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Changing the way families experience divorce in Ontario

About

Kanata Cowan is a family lawyer, mediator, wife and mom who is passionate about relationships, people and family. She is using her training, industry knowledge and skill to change the way Canadian families experience divorce and separation. She believes that your divorce can be something you can look back on with pride rather than shame.

In 2017 after a series of life changing events, including being robbed, the birth of her daughter, and a long trial Kanata started to look at the way the court system impacted families.  She saw the harm that the family court system caused  both financially and to families future success in parenting in a separated fashion.   Rather than encouraging clients to continue to fight in the system,  she strives to assist families in navigating the legal aspects of their divorce and separation in an amicable and dignified fashion.

I build partnerships with my clients, combining your expertise on you, your spouse, your children and what matters most to you, with my expertise on family law,  negotiation and mediation. We tailor solutions to suit your needs be it mediation, collaborative family law, negotiation, or litigation.

Family Law Services

Mediation

Mediation is a process in which you and your spouse discuss, negotiate and reach agreement with the assistance and support of a mediator. Mediation sessions can take place with or without your lawyers present. Regardless of whether lawyers are present at the mediation sessions or not, each of you will need to have your own lawyer to provide independent legal advice prior to a final agreement being signed. It is usually best to obtain independent legal advice early on in the mediation process to understand the issues. As a mediator, I use the Harvard Law School Interest Based approach to settlement. In our mediation sessions, we will talk about settling the dispute by focusing on what matters to your family as well as ensuring we have all of the legal and financial information in the room.

Collaborative Family Law

In Collaborative Practice, each spouse retains a collaboratively trained lawyer who is focused on settlement at every step of the process. The negotiations take place at settlement meetings with all the players in the room. The negotiations are interest based, meaning there is a full exploration of ‘what matters most,’ along with ensuring that there is a good understanding of the legal and financial information, before solutions are tailored to your family’s circumstances.

One of the key components of Collaborative Practice involves a special retainer with the collaborative lawyer whereby the lawyer is not permitted to represent the client in litigation should the attempt at a collaborative resolution fail. This is a key element of the collaborative process as it keeps both the spouses and the lawyers focused entirely on settlement.

More information about Collaborative Practice can be found at www.collaborativepractice.com, http://www.collabfamlaw.com and www.oclf.ca.

Litigation

When the use of other forms of dispute resolution fail sometimes going to Court is unavoidable. If that situation occurs I have extensive courtroom experience having been successful on trials, motions and appeals. Having litigated for over 10 years in different levels of court and in different jurisdictions across Ontario I understand the court system and its nuances.

Other Services

  • Negotiating and drafting Separation Agreements,  Cohabitation Agreements  & Marriage Contracts
  • General Family Law Consultations & Guidance
  • Preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney
  • Notary Public

Elder Mediation Services

What is Elder Mediation?

Elder mediation provides a forum for family decision-making. It is private, confidential and completely voluntary. Mediators facilitate a settlement focused conversation in which family members are encouraged to express their interests and concerns. Meetings are informal and are held in locations that meet the family’s needs, including private homes, mediators’ offices and senior living facilities. Elder mediation typically involves larger numbers of party’s including older people, family members, friends and others who are willing to give support.

Elder mediation benefits elders, their families, and others in a number of unique ways. It provides an opportunity to explore, in a confidential and safe environment, creative win-win solutions that address a broad range of decisions and conflicts that affect an elder’s life.  Since the elder is often able to participate in mediation, either directly or with the assistance of a lawyer, the elder’s dignity is maintained by having a voice in the life choices that are made.

What typical issues are dealt with?

  • Health and medical care (at home, in the community, in the hospital, continuing care and long term care communities)
  • Progressive dementias and other memory impairments
    Caregiving
  • Financial issues
  • Guardianship issues
  • Housing issues
  • Living arrangements
  • Intergenerational relationship issues
  • New marriages and step-relative issues
  • Religious issues
  • Family business issues
  • Driving issues
  • Abuse, safety issues, self-neglect
  • Legal issues (estate, inheritance, living will, power of attorney etc.)
  • End-of-life planning and decision-making