Family Law for Financial Professionals - Webinar

3 Nov 2020, 9:30 AM

9 CPD hours


5 (1)

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Course Description

The following topics will be discussed during this event:

1. Spousal Buyout Program and the Separation Loan Program

Speaker: John Panagakos, Founder of Separation Mortgages

2. Different Dispute Resolutions Arenas

Speaker: Jessica Braude, J.D. of Christen Seaton Burrison Hudani LLP

3. Income Determination for Support Purposes

Speakers: Natalie Derbyshire, LL.B. and Jennifer Valliere, J.D. of Stanchieri Family Law and Elise Visco, J.D. of Jacqueline Mills Law

4. How a Divorce Coach Can Assist Clients Going Through the Process

A divorce coach can be helpful not only in reducing the costs and being more time efficient, but also in supporting and guiding the parties thought the process. 

Speaker: Jennifer Donison, Certified Family Mediator of My Children and Me

5. No tidy solution to an estate plan derailed by divorce and stroke

Speakers: Dr. Irina V. Koropenko, PhD., CFP, CLU, TEP, CFDS, CDFA, CFBA and Birute Luksenaite, B.A. (Hons.), M.A., J.D., Principal at Portfolio Estate Law

6. Communication Tips for Financial Divorce Professionals Dealing with Clients with Complex Divorce Grief

Divorce grief is complex with most of our clients unless they have successfully processed that grief before coming to use our services. This has not been the norm in my experience.

As a result, for most clients coming to use our services, the frustrations we feel are very much part of interacting our clients’ early attempts at grief management through their behaviours with us. 

Many of these behaviours include resistance, aggression, stalling, paralysis with preparation of documents, victimization, gas lighting and unfair ideas for solutions.

I will give you some tools that have worked for me in the twenty years that I have been dealing with complex divorce grief with my clients and hope these help with the inevitable frustrations we all must handle with this group of clients.

Speaker: Risa Ennis, B.A., Acc FM (OAFM), M.A. of Risa Ennis Family Mediation and Counselling Services

7. Bankruptcy and Family Law

Speaker: Julie Zimmerman, J.D. of Bortolussi Family Law

8. Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements – why are they important and what are their benefits and limitations

Speakers: Todd Slonim, LL.B., Acc. FM, and Diana Solomon, LL.B. of Devry Smith Frank LLP

9. Discount rate perplexities in calculating lump sum spousal support:  Is everyone missing the boat?

Speaker: Geoffrey Wells, M.A., LL.B. of MacDonald & Partners LLP, Family Law Practitioners 

10. Post Separation Date Decrease in Asset Values

Speaker: Cheryl Suann Williams, LL.B., LL.M. (ADR) of Williams Family Lawyers

11. Parental Involvement in Family Law Cases:  Family Loans & Family Real Estate

Speaker: Maxine Kerr, B.A., LL.B., M.B.A.

12. Exercise for Chronic Conditions

Speaker: Igor Klibanov, CEO of Fitness Solutions Plus 

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.  Should you have any ideas for topics, speakers, sponsorship or anything else, feel free to contact Melanie Russell, CPA, CA, CBV, CIM, CFE, CFF, ABV at 416-488-9590 x 225.

Course Walkthrough

  • John Panagakos' Presentation
  • John Panagakos' Recording
  • Cheryl Williams' Materials
  • Cheryl Williams' Recording
  • Natalie Derbyshire's, Jennifer Valliere's and Elise Visco's Presentation
  • Natalie's, Jennifer's and Elise's Recording
  • Maxine Kerr's Materials
  • Maxine Kerr's Recording
  • Jessica Braude's Presentation
  • Jessica Braude's Recording
  • Julie Zimmerman's Presentation
  • Julie Zimmerman's Recording
  • Irina Koropenko's and Birute Luksenaite's Recording
  • Jennifer Donison's Recording
  • Geoffrey Wells' Recording
  • Todd Slonim's and Diana Solomon's Recording
  • Igor Klibanov's Recording
  • Risa Ennis' Recording
  • Risa Ennis contact details:risasmediation@rogers.c...
  • Certificate: Family Law for Financial Professionals - Live Webinar
  • Feedback / comments

About the Instructor(s)

Picture of Jessica Braude
Jessica Braude

Jessica is a passionate advocate and has acted at all levels of the Court in Ontario. Jessica’s background in corporate and commercial litigation brings a broad and diverse perspective to her practise. Although she is a strong litigator, her goal is to achieve collaborative settlements through alternative dispute resolution. She has an aptitude for structuring creative solutions that accomplish the best results for her clients. Jessica is an accredited Family Law Mediator, a Collaborative Family Law lawyer and Family Law Arbitrator. Jessica also acts as a Parenting Coordinator and assists families in implementing their parenting agreements.

Picture of Natalie Derbyshire
Natalie Derbyshire

I elected to double major in Sociology and Law & Society for my undergraduate studies at York University.  In 2002, I graduated cum laude, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours and earning a grade point average that ranked me within the top 5% of my peers.  That Fall, I commenced Law School at Osgoode Hall. 

During my first year of Law School, a close family member of mine went through an acrimonious divorce involving custody, parenting, support and property issues.  This experience taught me that family law and issues arising from separation or divorce may impact individuals and their families on many levels.  This, coupled with my childhood experience of having a foster sister, made Family Law a natural choice as to the focus of my career.  I was determined to practice family law with a view to improving dispute resolution options for my clients and empowering them with knowledge to make good decisions to foster, insofar as possible, financial stability, long-term peace and happiness. 

The emotional, psychological, financial and social implications of divorce are palatable and far-reaching.  Everybody knows somebody that has gone through a divorce or separation and I doubt any of them could truthfully say that the experience was not transforming.  Having personally gone through a divorce, I appreciate the vast implications of the legal process and the value of a good support system, alongside trusted counsel.  Much of our personal identities are shaped and defined by family and friends, but most importantly, our ‘better half’.  Although we cannot control the behavior of others, we do have the power to love ourselves first, act with integrity and in the best interests of our children, speak our truth and set an example for our children that they will hopefully come to appreciate over time.

I am a certified collaborative practitioner and I aim to save clients money, primarily recommending dispute resolution processes, such as collaboration, mediation and negotiation, as alternatives to court, whenever prudent.  Still, there are some cases where litigation cannot be avoided and I do not hesitate to litigate, when necessary.  I have several reported cases at the Ontario Superior Court level, the results of which favoured my clients.  I empathize with clients and I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I am not to be under-estimated by my opponents.

Picture of Jennifer Donison
Jennifer Donison

Being a Divorce Coach, I am an empathetic and committed professional determined to help you through this difficult process. I specialize in emotional support and putting things into perspective. I guide my clients through the difficulties. While helping with communication, I assist in managing emotions and supporting the ability to focus on the practical issues of divorce - reducing the negative impact on you and your family. 

Shifting from a romantic relationship to a healthy coparenting relationship is difficult, however, best for your children.

As a Parent Coach, and a divorced mother of two, I have worked very hard to research and establish the tools to help maintain and create a strong bond for single parents and their children. 

Picture of Risa Ennis
Risa Ennis

Risa Ennis began her career, after being an at home mom for several years,  as a Certified Parent Educator in 1997. It was very clear to her at that time from the voluminous requests by clients, struggling to co-parent with their divorced spouses, that mediation was the best way to significantly help these clients, especially in offering a non-adversarial mechanism to draft binding parenting plans. 

So she became an Accredited Family Mediator in 2000. 

Along  with obtaining a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counselling in 2005 specializing in grief and relationship counselling,  as well as presently being a Parent Coordinator and Collaborative Professional,  she has worked to help clients successfully devise fair and child-focused parenting plans, but more importantly, helped them to accept and deal with divorce grief so they can be healthy role models for their children and move forward wisely in their post-separation lives.

Picture of Maxine Kerr
Maxine Kerr

Maxine is a sole practitioner and mediator in Aurora, Ontario, with a Bay Street background. Her practice is focused exclusively on family law. She is formerly a partner of one of Canada's largest full-service law firms, where she practised in the areas of family law, civil litigation and corporate restructuring. Maxine’s approach to resolving family conflict is to keep the businesses and the wealth of clients intact and to insulate children from parental conflict.

Maxine is a member of the Board and the co-President of the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC-O) and she is a member of the York Region Law Association. Maxine was a member of the Executive of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association for several years and she is a past Member at Large of the Family Law Practice Group of The Advocates Society. Maxine is a frequent instructor in continuing legal education programs.

Maxine is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law and the Rotman School of Business.

Picture of Igor Klibanov
Igor Klibanov

Igor Klibanov is the author of 4 books on fitness, the most recent of which is STOP EXERCISING! The Way You Are Doing it Now. He is also the CEO of one of Toronto's premier personal training companies, Fitness Solutions Plus. Together with his team of fitness professionals, he specializes in helping busy professionals improve their fitness, energy levels, and health.

In the past, Igor has been hired to run fitness seminars for IBM, RBC, the Toronto Lawyers Association, Professional Engineers of Ontario, and others. 

To learn more about Igor, please visit

Picture of Irina Koropenko
Irina Koropenko

Irina is a comprehensive Estate and Financial Planning professional working with individual and corporate clients. She provides advanced financial planning including tax, estate, retirement, and business planning. She prepares and runs educational seminars, training sessions, and tutorials in financial, tax and estate planning for advisors and clients. Irina holds several professional designations, among them the Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, Trust and Estate Practitioner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and is a member of both the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting. She is a Past President and currently sits on the board of the Estate Planning Council of Toronto. Irina also holds the Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. 

Picture of Birute Luksenaite
Birute Luksenaite

Birute is a tax and estates lawyer with the firm Portfolio Estate Law in Toronto. She works with domestic and international clients providing estate and tax planning, estate administration, executor and trustee and other related legal services. She has a special interest in assisting with artists’ estates.

Birute earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Toronto and her law degree - at Queen’s University.  She completed her articles at the Tax Court of Canada in 2011 and subsequently worked in various roles in tax end estate law in New York and Toronto. She is a member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners and attends their Canada and Europe conferences. She also serves on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Tax Law Section.

In 2019 Birute established Portfolio Estate Law boutique to provide exclusively estates-focused services to domestic and international clients in several languages.

Birute contributes to various publications and presentations on the topics of taxation and estates law.

Picture of John Panagakos
John Panagakos

Collaboratively trained John Panagakos is the founder of Separation Mortgages, Canada’s first and only dedicated service helping individuals and couples secure mortgage financing during and after separation. John is an experienced licensed mortgage professional with unparalleled insight, who works with Canada’s charter banks and has privileged relationships with a wide range of lenders. John can provide customized services and creative solutions for the benefit of his clients, and they family’s changing needs.
Picture of Todd Slonim
Todd Slonim

Established family lawyer Todd Slonim received his B.A. in communication studies from the University of Calgary. While there, he created a documentary film that won Best Human Interest Documentary at the North West International Film Festival in 1999. Todd then attended Cardiff Law School in Wales and completed his LL.B. He returned to Canada to attend Dalhousie Law School, before returning to Toronto to complete his articles with a family law firm. 

Todd has practiced exclusively in family law at a boutique firm in Toronto since his call to the bar in 2005. He has been involved with many difficult and complex cases. In addition to appearing at all levels of courts in Ontario, Todd is a proponent of resolving family law matters through Alternative Dispute Resolution. He has achieved excellent results for his clients in mediation and arbitration while avoiding the pitfalls of court proceedings. Todd is also an accredited family law mediator. He brings an insightful, practical and efficient approach to mediation to help guide the parties towards the resolution of their family law disputes. Todd promotes the mediation process as a positive and reliable alternative to litigation. 

Todd is a trained collaborative family lawyer. He advances the collaborative practice as a practical and alternative process to court to help families achieve settlement in a respectful, creative and cost-effective manner. 

As a family lawyer, Todd is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, Law Society of Ontario, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Ontario Association for Family Mediation, Collaborative Practice Toronto and York Collaborative Practice.

Picture of Diana Solomon
Diana Solomon

Diana joined Devry Smith Frank LLP in June of 2018 as a Toronto family law lawyer. Diana has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since her call to the Bar in 1999. She regularly deals with complex property and support matters, and custody and access disputes.

Diana believes that settlement through negotiation and/or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods serve her clients and their family’s current and ongoing needs best. She has advanced ADR training and has been able to settle a significant number of her cases out of court. When a case is best served in court, however, Diana is also an effective advocate. She has had cases in all levels of the Ontario court system.

Diana was an instructor at the Toronto Family Information Sessions. She has written and co-written for Matrimonial Affairs, and sessions at the Advocacy Society and the Family Law CLE sessions. Diana has her certificate in family mediation from York University and holds ADR and Advanced ADR certificates from Stitt Feld Handy.

Diana received a B.A. from McGill University in 1993. She obtained her LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1997. While at Queen’s Law School, she was awarded the Cassels, Brock & Blackwell Centennial Award in Practice Skills. Diana also participated in Queen’s first French moot court competition in Brussels. Outside of the practice of law, Diana enjoys spending time with her family, reading, cooking, and tennis.

Picture of Jennifer Valliere
Jennifer Valliere

I have been practicing family law and civil litigation since my Call to the Bar in 2012, exclusively practicing in family law since 2014.

I practice in all areas of family law (except child protection), including parenting/custody/access, child support (table child support and Section 7 special or extraordinary expenses), spousal support, and simple and complex property division. 

I have significant litigation experience including managing files from the outset of the process in the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice up to and including trial. I also have appellate experience in the Divisional Court.

Outside of Court, I routinely assist clients with mediation and binding arbitration, as well as the preparation of domestic contracts (cohabitation agreements, marriage contracts, and separation agreements).

I am passionate about family law as I get to help families every day. I do not take my job lightly – I understand that my work affects real families, with real needs. I treat my clients like individuals, each with a unique set of circumstances and concerns that matter to them.

Understanding that each client may have different goals, I guide my clients to find a process that will work for them. With this in mind, I became a certified collaborative family lawyer in 2016. Regardless of the process chosen, I strongly advocate for my clients and guide them through the process. 

Prior to joining Stanchieri, I worked for a full service mid-sized law firm who also shares Stanchieri’s client centred philosophy. 

Picture of Elise Visco
Elise Visco

Elise Visco has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since her call to the Bar in 2017. She joined Jacqueline M. Mills’ practice in 2019.

Elise attended Osgoode Hall Law School where she completed the Osgoode Mediation Intensive specializing in family law. During her second and third year of law school, Elise assisted low income clients with their family law matters through the Pro Bono Students Canada Family Law Project. She spent the summer after her first year in Freetown, Sierra Leone working with the Defence for Children International.

Prior to joining Ms. Mills’ practice, Elise was an associate in the family law group at a mid-sized Toronto law firm. She received a Bachelor of Science with a minor in Italian from the University of Guelph.

Picture of Geoffrey Wells
Geoffrey Wells

Geoffrey Wells is an experienced trial and appellate counsel with financial expertise to successfully resolve complicated Family Law financial matters including valuation of business, trust interests and support issues. Geoffrey Wells is a Registered Student in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators Program of Study.

Picture of Cheryl Suann Williams
Cheryl Suann Williams

Cheryl commenced work in the legal field in 1992 and earned a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School in 1998 and a Masters in Law (Alternative Dispute Resolution) degree in 2019. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2000.  She is also trained in Collaborative Law and has extensive mediation training.

Cheryl's long association with family law commenced in 1996 through her involvement with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic assisting victims of physical and sexual violence; an intensive study in family law during law school; and articles at the Ministry of the Attorney General, Office of the Children's Lawyer.

Cheryl worked in reputable boutique family law firms in downtown Toronto and Markham before becoming the Principal of Williams Family Lawyers after the firm’s former partners each became judges of the Superior Court of Justice, Family Court.  Since then, she has developed a practice in complex financial, property and support disputes from inception through to trials, mediations, arbitrations and the Court of Appeal. Her approach is to provide service to clients in a resolution-based, efficient, cost-effective, and compassionate manner.  

Picture of Julie Zimmerman
Julie Zimmerman

Julie Zimmerman, B.Sc. (Hons.), J.D.

Family Law Lawyer / Collaborative Lawyer / Litigator

Julie has been practicing Family Law since her call to the bar in 2010 in a full range of Family Law matters, including complex parenting, financial support, and property issues.  She negotiates and drafts Marriage Contracts and Separation Agreements and represents her clients in the Collaborative Family process, mediations, arbitrations and in court.  Julie obtained her Juris Doctorate degree at Osgoode Hall Law School, and her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from York University.

Julie is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, York Region Family Law Association, and York Collaborative Practice.

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