Meet Our
Family Law

At WARDS LAWYERSPC , we offer significant experience and expertise in the area of family law. We understand what may be at stake when family relationships break down. We value minimizing conflict for children, even when their parents do not agree on their own issues. We understand and know how to assist our family law clients to achieve the best outcome, not only for them, but for their families. If you are experiencing, or may experience, a marriage or relationship breakdown, trust WARDS LAWYERSPC  to offer you the practical and effective advice you will need to make your decisions and resolve your issues.

Melissa Wemyss,
Melissa Wemyss,
C.E.O. Family Law Team Leader
Ryan O'Neill,
Ryan O'Neill,
Lawyer Estates Team Leader
Alex McLeod,
Alex McLeod,

Experience & Expertise

Our experience and expertise in family law includes:

  • pre-and-post relationship breakdown negotiations
  • collaborative practice and services
  • divorce proceedings (contested and uncontested)
  • auditing and investigation of complex property and business structures
  • trusts
  • children in need of protection
  • abuse and intolerant behaviour cases
  • domestic contracts (separation agreements, cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts)
  • grandparents' and other family member rights
  • adoption
  • custody, access and parenting of children
  • child support
  • spousal support
  • property equalization
  • pre-separation advice and guidance
  • changing child or spousal support
  • enforcement of family obligations and Court orders (support, payments, etc.)
  • settlement agreements
  • Family Court litigation, if required


In Canada, there are three grounds for divorce: living "separate and apart" for one year, adultery and mental or physical cruelty. Generally, most divorces are granted on the basis of a one-year separation.

People may be living "separate and apart" although they continue to reside in one home.

Successfully negotiating a separation agreement can save you significant legal expense, while giving you much greater control over the ultimate outcome of your case. Once a separation agreement has been concluded, it is usually a simple and straightforward matter to obtain the order for divorce which terminates the marriage and enables you to remarry, should you wish to do so in the future.

Family Court

When parties cannot agree, they may need litigation to address their issues. This involves a Court proceeding, in which a Justice will decide their issues. Family Court litigation is likely the most expensive way to solve family-related problems, but sometimes is necessary.

Family Court litigation may also be necessary if a party is behaving unreasonably. For example, if one parent is refusing to pay child support to the other parent or if one parent is refusing to leave the matrimonial home or if there is any threat of domestic violence or child abuse, the best solution may be to bring a Family Court case to obtain the assistance of the Court.

WARDS LAWYERSPC  is here to assist you in finding what is best for your family. We have access to a variety of tools to do that, including negotiation, mediation and litigation. How you use those tools and what result you achieve will be largely determined by your participation in the process. You need to be an active player in the process to ensure that you end up with the solution that is suitable for your needs.

Separation Agreements

In many cases, the divorce process includes the signing of a separation agreement. This document often addresses child custody, support, property division and other issues arising from the relationship breakdown. The agreement you reach will shape your life for years to come, so it is important to have advice and representation from an experienced lawyer during this important point in time.

At WARDS LAWYERSPC , we provide results-oriented representation to our clients. We are highly experienced in negotiating separation agreements that are both practical and protective of our clients' rights, enabling you to move forward in your life.

Cohabitation and Marriage Contracts

A cohabitation agreement or marriage contract can help you avoid disputes over property and spousal support issues, in the event of a relationship breakdown. An agreement can also strengthen your relationship now, by removing possible sources of friction. Such agreements are particularly useful for people entering into second relationships, or who already have children.

It can be difficult to address these issues while you are still in the early stages of what you hope will be a lifelong relationship. But in many ways, it is much easier to address them now, well in advance of the arrival of any dark clouds in your relationship.

We will help you enter an agreement designed to achieve your goals and protect your interests.


The Court typically must consider the best interests of the child to be adopted. For this, the Court takes into consideration various things, such as the child’s physical, mental and emotional needs and level of development, the child’s cultural and religious background and, if ascertainable, the child’s wishes.

There are four ways by which children may be adopted in Ontario:

  • by a step-parent or other relative;
  • from a Children’s Aid Society;
  • privately from a licensed individual or private adoption agency; or
  • from a licensed international adoption agency.

An adoption order, once made, is final and the adopted child becomes the child of the applicant. The relationship is “as if the adopted child had been born to the adoptive parent.”

Adoptions can be legally complex and difficult to obtain. Let our experts guide and help you, to ensure your efforts are rewards.

Your Complete Family Law Legal Team

Lawyers serving Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes, and surrounding area

Melissa Wemyss,
Family Law Team Leader
Ryan O'Neill,
Estates Team Leader
Alex McLeod,
Gabrielle Fisher
Family Law Clerk
Kristina McCombe,
Family Law Clerk
Reba Myhren
Family Law and Criminal Law Clerk
Racheal Barker
Family Law Clerk
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