A tailored approach to find the best solution for your future

Deborah will work with you and your spouse to find the best solution to resolve issues that often arise in a divorce or separation. There are many different ways to come to an agreement without going to court, while also reducing the cost for both parties so you can move forward with your future.


I always begin by discussing with my clients the possibility of mediation. I am a firm believer in the role of mediation in family law as a process where couples can work together with the help of a mediator to resolve issues and create an Agreement that will work for all concerned.

Mediation is a process whereby both you and your partner sit down with a mediator to work through all of the issues arising from your separation. These issues usually include the division of your assets, parenting arrangements if you have children, and possibly monthly payments for either you, your partner or your children.

The mediation process is extremely effective and approximately 80% to 90% of all of the mediations which I have participated in result in settlement of all of the issues. Mediation is effective because it allows you to meet in a professional but non-confrontational setting and to explain your needs and concerns directly to each other without placing two lawyers in the middle of your discussions.

If you are able to reach agreement through mediation it is an agreement that is acceptable to both you and your partner rather than a solution that is imposed by the court. It is more likely that the agreement will be complied with in the future because it is an agreement which the two of you have created. In some cases, mediation is not an option. If this is the case, negotiation or collaborative law are other viable options for resolution of the issue.


If mediation is not an option, we can attempt to resolve the issues through a negotiation process. This may take the form of meetings with your spouse and their lawyer or simply by communicating via letters and phone calls.

It is extremely important to make every possible effort to resolve your issues through negotiation before resorting to litigation as it reduces the cost significantly and it allows you to reach solutions without having solutions imposed on you by a court.

Usually, during the negotiation process, you will be able to resolve all of the issues but if you are not able to do this you will probably be able to resolve most of the issues leaving only a few unresolved issues to be determined by the court.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is a vital part of family law and consists of a process where you and your spouse agree to work together in a collaborative effort to resolve your issues. This process is very similar to mediation, but has the added benefit that each party commits to the process by signing the participation agreement. The participation agreement requires the parties to communicate respectfully and share all information with each other and it states that if the parties are not able to resolve their issues, they will retain different lawyers to commence a court action on their behalf.
I encourage participation in a cooperative process, whether it be through collaborative law or mediation and I would discuss with you whether or not it is in your best interests to enter into the collaborative law process.

For more information regarding Collaborative Law, please visits the Collaborative Family Law (CFL) website at:  www.collaborativefamilylawgroup.com.


Mediation and/or negotiation can reduce your costs significantly and generally lead to a more satisfactory resolution of the problems. Occasionally, however, it is necessary to involve the family law courts and have a judge decide the issues. I no longer include litigation as part of my practice, as I have found that over 90% of my clients are able to settle their issues without resorting to litigation. If, however, litigation becomes necessary, I will refer clients to counsel who can assist with this process.

Other Family Law


The law in British Columbia states that people who live together may be responsible to share assets and to support each other or their children in the event of a separation. A cohabitation agreement allows you to create a contract, which states whether or not you wish to share your assets and to set out your wishes in regard to supporting each other or your partner’s children in the event of a separation.


Prenuptial and marriage agreements are the same thing. The law in British Columbia creates specific obligations for married people in regard to the division of assets and maintenance. A marriage agreement is a contract signed by a couple who either are about to marry or are already married and it sets out your wishes in regard to the division of assets and maintenance responsibilities for spouses and children in the event of separation or divorce.


A separation agreement is a contract which you sign after deciding to separate and it sets out who gets which assets, who will be caring for your children and any child or spousal maintenance responsibilities.


In British Columbia, a divorce can be obtained once you and your spouse have been separated for one year. A divorce can be obtained sooner if one person has committed adultery or there has been any mental or physical abuse. It takes three to four months to complete the divorce after the year has expired. Usually, couples will set out their financial obligations and the division of their assets in a separation agreement prior to obtaining a divorce and the divorce is obtained simply to dissolve the marriage.

Wills & Estates


Making a valid will is important to do at any stage in your life.  Having a will in place means that your estate will be administered according to your wishes and will not leave your loved ones without direction.  When drafting your will, it is important to consider the division of your estate including your personal belongings, investments, businesses and property.  You may also wish to include clauses concerning guardianship of your minor children, cash gifts, donations to charity and funeral wishes.

I can help you develop a sound document, which will support your executor and trustee in fulfilling your wishes after your death.  Having a valid, legal will can lessen the burden on your executor and trustee and make it easier for him or her to administer your estate in a timely and efficient manner, avoiding unnecessary expenses while protecting your loved ones’ interests.


If you have been appointed as the executor of a will or you wish to be appointed as the administrator of an estate for someone who has died without a will, you will have numerous tasks and responsibilities ahead of you and the scope of this role can be overwhelming.  I can assist you with the steps needed to prepare an application to the court for an estate grant which will confirm your appointment and allow you to administer the estate.  It is advantageous for the family and loved ones of the deceased to settle the estate in a timely manner and with the least cost.  I can meet with you and together we can determine which tasks you as executor can perform to keep cost to a minimum and which tasks you need help with.  Having the expertise of an estate lawyer to support you during the estate administration can make the cumbersome duty of executorship more manageable.


Unsure about the correct course of action? Contact us to book a consultation to discuss your situation and find the best way to move forward.