News and Views from the family law practice of Dranoff & Huddart
Collaborative Practice comes into it’s own
This July, 2017 Canadian Lawyer Magazine article highlights why family lawyers and their clients are drawn to Collaborative Practice as an alternative to more adversarial processes. Judith Huddart provides insights through her experience working at the national level to increase the growth of Collaborative Practice.
Successfully Parenting Apart: A Toolkit
With the assistance of Justice Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Family Law Section has recently released: “Successfully Parenting Apart: A Toolkit”. This excellent resource, available free online, brings together online and print resources offering guidance, information, referrals and other child-focused resources to assist parents facing challenges post-separation. The toolkit can also be used by family lawyers to provide their clients with the best available information to ensure their children’s interests remain a priority as family relationships transition through separation.
Judge Harvey Brownstone talks about his experiences as a Family Court Judge:
CBC Radio’s “Out in the Open” talks to Judge Harvey Brownstone about the reality of separation and divorce in family court where the focus is often on emotions and revenge, not legal issues. His advice:
Couples need to be better informed about options when they separate.
Choosing an adversarial court system to air their grievances works against the best interests of their children.
New Initiative for Separating Families:
The Law Times featured an article about ‘The Neutral Zone’ in its August 29, 2016 edition. The Neutral Zone provides a unique service that offers couples considering separation an opportunity to attend an information meeting together.
The couples hear from experienced professionals about the legal issues (Judith Huddart), family issues (Sheila Brown) and financial issues (Alison Anderson or Jane Tremblay) that they may face.
The couples will receive family-focused process options to consider before they take their next steps.
National Post Article: B.C. Judge divorces from ex-couple:
Judith Huddart offers a different perspective in this July 18, 2016 article about a B.C. case in which the judge took parents to task for their protracted custody dispute.
Adversarial Court Proceedings - Good often overshadowed by bad and ugly:
Judith Huddart is quoted in this article about a recent Ontario court decision in which the judge, in awarding costs, was highly critical of the conduct of the litigation.
10 Pitfalls of Divorce in the Digital Age: This February, 2015 article by New York Family Lawyer Sherri Donovan provides practical do’s and don’ts for separating partners about social media, Internet use, and other potential digital dilemmas.
2015 Ontario Court of Appeal Decision a Lesson in How Not to Resolve Parenting Issues: The parents of a 6-year-old had been arguing about parenting for the child’s entire life. After a 34-day trial to determine whether the father could have over-night access to the child the mother appealed the trial judge’s decision. The reasons for decision of Madam Justice Benotto at the Court of Appeal included the following: “The parties’ relationship has been aptly described as toxic.” “Both engaged in inappropriate conduct during the litigation.” “For over twenty years, multi-disciplinary professionals have been urging the courts to move away from the highly charged terminology of “custody” and “access”…They promote an adversarial approach to parenting and do little to benefit the child. The danger of this “winner/loser syndrome” in child custody battles has long been recognized”. “The appellant sought costs of just under $800,000. The respondent sought costs of over $900,000. The trial judge ordered that the appellant pay the respondent costs fixed at $500,000.” The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s order for costs.
Practical advice for Parents
Ellie Tesher, Toronto Star columnist, echoes the type of advice Collaborative professionals provide to clients:
Parents should be role models for their children and not force them to take sides when family relationships are tested.
Judith Huddart Receives Women's Law Association of Ontario President's Award
The WLAO President's Award was presented to Judith in June, 2013 to recognize her outstanding service within the profession and leadership roles in advancing the position of women and women lawyers in Ontario.
Triage needed for Family Law
Judith Huddart's letter to the editor of the Toronto Star, published May 22, 2013 urges that, instead of trying to fix a broken court system, governments should support and fund interdisciplinary approaches like collaboratve practice for separating families.
Video Informs Ontario Couples about the Collaborative Approach
Parents, Brian and Brenda get advice from Ontario professionals working in a Collaborative team approach. Collaborative professionals share information to assist the couple work through not just legal issues, but also challenges with parenting, emotional and financial issues. This 13 minute video, produced by The Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, is for separating couples in Ontario looking for a non-adversarial process to resolve issues.
Communications: Let's Start Talking
Judith Huddart provides her insights and experience in this article in the Fall 2011 edition of “LawPRO” Magazine on how lawyers can improve communications with clients.
Collaborative Client Interview
Judith Huddart and a collaborative client were interviewed by Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto, September, 2010 following Ontario Chief Justice Winkler's comments concerning the need for changes to family law in the court system.
More Couples Chose "Friendly" Divorce
Judith Huddart is quoted in this January 28, 2009 Toronto Star article. The Collaborative no-court alternative is featured, including an interview with a couple sharing their experience using a Collaborative approach.
Ontario Bar welcomes Family Law Overhaul (PDF format)
Judith Huddart raises concern about whether the government’s proposed family law reforms go far enough for women and children, in this December 5, 2008 Lawyers Weekly article. To learn more about the latest proposed changes to family law legislation in Ontario, click here: www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/news/2011/20110311-dv-bg.asp
Planners can help with divorce, but beware the landmines (PDF format)
Financial advisors can add value to Collaborative negotiations, but must be clear on what is expected of them. Judith Huddart discusses the role of financial professionals in this December 1, 2008 article in Investment Executive.
Courting your Grandchildren (PDF format)
Linda Silver Dranoff discusses the pros and cons for alienated grandparents in using the court system to gain access to their grandchildren in her August 2008 column in CARP magazine.
Bullet Proof your Power of Attorney (PDF format)
Linda Silver Dranoff discusses how to minimize the risks when you give someone your power of attorney.
Courts Struggle to Balance Privacy and Openess (PDF format)
Judith Huddart raises concerns about the privacy of family law clients’ information with internet access to court records, in this July 18, 2008 Lawyers Weekly article: “Courts struggle to balance privacy and openness in giving access to court files over the Internet”.
Will Planning for a Disabled Child (PDF format)
Linda Silver Dranoff
explores the options available when you are planning how to protect a disabled or incapable child after you pass-away.
Retirement? Now it’s your call: (PDF format)
Recent changes to legislation mean employers can no longer force employees to retire at age 65. In her August 2007 article in CARP magazine Linda Silver Dranoff looks at the implications for Canadians of the abolition of mandatory retirement.
On May 25, 2006, Linda Silver Dranoff was honoured by Ontario's legal profession with the Law Society Medal, in recognition of "significant contributions to the profession....in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession."
Click on this link for an article by Linda Silver Dranoff on electoral reform.
Every Canadian's Guide to the Law by Linda Silver Dranoff
Click here to view a list of books by Linda Silver Dranoff.
Latest Federal Government Information on Child Support Guidelines
Links to Department of Justice Publications
Ontario Government-based Family Justice Services
Links to Department of Justice Information on Parenting After Separation
Ontario Family Justice Matters, including On-line Publications
Office of the Children’s Lawyer in Ontario
Supervised Access in Ontario
Family Responsibility Office
Ontario Information on Child Support Guidelines
Community Legal Education Ontario Publications (CLEO)