Margaret Black Professional Corporation 

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An ongoing series of informative entries

COVID - 19:

The courts are talking about custody and access during the pandemic and self isolation.  

By Vanessa Tynes-Jass - Senior Family Lawyer

March 26, 2020

​This is an unprecedented time during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and many clients or potential clients have wondered how to handle their separation and divorce situations when it comes to following the rules of their court orders, separation agreements, or making new rules when they do not have an existing separation agreement or court order dealing with their parenting time of their children. To make matters even more interesting, the courts have been shut down since earlier this month, and most of the judges have “left the buildings” until June 1, 2020, which places many trials, motions, and different court appearances adjourned for at least 8 weeks, or simply held in abeyance without any directions from the court. The legislature has also provided a stay on deadlines within the Limitations Act as well as court-imposed deadlines pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules and the Family Law Rules.

Many family clients are probably wondering “where does that leave me?”.  It did not take long for lawyers and family clients to have “urgent” motions brought before the court to determine disputes when it comes to parenting schedules. The court has been mandated that only “urgent” matters can be brought before the court yet the definition of “urgent” was not clearly defined by the directives under the Emergency Management Act. The following links are for recent cases in Ontario courts with respect to custody, access, and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The clear message that I have for our present and potential clients is that the judges will use your actions during this time against you if they do not follow normal Family Law principles.  I hope you find the cases as interesting as I do during this time. Enjoy! 

If you have any questions about family law in general, or custody, access, parenting, divorce, and surrounding issues, please reach out to us on our contact form or by telephone at 905-833-9090. With almost 68 years of specialized experience in Family Law, we would be happy to set up a consult with you. 

We continue to serve our clients during this time.  

Jackman v. Doyle (2020)

Douglas v. Douglas (2020)

Proud to be different.

14 February 2019

I will not do it. I just cannot.

I am writing about how I see the injustice in today's family law practice. I notice all too often lawyers forcing matters into Family court when it is simply not needed or warranted. I am not writing to advocate for mediation or arbitration, that is for another article. I am acknowledging that access to real justice is almost impossible for the general public because of the costs for a reputable and competent family law lawyer. Yes, I too am a family lawyer, and I do profit from having family law clients, however I did not start a family law practice to get "rich" from family law clients. There are plenty of lawyers in this town, and it is hard to find a great one without a word of mouth referral. I can only speak to what my firm stands for.

In an age where legal fees for family matters are as high as $700,000 for a divorce proceeding that has lasted years in litigation, where most work is automated, and most lawyers are up to date on legal tech use in their offices, there is simply no need for exorbitant legal fees to be taxed onto families that are separating their families. There are many ways to cost cut on family matters.

These are some things that I can pledge to any of my family law clients:

I will not provide advice to you that would likely end you up in a court hearing, unless it is required.

I will never purposefully fuel acrimony with the opposing counsel in an effort to boost my time on your file.

I will take any precautions on your file to save you legal fees and disbursements and communicate fully all options available to you before making any financial choice.

I will advise you when I believe you are exposing yourself to a costs award against you.

I will do my best to use alternative dispute measures, offered by the court, to ensure judicial input on settlement agreements to help end your case quickly, fairly, and as inexpensive as possible.

I will use my experience to guide you in all matters related to your separation and divorce, including my real estate law experience, business experience, and common sense.

My hope is that people are obtaining access to justice and they are able to bring their family matter to a quick and reasonable conclusion without breaking the bank.