Separation and divorce is hard on everyone. The adults have to manage their own as well as their children’s emotions. They also have to understand the meaning and consequences of foreign legal terminology and concepts. If you are involved in a matrimonial matter, it is important to retain a Family Law specialist who “has your back” and who understands and will clearly explain the advantages, disadvantages and financial implications of the different options that you will be asked to consider.
Anthony Macri has practiced exclusively Family Law for almost twenty years. He has represented married and unmarried parties, parents, child protection agencies, and children in a wide range of Family Law matters. He has appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal. In fact, counsel frequently refers files to Anthony to conduct the appeal.
Anthony takes the time to understand the family dynamic, personalities, and cultural influences. “I love this part of my job. I believe that every family situation is unique, and take my time to figure out all of the moving pieces. This step is crucial because it helps me to identify the best and the most appropriate option for the family. A ‘cookie cutter’ approach can never address the unique needs of the adults and the children within a specific family unit,” Anthony says.
There are a variety of solutions for each family. These include: Separation and Divorce in Court – Sometimes court is the only option for families. If court is the only recourse, Anthony will advise you on the best way to use court to achieve your goals for a speedy resolution.
Mediation and Arbitration – Before a family resorts to the court system, it should consider mediation. Anthony is an accredited mediator who can help your family settle its dispute before things get costly and out of control. For example, in a recent divorce case, the parties were in substantial agreement on the child custody and access issues, but were nowhere near an agreement on spousal support or equalization. Anthony encouraged the parties to mediate the child issues to clarify any uncertainty. Once the child issues were addressed, the parties moved to court to resolve the more challenging matters. Within a short period of time, all of the remaining issues were settled to his client’s satisfaction.
Sometimes you need someone to settle the dispute between the parties if mediation has failed. A quicker and more effective way to settle the dispute is to have Anthony arbitrate, or decide, the issue. Since Anthony is already familiar with the family dynamic through the mediation process, he understands the issues. This saves time and money. A relatively speedy resolution also allows your family to move on with their lives.
Parenting Coordination – Once parties have a parenting plan in place, they sometimes need to fine-tune the plan when differences or the unexpected occurs. Parenting coordination is the process of implementing a parenting plan, first through mediation and, if that fails, through arbitration. In these situations, Anthony acts as a parenting coordinator. This is often a speedy and cost-effective method of solving a parenting dispute.
Child Protection – Sometimes government child protection authorities become involved. “If it is a child protection case, because I understand how the child protection system works, I can correctly advise clients about what they can do to maximize the chances of keeping their children with them and/or getting their children returned as quickly as possible. Clients appreciate this,” the Family Law specialist says.
Anthony’s unique Family Law background includes eleven years as Legal Counsel with The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. While at CAS, he saw the high emotional and financial cost of Family Law matters on parents with mental health and addiction issues and on children with their own issues.
Children are often the first casualties in a separation and divorce. “Because I look at things in a holistic way, I am mindful that many of my clients’ children have learning and mental health challenges that need to be addressed. Parents may need help to develop a Parenting Plan that could involve a variety of specialists, including child psychiatrists, child psychologists and other teaching professionals. Because I always focus on minimizing the impact of separation and divorce on my clients and their children, I am determined to find the most appropriate, and cost-effective solution for everyone,” Anthony says.
There are three fundamental values that underpin Anthony’s approach to every Family Law file:
1. Identifying options that are cost effective and that minimize the negative effect on you and your children.
2. Educating clients on the issues themselves (such as custody, access, child support, spousal support and equalization), and the available settlement options (including negotiation, mediation, arbitration or court involvement).
3. Ensuring clients are always aware of what’s happening on their files. The legal process can be challenging and slow. Knowing how to respond and what is happening is critical for any parent involved in the process.
Every family is different and it is important to identify the option that is best for all family members. Anthony takes the time to explain all of the different scenarios, such as negotiating a settlement between the parties, negotiating with the assistance of lawyers, using mediation to agree to a settlement, or resorting to an arbitrator or a judge to settle the dispute.
Testimonials from clients confirm these values in action. One client said, “…His background means he stays focused on what’s best for a whole family and not just you. He knows that when there are kids involved, they should be the priority, and he’s not afraid to remind you of that – and that’s a good thing.”
Another client said, “…Anthony always makes himself available to answer any questions or concerns…respects our time together, and explains the legal processes in a way that creates comfort and understanding…”
Anthony’s peers also consider him a Child Protection subject-matter expert, and he regularly teaches Family Law and Child Protection Law best practices to other lawyers through the Family Lawyers Association’s ( www.flao.org ) “311 Open Bar Series” - he has also served on the FLAO Board since 2002.
Anthony also served on the Board of The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (Ontario Chapter). AFCC is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict ( http://www.afccnet.org ) and Access for Parents and Children in Ontario. APCO is a non-profit organization that provides supervised access to separated families. ( http://www.accessforparentsandchildren.on.ca/ ).
Anthony believes that charity begins at home, and focuses his volunteer activities on organizations that assist the disadvantaged in his community. He regularly volunteers as a cook for his church’s, “Out of the Cold” Program. When he is not helping clients, teaching, or giving back to the community, Anthony spends as much time as possible with his two teenaged sons, and Charlie, his nine-year old standard poodle.
“In my first year as a lawyer, I worked for firms that specialized in corporate law and international trade. My job was to help clients, major international companies, make more money and pay less tax. After I became a parent however, these big money fights began to get tedious. I wanted a career where I was helping real people with real problems, and where I could make an impact on people’s lives, not just on an organization’s bottom line. That’s when I switched my practice and began to focus exclusively on Family Law. I haven’t regretted my decision for one second. Besides finding the secret to world peace or a cure for cancer, I can’t think of anything more important than helping clients make the best decision for themselves and their children at such a critical time,” Anthony concludes.
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
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