Considerations for Filing a Damages Claim Under the New Family Violence Tort

Leanne Townsend is the founding partner of Townsend Family Law. Each month, our team sends out a newsletter full of helpful tips, advice and insights to help you navigate through family law challenges.


Considerations for abuse survivors for filing a legal claim under the new tort of family violence

In a landmark legal decision earlier this year, an Ontario judge gave victims of domestic violence recourse to seek compensation from their abusers through the creation of the new tort of family violence.

In Ahluwalia v. Ahluwalia, 2022 ONSC 1303, Justice Mandhane ordered a man to pay his ex-wife $150,000 in punitive damages for the violence and abuse she experienced during their marriage.

On a recent episode of Divorcing Well, Leanne sat down with Darlene Rites, a fellow family law lawyer and mediator, to talk about the implications of the new tort, including the challenges victims may face if they decide to proceed with a claim.

For instance, if a victim has a legitimate claim against an offending party with limited means, it may not be worth the time, money, energy and stress associated with filing a lawsuit.

Both Leanne and Darlene recommend scheduling a consultation with a family law lawyer who has experience handling cases involving family violence. They will be able to assess your situation and provide a legal opinion on the merits of moving forward with the case.

Please share this episode with someone you think might find the information useful.

Listen on Apple or Spotify.

Introducing Townsend Family Law’s newest team member: Nina Kapferer

Townsend Family Law is pleased to announce that Nina Kapferer has joined the team as a student at law.

Nina will be called to the Bar of Ontario in November of 2022, at which time she will assume the role of associate at the firm.

A reliable team player and empathetic advocate, Nina has experience in family law ranging from divorce to child protection. and she is passionate about empowering fellow women.

As a recent graduate from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University, Nina has a keen interest in access to justice and Indigenous legal issues.

If you would like to reach out to Nina, you can contact her here.

Professional guidance more useful to people considering divorce than advice from family, friends: study

An emerging form of therapy known as discernment counselling could help couples who are considering divorce find clarity around their decision, according to a new study.

That’s one of the key findings from an analysis of 745 married individuals by the University of Alberta researchers, which found that 80 per cent of people mulling the idea of divorce turn to friends, websites, and self-help books for advice, but avoid professional help.

That combination of ambiguity and lack of professional guidance can prevent people from effectively sorting through their feelings and coming to a decision that lets them move forward, says study co-author Adam Galovan, a family scientist in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

“If one partner wants to hang on to the relationship and work it out, but the other person doesn’t, having the opportunity to talk through that decision helps them get on the same page. If the person clinging to the relationship doesn’t have that help, the default is that the divorce goes forward and they have to struggle with the implications.”

Highlights from Divorce Explained

Every week, Leanne Townsend co-hosts an Instagram Live show with family lawyer Steve Benmor, where they discuss issues on the minds of those who are divorced or divorcing. Here are the topics from a couple of recent shows. Click on the photo to check out the full episode.

Tread carefully if your child is refusing to see their other parent

What happens if your children don’t want to see their other parent during their scheduled parenting time? In this episode, we explore some factors that may be influencing children’s emotions in these scenarios and discuss potential solutions for parents.

A divorced parent’s guide to relocating

For divorced parents, relocating for work or other reasons can be more complicated than expected. In this episode, we explain the hurdles co-parents who share responsibility for their children will need to overcome if they want to move — in light of updates to the Divorce Act.

Looking for more information?

Looking for more information on what to expect during a divorce, abusive relationships, love and money, life after divorce or other family law topics?

Check out the In the News and Blog sections of my website where there’s a wealth of great content to get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

Leanne Townsend, Family Lawyer

Partner, Brauti Thorning LLP
Brookfield Place161 Bay Street,
Suite 2900,
Toronto, ON M5J 2S1

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Leanne Townsend is a multifaceted entrepreneur and attorney experienced in the areas of family law and domestic violence. She provides a full range of family law legal services in addition to running workshops and other programs to support people as they go through divorce.

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