There are many ways of handling family law issues, and the differences between processes can be quite nuanced. It is often difficult for a person who is facing a major life change to know which approach will offer them the most direct path to their desired outcome. It makes sense to seek guidance from a professional with a deep understanding of the various process options, informed by years of experience working in the field.

If you are not sure about the kind of professional support you need, I recommend scheduling a confidential, one-on-one family law consultation appointment as a first step. During this appointment, we can discuss not only the legal issues that are relevant to you, but also the process options that are available to you to address them.

If you decide after our consultation appointment that mediation will be the best way to resolve your family law issues, I can refer you to a colleague who can act as your mediator and handle the facilitation of direct settlement discussions. You will still need independent legal advice to ensure that your decisions are well informed, and that your agreement will be legally binding. I will be able to assist with this aspect of your file in my capacity as a lawyer.

“Sharon made me feel empowered and in control of an otherwise overwhelming situation.”



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.