Family Law for Financial and Legal Professionals: The Basics, and Critical Need to Know Issues

This course, which is jam-packed with information and excellent speakers, is a two-part course running from November 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and November 10, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

9 Nov 2021, 10:00 AM and 10 Nov 2021, 10:00 AM

12 CPD hours


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Course Description

Please see below for the two-day schedule:

November 9th



1. Top Issues in Property & Income Valuations (10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.)Melanie Russell, CPA, CA, CBV, CIM, CFE, CFF, ABV of Kalex Valuations Inc.
2. Estate Freezes and Family Law (10:50 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.) 

Karon Bales, J.D. of Bales Beall LLP
3. Special Treatment of the "Matrimonial Home" in Family Law (11:50 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.)

Julie Layne, J.D. of Layne Family Law Professional Corporation
4. The Neutral Advantage (12:50 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.)Carrie Heinzl, HBSc., CDFA of Fairmore Family Law Financial Solutions
5. Tax Issues in Family Law (2:00 p.m. to 2:55 p.m.)

Alex Ghani, CPA CA, CGA, CPA (Texas) of CPA Solutions LLP
6. Child and Spousal Support and Determining Income for Support Purposes - The Basics and Common Issues (3:00 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.)

Maxine Kerr, B.A., LL.B., M.B.A.
7. Duties of a Financial Expert (4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)Todd Slonim, LL.B., Acc. FM of Devry Smith Frank LLP

November 10th



1. Separation Mortgages (10:00 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.) John Panagakos, Founder of Separation Mortgages

2. A Better Divorce: Steering Your Separating Clients into the Collaborative Process (10:30 a.m. to 11:25 a.m.) Alison Anderson, CFP, CFDS, AC
Ellen Nightingale, LL.B, ACP, Principal of Ellen Nightingale Family Law
Laurie Stein, LL.B, MSW, RSW, ACP

3. How to Set Boundaries Between Clients in Crisis (11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.) Risa Ennis, B.A., Acc FM (OAFM), M.A. of Risa Ennis Family Mediation and Counselling Services
4.  Alternatives to Litigation (12:30 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.)

Jessica Braude, J.D. of Christen Seaton Burrison Hudani LLP
5. Protecting Wealth - Marriage Contracts and Cohabitation Agreements (2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

Rachel E. Baron, B.A., J.D., AccFM, FDRP Med.
6. Excluded Property & Gifts - Treatment Including Income Therefrom (2:50 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.) Julie Zimmerman, J.D. of Bortolussi Family Law
7. Tax Issues and the ‘Orderly and Equitable’ Settlement of Property and Equalization Issues in Family Law
(3:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Alison Pengelley, J.D. of Epstein & Associates

Course Walkthrough

  • Melanie Russell's Presentation
  • Melanie Russell's Recording
  • Karon Bales' Materials
  • Karon Bales' Recording
  • Julie Layne's Presentation
  • Julie Layne's Presentation
  • Carrie Heinzl's Recording
  • Alex Ghani's Presentation
  • Alex Ghani's Recording
  • Maxine Kerr's Presentation
  • Maxine Kerr's Recording
  • Todd Slonim's Recording
  • John Panagakos' Presentation
  • John Panagakos' Recording
  • Alison, Ellen and Laurie's Recording
  • Risa Ennis' Recording
  • Jessica Braude's Presentation
  • Jessica Braude's Recording
  • Rachel Baron's Presentation
  • Rachel Baron's Recording
  • Julie Zimmerman's Presentation
  • Julie Zimmernan's Recording
  • Alison Pengelley's Presentation
  • Alison Pengelley's Recording
  • Certificate: Family Law Full Day Webinar
  • Feedback / comments

About the Instructor(s)

Picture of Alison Anderson
Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson CFP CFDS ACP

Alison Anderson is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist, trained family mediator and holds the designation as an Advanced Collaborative Professional.  Alison’s practice is a fee-based service located in Toronto and devoted to clients going through separation and divorce.   She is a member of the Toronto and York Collaborative Practice Associations, currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a trainer for Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice.  As the financial neutral in a Collaborative model, Alison’s role is that of a neutral, unbiased party assisting both spouses to understand all the financial aspects to their situation and helping to remove potential barriers that could impede or slow the settlement process.

Picture of Karon Bales
Karon Bales

Karon C. Bales is a founding partner of Bales Beall LLP whose experience speaks for itself.  Her practice is centred on family law, wills and estates issues.  Her experience in trial and appellate advocacy in family law and estate matters is extensive, particularly with those involving partnerships, business corporations and commercial issues.

Karon also provides sound guidance with estate administration and planning, domestic and off-shore trusts, and succession planning for owners of family businesses.  Her expertise also extends to mediations, as she has been conducting private mediations for over 10 years in the areas of family law and estate litigation – most often in cases where those two areas of the law intersect. 

Bales Beall LLP has been listed in the top Wills, Trust and Estates Boutique Firms in Canada since 2017 by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Karon is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law and in Family Law.  She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and an Academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. She is the President of the Canadian Chapter, IAFL.  Karon is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto Law School.  She has been listed in Best Lawyers – Canada since 2006. 

Karon's articles on the intersection of family law and estates issues have been published in the Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal and in the Ontario Family Law Reporter.

Karon has been involved in community charities, including currently as a Governor of the Stratford Festival of Canada, Director and Chair of the Board of the Seeing Eye Organization (Canada), Trustee of the Seeing Eye Inc., and as past chair of Nightwood Theatre, which promotes Canadian women in contemporary theatre.
Picture of Rachel Baron
Rachel Baron

Rachel E. Baron B.A. J.D. AccFM,  FDRP  Med.  is a graduate  ofOsgoode Hall  Law  School, 1987. Rachel is a sole practitioner in Toronto, Ontario, practicing family  law,  with a  particular focus on Marriage Contracts and Cohabitation Agreements,  custody,  support  and  property disputes. From 1993 to 2005, Rachel was an instructor for the Bar  Admission Family  Law course for Interviewing, Advocacy, Civil Procedure, Negotiation and Examiner of civil motions.

Rachel was a member of the examination team for the Family Law Bar Admission Course, Law Society of Upper Canada from 2000 to 2005, for the Examination Team for the Barrister's and Solicitor's Examination Item Development Workshop, Law Society of Upper Canada, from 2004 to 2005, and for the writing and editing of the Bar Admission Reference Material on Divorce, Marriage and Annulment, from 2001 to 2005. Rachel was a regular speaker for the Family Information Session, Superior Court of Justice from 1999 to 2005. She has been a speaker at the Ontario Bar Association, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development, Ryerson University and the Institute of Law Clerks for Ontario. Rachel is a Family Law Mediator and received training at The Advocates Society Harvard Mediation Course in 1999. Rachel was appointed a Dispute Resolution Officer for the Superior Court of Justice in October 2003 and has mediated hundreds of case conferences and motions to change. In 2010, Rachel received her Certificate of Advanced Mediation from the University of Windsor Law School. In 2015, Rachel received her Accredited Family Mediator designation from the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. In 2017, Rachel received a certified specialist designation in mediation from the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario.

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 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 Alex Ghani
Alex Ghani


CPA CA, CGA, CPA (Texas)

Alex has close to 20 years of experience working in the accounting departments of large companies and as a public practitioner. Over the years, Alex helped many private clients with their tax structuring and estate planning needs.  Alex also assists in Canadian and US tax compliance and various other tax related matters.  

Alex is heavily involved in the tax community and is a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation (CTF) where he has published articles for the CTF and presented at various events for the CTF.

In addition, Alex has also presented at events for CPA Ontario, accounting groups and other industry specific events.  He also facilitates the CPA Canada In-depth tax course.

Picture of Carrie Heinzl
Carrie Heinzl

In 2012, Carrie co-founded Fairmore Family Law Financial Solutions to offer independent, fact-based financial analytics and settlement insights to individuals and couples working through separation and divorce.

Carrie is a graduate of the University of Toronto as a Psychology Specialist (BSc. Hon.), a master’s candidate in Forensic and Legal Psychology (University of Leicester, UK), and holds a Graduate Certificate in Court and Tribunal work. Carrie is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and has Level I and II Collaborative Family Law certification. Carrie has taught statistics, research methodologies and psychology at college and university levels. Carrie serves on the Board of Directors of York Collaborative Practice and Durham Collaborative Practice, and is an active member in Durham Collaborative Practice, York Collaborative Practice, Kawartha Collaborative Practice and Collaborative Practice Toronto. Carrie has been developing education programs focused on legal, individual and financial engagement of those people within the Family Law system for over a decade. Most recently, in 2018 Carrie co-authored the presentation for “Saving the Golden Goose – How collaborative practice can have family business thrive and survive divorce” and presented at the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario Annual Conference; and at the 2018 October’s Annual Conference of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals held at Seattle, Washington. Carrie is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada holding a Paralegal License and a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

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 Julie Layne
Julie Layne

Julie Layne, principal of boutique firm Layne Family Law, practises in all aspects of family law matters including separation, divorce, cohabitation/marriage contracts, changes to previous orders and agreements.

Ms. Layne received a J.D. Law from the University of Toronto in 2002 after obtaining an Honours Bachelor of Arts, High Distinction, Political Science and International Development in 1998.

In 2013 Ms. Layne obtained her Masters in Family Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.  She also completed her certification and training in Collaborative Family Law.

Ms. Layne is trained and experienced in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law and litigation. She negotiates agreements with other parties and if necessary has the experience to represent clients in court to get results.

She enhances her practical work experience by advancing her knowledge and skills through academic and non-profit experience.

Ms. Layne sits as the Secretary of the Ontario Bar Association Family Law Section where she volunteers her time serving and advocating on behalf of the family law bar in Ontario.

She is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the York Region Bar Association and the Advocates Society.

Picture of Ellen Nightingale
Ellen Nightingale

Ellen Nightingale has been a Family Law lawyer for 40 years.  Her practice is located in Toronto and is devoted to resolving conflict by peaceful means. 

She is a board member of Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals and past chair of Collaborative Divorce Toronto. 

Her services enable clients to create wise, customized solutions, maintain important relationships and provide peace of mind.

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 Alison Pengelley
Alison Pengelley

Picture of Melanie Russell
Melanie Russell

Melanie E. Russell, CPA, CA, CBV, CFE, CIM, CFF, ABV – her current practice focuses on business valuations, litigation support and dispute analysis, financial/forensic investigations, corporate finance and education. She has qualified as an expert witness in the areas of valuation, forensic accounting, income analyses and loss of income calculations in a number of cases in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court and the Federal Court of Canada. She has also acted as an accounting expert in arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings (e.g., collaborative family practice), and negotiated a number of buy/sell transactions. She has taught at various institutions, authored various articles and professional material, and has had a number of years marking, authoring and co-ordinating professional examinations including the CICBV Membership Qualifying Examination.

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 Laurie Stein
Laurie Stein

Laurie Stein LLB, MSW, RSW, ACP (Accredited Advanced Collaborative Professional)

Laurie is a child, youth, individual and family therapist, mediator and Family Professional. In Collaborative family law, she works closely with clients and lawyers both in individual and joint meetings integrating semi-therapeutic and strategic and narrative approaches. As well, she works with parents to create a parenting plan, discuss parenting and child adjustment, and facilitates the larger team meetings. Laurie has trained widely in the Ontario Collaborative community, and is a trainer with multiple training teams and partners, including the Toronto Collaborative Training Team and is a faculty member with the IACP (International Academy of Collaborative Professionals).

Laurie has 31 years clinical experience working with families, children and teens in treatment and mental health settings and private practice. In addition to her therapy, mediation and Family Professional practice, her past experience includes working with children and youth as a children’s lawyer.

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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