Toronto’s Top Rated – Divorce Lawyers
Having practiced divorce law in Toronto for over 20 years, I often get asked for referrals when I have a conflict, or my schedule does not permit me to take on new matters. Usually I try to match up the referral with the needs and personality of the particular client or professional asking.
Choosing a lawyer can be a difficult experience. Go with your gut, ask questions and ask other professionals or former clients for recommendations. The key is to have confidence in your counsel together with open and regular communication. You want a lawyer who will listen to your story, show compassion, empathy and a willingness to be a fearless advocate.
There are many great family lawyers in Toronto. This list simply represents some of best of the best in my perspective having worked with these lawyers on common causes or advocated against them in contested motions, hearings and trials. I’m of course excluding my own firm in making this list; however, these are the colleagues that I feel are the ‘top guns’ if you are seeking a Toronto divorce lawyer.
1. Gene C. Colman
Gene and I have been opposing counsel on several contested litigation files. We have recently worked together on the ad hoc Family Law Steering committee. We obtained over 1,000 signatures to keep all family law hearing presumptively remote and raised public awareness of important issues involving access to justice. I have always found Gene to be informed, respectful, and prepared. He will fight for your rights.
Bio: Gene C. Colman is a 1977 graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario bar in 1979. Starting at the province’s first Unified Family Court
in Hamilton and then based in Toronto from 1988, his has dedicated his entire career to family law. While in law school he proposed the model for the Osgoode Intensive Family Law Program and was instrumental in founding the Canadian Journal of Family Law.
Gene C. Colman is a published legal author, whose work has been cited favourably by the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a member of various organizations including the Ontario Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Association for Family & Conciliation Courts, and the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario.
Address: 25 Bowring Walk, North York, ON M3H 5Z8
Phone: (416) 635-9264
2. Lisa Gelman
Lisa manages a firm of close to 20 associates lawyers and is very similar in size as our team at Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers. I have worked successfully with several associates from Lisa’s office and have always found them to be capable advocates. Lisa has also been a role model of mine demonstrating important leadership for the family law bar.
Bio: Lisa Gelman has been practicing family law since 1995 and in 2001 she began the law firm of Gelman & Associates. Currently Gelman & Associates is the biggest family law firm in North York with offices around the GTA. Lisa has a B.A. form the University of Western in political science and an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. Lisa is both passionate and compassionate in her representation of her clients. She gives them the best of both worlds: someone who is tough when she needs to be but who believes in negotiating and settling whenever possible.
Address: 4211 Yonge St #210, North York, ON M2P 2A9
Phone: (416) 736-0200
3. Martha McCarthy
Martha is a renowned Toronto divorce lawyer. We often meet at family law conferences and I have no hesitation in referring clients to Martha as I know they will be in good hands. She also has a team of very capable associate lawyers.
Bio: Martha has practised family law for over 25 years. She was trained by a legendary barrister at a large full-service firm in downtown Toronto and developed into a lawyer with a broad knowledge base about the intersection between family law and the many other areas of law that it touches: corporate law, tax, shareholders’ remedies, trusts, estates, torts, damages, marriage contracts and many others. After spending several years at a large specialist boutique, Martha founded her own firm in 2007 with her clerk Angela and two other lawyers. Now the firm has over fifty employees and operates out of a two-building campus on Davenport Road.
She has received numerous awards, including the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference Hero Award from the Canadian Bar Association (1999), the Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence in Family Law (2007), the Hope and Freedom Award from Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church for her contribution in the progress towards equality (2010) and the Law Society Medal (2013) for outstanding service within the legal profession.
Martha is a Past President of The Advocates’ Society and served on that board for 10 years. She continues to work on law reform projects with The Society relating to family law and access to justice.
Address: 152 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 1J2
4. Aaron Franks
I have known Aaron for most of my professional career and my articling principal, back in the day, would have regular cases with the late and great Phil Epstein. Most of our appellant work is referred to Aaron and his capable team. He is a thought leader for the legal community with his weekly newsletter and case commentaries. Aaron is also a very effective mediator and arbitrator and has built a first class arbitration centre at his Toronto office.
Bio: Experienced in all aspects of family law, Aaron’s clients trust him to recognize the unique complexities of their case and to provide practical solutions that work best for them not only now – but into the future. With extensive legal knowledge and a strategic mindset, he is equally effective at reaching creative, amicable resolutions through negotiation or mediation as he is advocating for his clients in court.
As a partner at Epstein Cole, Aaron’s practice encompasses all areas of family law and the defence of solicitor’s negligence claims. His background in business and finance allow him to skillfully address issues related to property and cross-border issues within the family law context. Aaron’s practice ranges from complex financial issues to national and international child abduction.
Aaron puts his clients’ minds at ease with his calm demeanour, thorough approach, and wit when appropriate. You can expect Aaron to take full ownership of your case, caring not only about the outcome but about you.
Address: 393 University Avenue, Suite 2200 Toronto, ON M5G 1E6
5. William Abbott
William is a very capable Toronto divorce lawyer and also has a strong practice in northern Ontario. A consummate professional, William attends court well prepared with thought out arguments and is an effective advocate for his clients. We have often been on the other side of cases and I have no hesitation in recommending William Abbott if you are seeking an effective divorce lawyer.
Bio: William H. Abbott is an experienced Family Lawyer, known for his detailed preparation and representation as a negotiator and litigator.
- Called to the Ontario Bar in 1995
- Graduate of Bishop’s University 1988
- University of Windsor Law School (1993)
- Known for attention to detail and thorough preparation of materials used in litigation, mediation or arbitration to achieve successful resolution
- Committed to resolving matters efficiently, fairly and without having to resort to litigation
- Thorough and persuasive in court, when litigation is required
- Avid downhill skier, water-skier and traveler
- Have had approximately 100 reported court decisions
- Was recently voted by his peers at the bar to the 2021, 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada
- Member of the Nipissing Law Association
- Contributor to Family Law Education
- Speaker on Family Law at the Canadian Bar Association and other professional organizations
- Contributing author to books written by MacDonald & Partners LLP on various family law subjects
Address: 155 University Ave. Suite 1700 Toronto, ON M5H 3B7