Covid-19: It's been a challenging time for everyone. Even before the first Toronto lock down last March, we took the initiative and were one of the first law offices to have all lawyers and staff work from home. We prioritize staff and client safety above all else. We simply intensified our work together and with clients using ZOOM.

Efficiency is important to maintain and we believe that we increased our capabilities to render timely service to clients. The lawyers now have their internet Ring Central phones installed at their homes. Gene C. Colman purchased all in one printer scanners for everyone. We have transitioned all pre-Covid files to electronic only and all files that we have opened since March 2020 have been electronic only. Very soon we are transitioning all of our files to the "CLOUD". We are retaining a Canadian company for this so that we will keep all client data safe and secure, in Canada.

Robert McNeillie - Rob joined the firm in February 2020. Rob has a Masters of Law degree from Osgoode Hall L.S. (2017) and was called to the bar in 2018. Robert is very sensitive to the stress that family law clients experience and he does everything possible to help clients to reduce stress and to carry on with their lives. He has a great sense of humour and clients love him.

Jenny Kirshen - We are very pleased to announce that in October 2020 Jenny Kirshen returned to work following her maternity leave.

Kulbir K. Rahal Vaid - We are equally pleased that Kulbir returned to work in July 2020 after being off on mat leave as well.

Both Kulbir's and Jenny's clients are very glad to have them back, but in the interim Robert McNeillie and Gloria Antwi certainly looked after our clients very well.
We are excited to be soon adding a new platform to our website that will maximize efficiencies. "Settify" is a dynamic interactive platform where prospective new clients (and even those who even have no intention to sign up with our firm but just want to get some information) are able to input data about their case. Based upon that data, Settify will provide tailored feedback to the user appropriate to the issues that the user has flagged. If the user wishes, Settify will transfer that data to the firm and steps can then be taken to set up a Consultation. New clients or consultees who approach the firm by means other than our website - we will also direct them to the Settify platform. Gene C. Colman spent many hours customizing the platform to conform with the attitudes and views of the firm. This dynamic system will surely save time and legal costs.
To render cutting edge legal advice, Continuing Legal Education is very important. Course attendees report the highlights to the team at our regular firm lunches.  Here is a sample of some courses that our lawyers have attended since our last newsletter:

Gene C. Colman: GCC has attended too many courses to list here. Here are a few:

  • Urgent Matters: Defining Urgency and other Critical Issues Facing Family Lawyers

  • Urgency Update and Expanded Scope for Family Matters

  • Access, Youth Services and Other Challenges in Child Welfare

  • Post-separation Parenting in the Spring of 2020: The Covid 19 Crisis and the AFCC-O Parenting Plan Guide

  • Virtual Parent-Child Contact Post Separation: Hearing Multiple Perspectives on the Risks and Rewards

  • Concepts, Controversies, and Conundrums of Parent-Child Contact

  • Allegations of Child Abuse During Child Custody Disputes

  • Parental Alienation: False Positives and Myriad Concerns

  • Impacts of COVID-19 on Business Valuations and Income Calculations for Family Law

  • Responding to Severe Parent-Child Rejection Cases Without A Parentectomy

  • The Importance of Psychological Testing in Canadian Family Law
Gloria Antwi:

  • Westlaw - Refresher Training

  • OBA - Eleventh Annual Bread and Butter Issues in Family Law - Hague Applications vs s. 40 CLRA Applications

  • Pandemic Parenting: Raising COVID -19 to challenge access and other parenting decisions

Jenny Kirshen:

  • Divorcemate training - Mastering Income Determination.

  • Ontario Family Lawyers Adoption Basics

Robert McNeillie

  • Urgent Matters: Defining Urgency and Other Critical Issues Facing Family Lawyers

  • 9th Annual Recent Developments in Advanced and Complex Issues in Property & Equalization

  • Coparenting and Parenting in a Tough Environment: Giving Guidance When It's in Short Supply

  • Justice Adapting - The Ontario Courts

Kulbir Kaur Rahal Vaid

  • DivorceMate Advanced Tools One

  • Pandemic Parenting: Raising COVID -19 to challenge access and other parenting decisions

  • Name that Legal Test

Our Popular Webinars
From April to July 2020, we presented a a series of six webinars for the public on bell weather topics. These webinars were very well attended and received. You can watch them via our web site. Topics: Covid-19, Parental Alienation, Equal Shared Parenting, Fathers' Rights, Financial Disclosure, Grandparent Alienation.
Sponsorships and Community Involvement
Once again this year, we are a Silver level sponsor for the November 19 conference of the Family Dispute Resolution of Ontario (FDRIO). Attending on behalf of the firm are Gene C. Colman, Kulbir K.R. Vaid and Gloria Antwi. FDRIO is a multi disciplinary organization devoted to facilitating a more humane and practical approach to family dispute resolution.

Over the past few months, Gene C. Colman has served on the "Advocacy and Law Reform Committee" of FDRIO. This committee has been evaluating the Law Society of Ontario proposal to make family dispute resolution services (whether court or other) more readily available to the public for free or at a reduced cost. This proposal would see the creation of a new type of paralegal, the "Family Law Service Professional" (FLSP). These individuals would have the right to appear in court for some types of family law cases and to provide legal advice in some areas. To protect the public and the orderly administration of family law justice, Colman has argued strongly for robust ETS - Education, Training and Supervision. Colman has also argued for another classification of a more extensively trained FLSP who would be authorized to represent people in child protection (CAS) cases. Many people ensnared by children's aid societies are not represented. Something has to be done to remedy that. (Read what Colman had to say about "Summary Judgment" motions in child protection proceedings.)

Recent Firm Court Victories:
  • Released just this morning is a lengthy decision from Justice Madsen where we were able to persuade the court to uphold our arguments that the mother had pre-planned and executed a blatant child abduction contrary to the Consent Divorce Order in Nigeria and contrary to Ontario's Children's Law Reform Act. Therefore, Her Honour has ordered that the mother must return our client's two daughters to Nigeria within thirty days.

  • We reinstated parenting time for client as per a preexisting agreement and then secured costs for him as well.

  • Even with Covid-19 challenges, we re-established access for a dad to his son in the face of mom's abject obstinance.

  • In an unbundled services retainer arrangement, we helped a great dad overcome the mom's false protestations that Covid-19 should prevent all parenting time. We helped dad organize his evidence to show that the Covid-19 claims were not put forward in good faith. We then helped the dad secure a full recovery costs order.

Gene C. Colman
Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre