416-762-8617 | jill@jillmcleod.ca

The most important decision you have to make when your marriage ends...

At every juncture in life, you need the right person to help you. Separation and divorce are no different.

If you are reading this you, you may be feeling unsure about what route to take. You want to work out the issues with your spouse and to reach a final agreement, but what’s the best way to do that?

You know that going to Court is expensive and will be very stressful for you and your children. Past events are put under a microscope to see which spouse is "telling the truth". You and your spouse are pitted against each other as adversaries, which drives a wedge between the two of you. And if your case goes to trial, then a Judge - someone who is a stranger to you and your family - is going to make a decision that affects all of you for years to come.

If you don’t go to Court, trying to settle a case with two lawyers who don’t get along can take a long time. You’re giving up control of your case to lawyers who are trained to argue about the law. And because their Court schedules have to take priority, your file may take a back seat at times. You’re worried because you’ve heard people say, "My lawyer never calls me back." Or, "Nothing’s happening on my case."

What if you want to reach an agreement now, so you can move on with your life? What if there was a process in which you and your spouse could be the decision-makers - not a Judge and not the lawyers? What if you could decide what your issues are, and then ask your lawyers to help you with those issues, thus keeping costs down? What if there were ground rules that asked both you and your spouse to negotiate in good faith, and be reasonable? If there was a way to keep you and your spouse focused on the best interests of your children and a reasonable financial outcome, would you consider it?

There is such a process and it’s called Collaborative Family Law (or Collaborative Practice). You, your spouse and two collaboratively trained lawyers - one for each of you - will address the issues in a calm environment that promotes understanding and cooperation. There are guidelines and procedures to ensure that things move steadily forward toward an agreement. You will help develop a timeline of what to work on and in what order. Urgent matters will be dealt with as they arise.

I believe that collaborative practice is the best thing that has happened to family law. It takes people out of the adversarial system in which past grievances are aired in the elusive search for "truth" and asks them instead to focus on the future. It provides a safe place for discussing difficult issues with the support of professionals, and so it insulates your children against the emotional distress of a high conflict divorce. And resolving matters collaboratively means you are more likely to be able to communicate with your spouse in the future, whether about the children or a family business.

I do this work because the values of collaborative practice align with my personal values of practicality, fairness, emotional safety for children, and helping clients move forward with their lives. I have dedicated my career to helping families resolve conflict. I was a social worker before I become a lawyer. I then chose to work in the field of family law and divorce so I could guide clients through this difficult time of their lives. I began my legal career by taking cases to Court, but after 14 years, I made a conscious decision to stop. It creates a toxic environment in the family. And for a child, the years lost to chronic parental conflict can never be regained.

I take a practical, cost-conscious approach and will prepare you to do the work needed to settle your case. It starts with you helping me to understand what’s really important for you to achieve in terms of outcomes. You and I will talk about whether you feel your spouse will be open to your proposals or whether it would be helpful to have the support of a neutral social worker, business valuator or financial planner at the settlement table when difficult topics are being discussed.

Separation and divorce don’t have to be destructive. I believe that given the right information and opportunities, people will do the right thing for themselves and their children. Everyone deserves a new beginning. Call me at 416-762-8617 if you want me on your side.


Cost-Effective Settlement Without Court

Divorce is a problem to be solved, not a battle to be fought.

Conflict in our daily lives impacts our health and the health of our children. By choosing to solve problems in a climate of dignity and respect, we protect ourselves - and those we love.