody" in Maine. Maine law outlines the rights and responsibilites required of all parents that are either unmarried, separated or divorced. If you are not subject to a divorce proceeding, you can still institute a parental rights and responsibilities action to establish an allocation of responsibilities between parents. Our attorneys are familiar with this process and can get you outcome you are looking for.

  • What does a Court Order in a Parental Rigths and Responsibilities ACtion?

    The Court can decide between allocated, shared, or sole parental rights and responsibilities. Allocated rights means that specific rights such as decisionmaking regarding education or medical decisions are assigned specifically to one parent. While the parent with the allocated rights can certainly communicate with the other parent, the final decision rests with the parent to whom that right was allocated. With shared parental rights, the parents are to make important decisions together. Neither parent's decision can trump the other's. Sometimes a Court will make this easier to navigate by providing for day-to-day or emergency decisions to be made by the parent with the child at the time the decision needs to be made, while requiring both parents to participate in longer term decisions. Finally, the Court can issue sole parental rights and responsibilities to one parent which means that one parent has all of the decisionmaking authority.

    The Court will also decide which parent has primary residential care which means which parent has primary physical custody of the child. The Court will determine what parent-child contact or visitation is required as to each parent, and the court will order child support.

  • How does an attorney Impact the Court's Decision?

    The Court determines parental rights and responsbilities based on "the best interests of the child." There is no specific formula for how this decision is made, but the Court is authorized to take a number of factors into consideration. Among the key considerations the Court will weight are the child's age, the relationship with each parent and the preference of the child. Additionally, they will consider the adequacy of the current arrangements, the motivations of each parent, how adjusted the child is to the current situation, and future visitation possibilities

    If you are looking to establish parental rights and responsibilites, it is important to have an attorney who will fight for a fair outcome. Although some of the factors cannot be changed, most factors can be expanded or improved upon to give you the best outcome. A knowledgable attorney will review these factors with you long before a trial and develop a plan to make sure you are meeting your child's needs in a way that will be positively received by the Court.

Protection from Abuse
  • I am a Victim of Abuse. What can I do?

    If you believe you are a victim of abuse, your safety becomes your first priority. Please contact law enforcement if you are in immediate danger. You are also entitled to file a request for protection in District Court. If you succesffuly file a request for protection, you will be entitled to immediate relief in the form of a no-contact order. A final judgment can provide a longer no-contact order as well as address property rights, custody rights over minor children and other issues related to ending an intimate relationship. Our office has handled both sides of these cases so we are uniquely qualified to help you craft a case.

  • I was served with a Protection Order. What should I do?

    First and foremost, it is important that you comply with the terms of the Order. These Orders usually include a blanket prohibition against contact with one or multiple people. If you violate that no-contact order you will be arrested and charged with a new crime. It is important to understand that only the Court can remove this provision. Even if you think you and the other party are reconciled, you must comply with the order until the Judge changes it.

    Secondly, it is important to appear at the Hearing. Even if you agree with idea of having no contact with a person, you need to protect your other rights. Protective Orders can also include property allocation; parental rights and responsibilities, child custody and child support orders; and monetary awards. It is important to have an attorney advocate for you so that these important interests are not impacted.

General FAQs
  • What should I expect during my free consultation?

    During your free consultation you will meet with one of our experienced attorneys. In order to get the most out of your consultation, we ask that you bring any relevant paperwork for us to review. We will discuss the general process for your type of case and what kind of timeline you can expect. We will discuss options for representation. We will answer any questions you may have. Finally, we will begin to address your specific situation and formulate a plan of action.

  • Do You Offer Payment Plans?

    We appreciate that when faced with criminal charges, or an unexpected family matter, a financial burden only makes matters more difficult. We use the latest technology and legal reference tools to limit our need for support staff, which keeps our prices as low as possible.

    Our clients have made it clear how important flexible payment plans are, and we can accomodate plans for most cases. Please note that our general policy is to require the full balance to be paid upon resolution of your case.

DISCLAIMER: The use of the Internet for communications with the firm will not establish an attorney-client relationship and messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent.

Hanly Law

1 Union Street

Suite 401

Portland, Maine 04101


phone: 207.699.2278

fax: 207.221.1410


Weekdays: 8am to 6pm

Weekends: By Appointment


Calls Accepted at All Times