Is a Happy, Healthy Divorce Even Possible?

I am chair of the Family Law Group at Mills & Mills LLP and practice exclusively in the area of family law, with a particular focus on cases involving domestic violence and spousal abuse. Every month I send out a newsletter full of helpful tips, advice and insights that will help you navigate through family law challenges.

Leanne’s Divorcing Well podcast: Our Happy Divorce

If the phrase “happy divorce” strikes you as an oxymoron, you’re not alone. Even with the best intentions, many former couples struggle to maintain a healthy relationship after they split.

In a recent episode of my Divorcing Well podcast, I spoke with Ben Heldfond and Nikki DeBartolo, authors of Our Happy Divorce, about the challenges they had to overcome during and after their divorce to ensure their son was happy.

Ben and Nikki share the steps they took to forge a healthy friendship, starting with accepting responsibility and forgiving each other.

It’s been 14 years since their divorce and both have since remarried. Their blended family is a blueprint for parents intent on ensuring their children thrive following divorce.

Listen to the episode on Apple or Spotify.

Judge lays down the law on ‘litigation nonsense’

The past year hasn’t been an easy one for divorced and separated parents. As they adjusted to a strange new normal during a global pandemic, many parents at odds with their ex over COVID safety protocols and other issues concerning their children took to the courts to settle their disputes.


The family court system was backlogged long before COVID, but the increase in activity is placing an even bigger strain on court resources. 

In my recent post, I explore a couple of legal decisions to provide insight into how judges are resolving conflicts for those involved with the family law system.

Read more

The Dish on Divorce: Kim & Kanye, prenups and mental health

Mental health and addiction issues often contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. When one spouse is struggling with depression or another serious challenge, not only does it limit their ability to be an effective parent, it can also have devastating emotional and financial impacts for the entire family.

In our premiere episode of The Dish on Divorce, Accredited Mediator Jennifer Barkin and I explore mental health through the lens of divorce. We discuss the factors the court considers in determining which parent should have decision-making responsibility for the children in these cases.

On the show, we also talk about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s impending divorce and if their prenup will affect the outcome of their divorce.

Catch the replay here and drop us a comment on what you would like to see in upcoming episodes.

In the news

Changes to the Divorce Act

I was recently interviewed by CBC’s Carole MacNeil to discuss the impact of the most significant amendments to Canada’s Divorce Act in the last 20 years.

One important change to the law is the formal recognition of family violence, including physical, psychological and financial abuse, as a factor in determining the best interests of the children.

We know from research and a litany of devastating stories that in families where violence is present, the abuse often escalates during separation and divorce, putting a spouse and their children at risk.

The amendments also include changes to the legal terminology used in divorce orders that aim to reduce the conflict between divorcing parents.

Check out the full interview here.

Serving clients during COVID-19

As we navigate the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
the safety and well-being of clients is my top priority. Social distancing is vital right now to prevent the spread of the virus so I will continue to work with clients through virtual meetings. If you have any questions or concerns about your family law matter or would like to schedule a meeting, please reach out to me by email.


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 Lawyer and Divorce Coach
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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