Ontario's top family lawyers in 2021

Find out who Ontario’s top family lawyers are based on Lexpert’s latest extensive yearly peer survey. The full roster of Ontario’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field can be viewed on our practice area rankings.

In our survey, family law covers issues involving family matters and domestic relations, including marriage, adoption and surrogacy, child protective proceedings, juvenile law and paternity. The lawyers included in our peer review also represent clients in different family court proceedings or related negotiations and can draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements.

Most frequently recommended family lawyers

Herschel Fogelman

Law firm: Fogelman Law

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Herschel Fogelman and is the founder and principal of Fogelman Law in Toronto. He has been practising family law since for 30 years. Fogelman is an experienced counsel, mediator and arbitrator, helping clients navigate and settle complex and sensitive family law matters. He pioneered Customized Case Management (CCM), an online software that provides tailor-made time and issue management within an arbitration agreement, streamlines dispute resolution and ensures issues are managed by a subject matter expert. Fogelman has been appointed as a dispute resolution officer for the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. He is also a frequent presenter at Ontario Bar Association, Osgoode Professional Development, The Advocates' Society and other continuing legal education programs.

Aaron M. Franks

Law firm: Epstein Cole LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998

Aaron M. Franks is a partner at Epstein Cole LLP, which he joined in 2004. Franks specializes in all areas of family law, including Hague matters, complex jurisdiction and financial disputes. He acts as mediator and arbitrator in private matters and as advice counsel for lawyers in other provinces and internationally. Franks conducts lectures and writes frequently on family law topics for several publications. He is past co-chair The Six Minute Family Lawyer at the Law Society of Ontario. Franks is also an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, teaching family law and a former instructor for the Bar Admission Course. He previously served as director of The Advocates’ Society and is currently a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

George Karahotzitis

Law firm: Thomson Rogers

Year called to the Bar: 2002

George Karahotzitis is a partner at Thomson Rogers. He devotes his practice to matrimonial litigation and matters involving commercial disputes. Karahotzitis has co-authored several articles used in continuing legal education seminars. He is also a regular speaker at seminars conducted by the Law Society of Ontario, the National Judicial Institute, Osgoode Professional Development and The Advocates’ Society. Karahotzitis co-chairs the Complex Issues series of conferences held by Osgoode Professional Development related to complex issues in family law.

Daniel Melamed

Law firm: Torkin Manes LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1988

Daniel Melamed serves as partner at Torkin Manes LLP. He is a certified family law specialist and a fully qualified mediator and arbitrator. Melamed assists clients and other family lawyers in resolving property, spousal and child support matters. He is also involved in the determination of income, valuation of multinational and privately held corporations, stock options and senior executive pensions. Melamed provides counsel regarding the forensic investigation of hidden offshore assets. His practice also includes complex custody and access issues involving jurisdictional disputes and blended and extended families. Melamed is the preferred counsel to The Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO), an insurance provider for lawyers in Ontario, to defend family lawyers who are facing claims of negligence. He is also a member of the Family Rules Committee in Ontario, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) and the Ontario Bar Association.

Read more about Torkin Manes LLP on cannabis sector litigation

Consistently recommended family lawyers

Sarah M. Boulby

Law firm: Boulby Weinberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Sarah M. Boulby is a partner at Boulby Weinberg LLP. She advises local and international clients on complex support, property and parenting issues. She also negotiates agreements and represents clients in court at the trial and appellate level and in mediations and arbitrations. Boulby is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and past president of its Canadian Chapter. She is also a member of the Law Alumni Association Council of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, director of the Trial Lawyers Association and the chair of the association’s family and estates committee. Boulby speaks and writes frequently on family law issues. She is the author of educational material used by the Law Society of Ontario in its licensing process.

Brenda Christen

Law firm: Christen Seaton Burrison Hudani LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987

Brenda Christen is a lawyer and mediator at Christen Seaton Burrison Hudani LLP. She has acted on cases relating to mobility, support, income, and property at both the trial and appellate levels. Christen earned her law degree from the Dalhousie University Law School in 1985. She focuses on mediation and arbitration.

James B.C. Edney

Law firm: Blaney McMurtry LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

James B.C. Edney is a partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP. He devotes his practice to complex financial disputes, including support claims and property claims relating to family trusts, business valuation, income determination and offshore assets. Edney is certified as a specialist in family law by the Law Society of Ontario and has experience in all resolution methods, including negotiated settlements, mediations, arbitrations, motions and trials. He is often retained when prior counsel has failed to conclude a matter due to complex financial issues, inter-vivos trusts, death of a spouse or difficult procedural or evidentiary issues.

Cheryl Goldhart

Law firm: Goldhart & Associates

Year called to the Bar: 1987

Cheryl Goldhart is a barrister at Goldhart & Associates and a certified specialist in family law, which she has been practising since being called to the Bar. She specializes in negotiating complex agreements in all areas of family law and litigates in all levels of Ontario courts. Goldhart is also an accomplished mediator and arbitrator. She is the past chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s family law executive and past member of the Canadian Bar Association’s family law executive. Goldhart is also co-chair of the Family Law Section of The Advocates' Society, dispute resolution officer (DRO) at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and chair of the DRO Committee of the Toronto Superior Court of Justice. She is a past member of the Panel of the Children’s Lawyer of Ontario and a standing member of the bench and bar committee of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto). Goldhart is also currently a director of The Advocates' Society. She is a frequent lecturer on various topics in family law. Over her years of practice, Goldhart has written numerous articles for the Bar Admission Course, professional journals, periodicals and magazines and has appeared in the media as an expert in family law.

Kelly D. Jordan

Law firm: Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Kelly D. Jordan is the principal lawyer at Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm in Toronto. She practises in the areas of family and fertility law and wills and estates. Jordan is certified as a specialist in family law by the Law Society of Ontario and is an accredited family mediator. She boasts expertise in family law issues pertaining to the gay and lesbian community and assisted human reproduction. Jordan is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. She is a past chair of the Ontario and Canadian Bar Association, Family Law Sections and a current member of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Jordan is a frequent lecturer and author on issues pertaining to family and fertility law and co-author of Canadian Family and Immigration Law in 2015 for Carswell. She is also a contributing author to Property and Support Rights and Obligations Under Ontario Family Law for Canada Law Book, to LGBTQ2+ Law: Practice Issues and Analysis for Emond Publishing and to Wilson on Children and Law for LexisNexis on assisted reproduction. Jordan is an adjunct professor at Queen’s University Faculty of Law.