KELLY D. JORDAN
Kelly D. Jordan has practiced family law in Toronto for over two decades. Her vast family law experience,creative approach to legal strategy and compassion towards the families she represents have made her a trusted and recognizable name in the field of family law in Ontario and across Canada.
Kelly was co-counsel on three precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada family law cases - Baker vs. Francis (1999) regarding child support for high income payors, Miglin vs. Miglin (2002) about the treatment of Separation Agreements, and Trial Lawyers Association vs. B.C. in relation to access to justice for family law litigants (2014).
Her legal credentials have been endorsed by a number of notable industry organizations - The Law Society of Upper Canada recognized Kelly as a Family Law specialist and she was acknowledged as a Leading Canadian Lawyer by Lexpert (www.lexpert.ca) and Best Lawyers (https://www.bestlawyers.com/). Kelly has also chaired both the Ontario and the Canadian Bar Associations - Family Law Sections and is a Fellow of The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (www.aarta.org).
Hungry for a change, Kelly founded Kelly D. Jordan Family Law in late 2017 after over 20 years of practice. Her firm specializes in all aspects of family law including separation and divorce, parenting, spousal and child support, cohabitation and marriage agreements as well as adoption, fertility and surrogacy law, assisted reproduction and wills and estates.
“We act for payors and recipients, mothers and fathers, those seeking a property division and those entitled to one. Our family law experts are experienced in a variety of resolution options such as negotiation with the help of lawyers, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. I am a hands-on manager and mentor and train my associates on how to approach clients’ files. I always closely supervise my professional staff throughout the process,” Kelly explains.
My Business Magazine caught up with Kelly D. Jordan to discuss her experience and to find out how she approaches family law matters.
MBM: What is creative legal thinking and how do you apply this in your practice?
KDJ: Much of the work that family lawyers do is technical in nature - ensuring clients have completed the appropriate forms and affidavits, filing documents with the court, and making certain the continuing record is accurate and complete. Creative legal thinking moves beyond the paperwork and incorporates the creative use of soft skills such as looking for the most strategic and cost-effective solutions for a specific family, having excellent negotiation skills, knowing how to interact effectively with difficult people (including opposing counsel), having great communication and emotional intelligence skills, and being compassionate towards the families involved.
For example, during a long-term marriage, one spouse might have had primary responsibility for the children, while the other advanced his/her career. At the end of the marriage, both partners have aspirations and worries. The non-income earning spouse may want to re-enter the workforce but does not want to be penalized for trying to do so; the income-earning spouse may be concerned about financing the family for an indefinite period.
Both of these situations cry out for creativity. How do we incent and encourage the lower income spouse? How do we ensure the higher income spouse continues to work at full potential and to have a meaningful relationship with the children? In this instance, the spouses have different yet complimentary objectives. Creativity involves coming up with a resolution that works for both.
MBM: What types of family law services do you offer?
KDJ: Our law firm is not limited in the ways in which we can represent you, whether in court or in mediation. We can also assist you in drafting and negotiating a number of different family law agreements including:
Parenting: When parents do not live together, they must agree on how to share their parenting rights and obligations.
Separation Agreements: Most couples are able to resolve the issues arising from their separation including parenting concerns or financial issues with the assistance of lawyers.
Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts: Whether married or unmarried, cohabiting couples often should have an agreement to protect their rights as a couple, while safeguarding their individual interests and assets. It makes sense to plan ahead in order to avoid future conflicts.
Spousal Support: Married couples, common law couples who have cohabited for three years and common law couples who have a child together, may have spousal support rights or obligations when they separate.
Fertility & Reproduction: Whether you are a sperm donor, looking to adopt a child or to use assisted reproduction technologies, are the birth parents, or are looking into surrogacy, parents need agreements in place to ensure everyone is fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.
MBM: Does marriage affect a pre-existing will?
KDJ: A marriage may invalidate an existing will or may not reflect your current wishes. We make completing your estate documentation as easy as possible. Your intake package includes information about your family and your income, assets and liabilities. In most cases, you will only have to come to the office on two occasions – the first to give instructions and the second to execute your documents (which are sent electronically). We offer these services at a reasonable flat rate per person.
MBM: I understand mediation is a large part of your legal tool kit. Please elaborate.
KDJ: Although I have litigated in most courts, I have started to see mediation as a better way for couples to move forward, both financially and emotionally. By identifying each partner’s fears and concerns, they may be able to fashion a resolution that is fair and reasonable to them both. I want clients to be comfortable with me. I offer a free, 10- minute call to both spouses so that they can make sure I am a good fit for their mediation.
MBM: Fertility and reproduction is a unique and highly specialized area of the law. Is there something specific that inspired you to take this on?
KDJ: From the time I was in law school I was attracted to family law because that was where I felt I could best help parents and children. As well, I am the mother of twins conceived with a donor and have firsthand experience with the struggles involved in assisted reproduction.
MBM: I understand you have had your own business coach. How has this helped you serve clients?
KDJ: Law school does not prepare you to run a business - implementing an effective client service strategy is not on the curriculum. Using a business coach has helped me to be more effective, not as a lawyer but as a service provider. Coaching has also allowed me to recognize my strengths and to identify the areas I am most passionate about at this stage of my career – family mediation.
MBM: What do your clients typically say about you?
KDJ: My clients appreciate that I try and separate the emotional issues and the legal issues. I’m consistently told that I’m realistic, reasonable and easy to talk to/with. I’m also often told clients appreciate my, “personal yet matter of fact way of approaching their files.” Clients are often surprised by my meticulous record keeping. Although my crystal ball broke a long time ago, my two decades of experience allows me to pretty accurately predict the final settlement amount.
MBM: What topics do you tackle on your blog?
KDJ: Gamete Donation: This post looks at the privacy rights of donor children, biological parents, legal parents and the donors themselves. (http://kellyjordanfamilylaw.com/2018/03/gamete-donation-the-not so-secret-secret/)
Children’s Law Reform Act: The new legislation was the government’s response to a legal challenge that the existing law discriminated on the basis of marital status and sexual orientation. Surrogacy births can be registered with valid pre-conception agreements. It also recognizes that a sperm or egg donor should not have to pay child support or be entitled to access. I was pleased to be asked to comment on the draft legislation and to provide input at the committee level after the legislation was introduced. (http://kellyjordanfamilylaw.com/2017/11/guidance-to-donorsintended-parents-in-gamete-donation-and-surrogacy/)
Child Support: http://kellyjordanfamilylaw.com/2017/11/how-long-topay-child-support/
MBM: In addition to your blog, do you speak & write about Fertility Law (egg donation, surrogacy, sperm donation and IVF) and Family Law elsewhere?
KDJ: I am one of the presenters at the National Family Law Conference on the intersection of family and immigration being held in Vancouver in July 2018. I recently spoke on income determination to judges at the Ontario Court of Justice. I am also scheduled to speak to Judges from the Superior Court across Ontario later this year.
In terms of publications, I am a contributing editor on assisted reproduction to Wilson on “Children and Law” for Lexis Nexis (2017), and I was one of the co-authors of, “Canadian Family and Immigration Law,” for Carswell (2015). I was also a contributing author to, “Property Rights and Obligations Under Family Law (2012) for Canada Law Book. My chapter includes a summary of the amendments to Ontario’s parentage legislation to deal with LGBTQ families and surrogacy.
MBM: What is life like for you today?
KDJ: My personal and professional lives have never been more fulfilling. My twin boys have now started high school and are much more independent, which gives me time to imagine other possibilities for my practice. My vision is to continue to offer all resolution options to my clients, but to personally focus on mediation, learning new skills and meeting new mentors. When I started my practice, I was in court several times per week. While court is still something I enjoy and can be necessary, I am excited to now be able to offer mediated resolutions.
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
KELLY D. JORDAN FAMILY LAW
1000 - 160 BLOOR STREET EAST
TORONTO, ONTARIO M4W 1B9