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Leanne Townsend | Family Lawyer and Divorce Strategist
The Divorcing Well Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 2020

Leanne Townsend, family law lawyer

I am a partner with Brauti Thorning LLP and practice exclusively in the area of family law, with a particular focus on cases involving domestic violence and spousal abuse. Every month I send out a newsletter full of helpful tips, advice and insights that will help you navigate through family law challenges.

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Unique challenges facing men going through divorce
Leanne's Divorcing Well podcast: Divorced men and suicide

Men going through divorce face unique challenges and they don't always have the same access to resources as women.

In honour of World National Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, I spoke to award winning talk show host Karen Carrington for a recent episode of my Divorcing Well podcast.

In general, men are often uncomfortable sharing their pain and in the Black community in particular, it's frowned upon to talk about your "private business," she says. That leaves men feeling isolated and suffering in silence.

You don't want to miss this powerful episode where Karen and I discuss suicide among divorced men, and some of the issues faced by men in the Black community who are going through divorce.

Listen to the episode on Apple or Spotify.

Is reality TV ruining your marriage?
Is watching The Bachelor good for your marriage?

Who doesn't love a fix of trashy reality television, am I right? Shows like The Bachelor, 90 Day Fiancé and Real Housewives give us an indulgent escape from life's stresses, which can be crushing these days.

But is love and romance reality TV good for your marriage? In my recent blog post, I explore what psychologists have to say on the subject and how one couple believes that watching The Bachelor together reignites the spark in their relationship.

Read more

Check out Leanne's recent media appearances.
Ontario courts issue warning to parents on back-to-school disputes

The past few weeks have been busy with many parents at odds over whether to send their children back to school in the middle of the pandemic. I've been interviewed by several media outlets to provide commentary on how the courts are handling these types of disputes.

From the decisions to date, judges are making rulings that are child-focused and based on the specific circumstances of a family. They have also cautioned parents to do everything in their power to resolve the issue themselves, without resorting to the court and a judge who doesn't know their situation.

If you're looking for more information on how the courts have weighed in on these cases, check out the links below.

CBC News

CTV News

The debate over COVID-19 vaccination

When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, what will happen if one parent objects?

Deciding whether or not to vaccinate your children against COVID-19 is a dilemma that many of us may soon have to face. In general, vaccinations have been a hotly debated topic for years, and we expect to see a flurry of activity when a COVID-19 becomes available.

In a recent Instagram Live with family law lawyer Steve Benmor, we discussed the limited case law on the issue so far. In one case, separated parents appeared before Justice Penny J. Jones when they couldn't agree on whether their child should be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, Steve writes in a recent post. In her decision, Justice Jones encouraged the parents to work together in consultation with their child's doctor, if and when a vaccine becomes available. In the event the mother refuses to cooperate, the judge granted the father unilateral power to consent to the child being vaccinated.

Like many of the issues that have brought disputing parents before the court during the pandemic, judges have made it clear that it is not the court’s role to second guess government policy. 

If you're interested in learning more about the arguments on both sides of the debate, check out this heated discussion between Robert Kennedy Jr. and Alan Dershowitz. Lots of interesting points made on both sides.

On, Oct. 1, Steve and I host our own debate where we argue the merits of both sides. You won't want to miss it!

Check out the replay of the IG Live here.

Landmark ruling on retroactive child support
Supreme Court ruling forces father to pay $23K in retroactive child support

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled a B.C. father must pay $23,000 in retroactive child support to his former common-law partner and child, even though the child is now 29 years old, CBC reports.

The couple were common-law spouses for four years, and had a child in 1991. After their separation, the child lived with the mother, and the father agreed to child support payments of about $340 a month based on his stated income of $40,000 a year.

When the child became an adult and support payments ended, the mother discovered that the father's income was actually higher than stated so she filed for retroactive support in the B.C. provincial court.

A judge ordered the father to pay the retroactive support, but he appealed, claiming that because the child is now an adult, it was too late to order back payment of child support. The B.C Supreme Court and the B.C. Court of Appeal agreed.

The mother subsequently filed an application to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, which was heard in November 2019.

The landmark decision opens the door to allow parents to change past child support orders, even in cases where the child is now an adult.

Read more
Quote of the month by Glennon Doyle

Serving clients during COVID-19

As we navigate the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
the safety and well-being of clients is my top priority. Social distancing is vital right now to prevent the spread of the virus so I will continue to work with clients through virtual meetings. If you have any questions or concerns about your family law matter or would like to schedule a meeting, please reach out to me by email.

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Looking for more information on what to expect during a divorce, abusive relationships, love and money, life after divorce or other family law topics? 

Check out the In the News and Blog sections of my website where there's a wealth of great content to get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

Check It Out
Leanne Townsend, Family Lawyer

Partner, Brauti Thorning LLP
Brookfield Place
161 Bay Street, Suite 2900,
Toronto, ON M5J 2S1

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416-304-6524

leanne@leannetownsend.ca

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