Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to some of the more common questions I am asked.

  • Do you provide notarizations for passports, travel consent letters, etc.?

    Yes, for past or present clients.  I do not charge anything for this service.

  • Do you accept credit cards?

    Yes, we accept VISA and MasterCard.  We are also set up to accept debit cards and of course cash and cheques.

  • Do you accept Legal Aid certificates?

    No, I do not.

  • Do you offer free half-hour consultations?

    No, I do not.  You will be asked to pay for the consultation.  If you decide to retain me at the consultation, we will discuss the retainer amount, which will include the consultation.

  • Do you bill on a flat fee basis?

    I do bill a ‘flat-fee’ for uncontested divorces.  I have a schedule that breaks down all the costs for that so you can see up front what is expected.

  • For all other matters, I bill on a time-spent basis. So if we spend 45 minutes in a meeting, you are billed 45 minutes. I do not round up time spent.  I try to be fair and imagine how I would feel if I were the client.

  • Do you do interim billing?

    Yes.  No one likes to receive one large bill at the end of the day.  Interim billing also helps you keep on top of what the process actually costs.

  • Retainers are applied to interim bills.  From time to time you may be asked to replenish the retainer.

  • What is the best way to contact you?

    Email.  While I do try to make time available for phone calls whenever possible, I cannot answer the phone when I am in meetings or in court.

  • I do not bill for brief emails, such as emails where we are simply scheduling a meeting or phone conference, or confirming a date.

  • What is the best way to set up an appointment for initial consultation?

    Please email or telephone my assistant, Diane. She has full access to my calendar.

  • Messages or emails sent to me for an appointment for an initial consultation will generally be forwarded to Diane to contact you.

  • How much will my matter cost?

    A typical lawyer answer to most questions is, ‘It depends’.  That is the best answer here.  If parties (and their lawyers) are settlement-focused and determined to resolve matters quickly and amicably, then we can keep the costs reasonable.  If not, costs can quickly rise.

  • Like most of my colleagues, I prefer to keep costs reasonable, and to try to resolve matters quickly and amicably.

  • How often do family law matters go to trial?

    Most are settled through alternative dispute resolution, such as collaborative law, mediation, or four way meetings.       Of those that do go to court, it is estimated that 95% or more settle at one of the conferences or motions held well prior to the trial.

  • Trials are extremely expensive, stressful and time consuming.  Most lawyers discourage their clients from proceeding to trial for those reasons.  The experience is nothing like what is depicted on television and in the movies.

  • As a rule of thumb, two days of preparation are required for each day spent in trial.  Out of fairness to my clients, so that I may continue to be available to them, I restrict my practice to only relatively short trials.

  • I am pleased to refer my clients to colleagues for trials that are anticipated to run long.

  • Do you do Wills or house transfers?

    No, but I share office space with David Acri, who does. His website can be found in my Links section.

  • I strongly suggest that you update your Will post-separation, and that you consult with a solicitor to do so. You should also do so if you plan to remarry, or if you have remarried, as a marriage normally voids a pre-existing Will.

  • I also strongly suggest that you review the beneficiary provisions of your RRSPs, pensions, benefits, and insurance policies on a regular basis. Certainly you should do so after separation, but after any other important life event also. You may wish to sit down and review them on a regular basis, say once a year or so.

  • Normally when people draft a Will, or open an RRSP, or purchase life insurance (or have life insurance available to them through work) , they name beneficiaries important to them at that time.  They then forget about these beneficiary designations, and despite significant life changes over the years, they do not remember to change the beneficiaries.  This can lead to a windfall for someone who may no longer be important to you, or result in someone important to you receiving less than you would want them to.  Or worse yet, a situation where both of those individuals are fighting in court over their respective entitlements.  Don’t let this happen – review your beneficiary designations regularly.