No. The initial consultation is some of our most valuable time together. In your consultation, we will spend 90 minutes discussing your situation in detail so that I can help you develop a path forward. If finances are a barrier to accessing legal advice, reach out to our office about our sliding scale options.

No. Unfortunately I am unable to accept Legal Aid because the only certificates they offer are for litigation. Legal Aid Ontario has a search tool for finding a lawyer who may be able to help. If you do not qualify for legal aid but finances are a barrier to accessing legal advice, reach out to us about our sliding scale options.

If you are seeking representation in court, I am not the right lawyer for you. My practice is focused exclusively on the out-of-court settlement of family law issues. If you are uncertain about whether court will be necessary, you are welcome to book an initial consultation with me to gain clarity on your needs and the ways in which I can support you, as long as you are comfortable with the possibility that I may end up needing to refer you to a colleague.

Your fees for legal services will be based on the time I spend working on your file at the applicable hourly rate. My current hourly rate is $325 plus HST, although I also take on a limited number of clients at reduced rates based on a sliding scale. If you decide to retain me to act on your behalf after your consultation appointment, you will be asked to provide a deposit towards legal services (also known as a “retainer”). The amount of the retainer will depend on the complexity of your file, and the anticipated scope of work required.

I have a remote practice, and I meet with clients and other professionals almost exclusively via Zoom video conference. Documents can be sent to us electronically, by mail, or left in a secure drop box located in downtown St. Catharines.

No. The amount of work required to properly assist with most family law matters varies widely depending on the circumstances. To make sure that you are not overcharged or undercharged for the work completed on your behalf, I do not offer flat rates for most family law services. However, I do offer a flat rate for the filing of an uncontested divorce if a Separation Agreement has already been completed and there are no changes required. 

When I am acting as a lawyer, I can only ever represent one party to the Separation Agreement. It would be a conflict of interest to give legal advice to both sides. When I am acting as a mediator, I do meet with clients together to facilitate settlement discussions. However, I always meet with mediation clients individually first to ensure that mediation will be an appropriate process before getting started.

Mediation is a voluntary process where a dispute resolution professional called a mediator helps participants to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. A mediator will encourage and assist the participants to communicate respectfully and act in good faith as they work towards a solution that is workable for everyone. A mediator is not like a judge who can make decisions about what will happen with your family. Instead, they act as a facilitator to help you make those decisions for yourselves. To learn more about the mediation process, visit our resources page.

Yes. The role of a mediator is different from the role of a lawyer. Your mediator’s job is to facilitate settlement discussions and help you and the other party to come up with solutions that will be mutually acceptable. But your mediator cannot give you legal advice because doing so would put them into a conflict of interest. For this reason, I insist that my mediation clients also work with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice.

If you are unsure about what you need, I recommend you start by meeting with me in my capacity as a lawyer. During our initial consultation, I can help you understand your options and if mediation ends up being a good fit for your circumstances, I can refer you to a colleague who can act as your mediator. Even if you participate in mediation, you will still need a lawyer to provide you with independent legal advice, and I would be happy to fulfill that role.

A lawyer can only advise one party to a contract so you cannot meet together. It would be a conflict of interest to give legal advice to both sides, even when the parties get along and want the same thing.