+1 (416) 479-4119 bonnie@ballantynefamilylaw.ca

Compassionate * Professional * Experienced

The team at Ballantyne Family Law gives clients the information they need to understand their options and the confidence they need to make well-informed decisions. We practice family law exclusively and pride ourselves on providing compassionate, thoughtful, and cost-effective legal representation.

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Our Practice Areas

Our team of family lawyers has the knowledge and expertise to assist you with any kind of family law matter, from simple divorces to separations that involve complex parenting or financial issues.

Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts

Negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement that works for both you and your new partner.

Separation Agreements

Obtain the information you need to understand all of your options and to make informed decisions in case of a separation or divorce.



Work with experienced divorce lawyers who will represent your interests and advocate for you effectively in court or at arbitration.

Parenting Issues

Work with a team who can help you and your spouse parent your children in a cooperative, productive and child-focused way.

Child and Spousal Support

Ensure that your children’s financial needs are met and determine whether you have an entitlement to spousal support.

Property Claims

Get help navigating Ontario’s complex property laws and rules to ensure that your interests are protected.

What Our Clients Are Saying


18 years ago I found myself in the middle of a divorce and I reached out to a Family Law firm in Toronto for help. I landed on a young and keen rock star named Karen Ballantyne. Throughout that process I found Karen to be very thorough, attentive, caring, reasonable and calming during the often emotionally charged process of a failed relationship involving kids. She became my rock and brought me back to reality weekly. Fast forward to today in 2022, I have always used Karen and her professional assistant Bonnie for all my subsequent Family Law matters whether it be co-habitation agreements or amendments to child support payments due to life changes. Karen and Bonnie are not only great listeners, but they are realists, so trust me when I tell you that’s who you want in your corner when you’re emotionally upset and need to be heard or just rant but also need to be settled & reassured. They get it. They are so good at de-escalating tension and grounding you when you’re losing it. Precise, up to date on case law, excellence & dedication are thoughts that come to mind. I’ve made several referrals to friends & co-workers and they have not been disappointed. You simply can’t go wrong with Team Ballantyne.

– AB


When looking for a lawyer to represent me, I wanted someone experienced, knowledgeable, strong yet caring. I was not disappointed with Karen. I felt she had my best interest in mind, but more importantly to me, my children’s. Karen was generous with her time, patient with all my questions and concerns, compassionate to the situation I was going through, and gave good, honest advice. Bonnie was delightful to work with as well. Thank you, Karen!

– JH


Nadine Waldman was my lawyer for what was undeniably the most difficult time of my life. Divorce, in and of itself, is difficult to say the least, but divorcing an abusive husband is highly stressful and I would venture to say torturous. Nadine was by my side the whole time. I trusted her completely to be my voice and look out for my best interests and those of my children. My case took years to resolve and through it all she was steadfast and supportive. I had interviewed quite a few lawyers before I met Nadine Waldman, but she was the only one who really listened. Looking back, I’m so grateful for her time, her efforts, and her patience and understanding. I don’t know how I could have gotten through it all with anyone else representing me.

– SV


The end of my marriage was the most stressful and emotionally fraught experience of my life. It felt like everything was on the line: my home, my family, and my financial future. Thankfully, at the beginning of what ended up being a very long journey, a friend of a friend recommended Karen. I couldn’t have found a better ally and navigator. Every step of the way, Karen was patient, thorough, communicative, kind and empathetic. She always took the time to explain everything thoroughly and map out all possible options for how to proceed. The legal process is confusing and I often had to rely exclusively on her intuition, savvy and experience. She proved herself abundantly worthy of my trust and esteem and I will be forever grateful for her help.

– JB


Upon first meeting, my worries, anxiety, and heightened stress were eased. Nadine understood how difficult it could be for a single mother to navigate the family law legal systems, and ensured that she was always thinking of me, and my daughter’s best interest. She anticipated every need, point of conflict, and issues that could arise then, and in the future. Nadine was readily prepared for every case scenario, leaving nothing to chance.

– NP

Frequently Asked Questions

We answered some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.

Do I have to pay child support? Does my spouse have to pay child support?

It will depend on factors such as your parenting schedule, your income, and your spouse’s income.

If a child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent must pay a fixed amount of child support. Monthly child support is based on the support payor’s annual income. If there is a shared parenting arrangement, child support is usually adjusted so that the children’s lifestyles are comparable in each home.

In addition to fixed monthly child support, which is used to cover the basics such as housing, food, and clothing, both parents are required to contribute to “special and extraordinary expenses,” which may include childcare, medical expenses, extracurricular activities, educational expenses, and post-secondary expenses.

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Do I have to pay spousal support? Am I entitled to spousal support?

Both legally married and common law spouses may have a right to spousal support. In Canada, a spousal support recipient must first prove entitlement to support. If there is an entitlement, the “Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines” is usually applied. The quantum and duration of spousal support will depend on various factors, such as whether the parties have children, the length of the marriage, the difference in their incomes, and the roles taken during the marriage.

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Is my spouse entitled to share in my pension? Am I entitled to share my spouse’s pension?
Married spouses are required to “equalize” their property, and pensions are generally considered property for the purposes of equalization. A share of the pension can be transferred directly into the other spouse’s LIRA, or it can be included in “net family property” and equalized along with the other property owned by the parties.

If the pension is already in pay, pension payments may be treated as income for the purposes of calculating support. Courts generally try to avoid “double dipping,” so pensions are usually treated as property or income, but not both.

Married spouses may also seek an equalization of Canada Pension Plan credits for the period of the marriage.

Does it matter if I’m legally married to my spouse to be entitled to spousal support or a property claim?
Both legally married and common law spouses can be entitled to spousal support. However, the law on property rights is very different. Legally married spouses are required to equalize their property unless they enter into a marriage contract that provides otherwise.

Property claims under common law spouses are more complicated. Common law spouses are not entitled to an equalization of property, but they can make trust claims against their spouses’ property in certain circumstances. The likelihood of success will depend on many factors, such as the length of the relationship, whether the spouse’s finances were commingled, and the spouses’ respective financial and non-financial contributions towards specific property during the relationship.

How are matrimonial homes treated differently than other real estate?
The value of most property owned on the date of marriage is a “date of marriage deduction,” which means its value on the date of marriage is deducted from a spouse’s net family property on the date of separation. However, the matrimonial home is an exception to this rule.

The special treatment of the matrimonial home is one of the main reasons that homeowners enter into marriage agreements. They wish to receive a date of marriage deduction for the future matrimonial home, which they may not otherwise be entitled to.

Another difference is that both parties are entitled to reside in the matrimonial home after separation unless they agree otherwise or if one party is ordered by the court to leave the home. It does not matter who’s on title to the home.

This is one of the few provisions of Ontario legislation that cannot be contracted out of, and clauses in a marriage contract that require one spouse to leave a matrimonial home will not be enforceable.

Do I have to share my inheritance with my spouse? Does my spouse have to share their inheritance with me?
Gifts or inheritances received during the marriage are generally considered “excluded property,” and so long as they still exist on the date of separation, they are not subject to equalization.

However, if the gift or inheritance goes into a matrimonial home or jointly owned property, it will likely lose its “excluded” character. This can change if there’s a marriage contract that declares otherwise.