Caring, Respectful, Effective.
At Quinn Family Law we are committed to excellence in client service and advocacy. We avoid litigation where possible and win litigation when necessary. Your telephone calls and emails are returned promptly and the advice we provide is practical and cost-effective.
Shelley C. Quinn, LL.B., LL.M.
Shelley C. Quinn graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1996 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1998. She founded Quinn Family Law in 2014 and received her Master of Laws degree in Family Law from Osgoode the same year.
Prior to embarking on her legal career, Shelley earned an undergraduate degree from McMaster University in 1982 and subsequently held positions in the social work field.
She worked for Durham Region Department of Social Services from 1987 to 1993, in various capacities including Parental Support Worker, assisting sole support parents receiving family benefits and working in the Ontario Court of Justice on their behalf to obtain child support from non-custodial parents. She also provided advocacy and case management services for families with special needs children who were leaving institutional care.
Child protection, Community Living
Shelley was an emergency duty worker for the Durham Region Children’s Aid Society. She also worked with Central Seven Association for Community Living in supported independent living group homes.
Department of Justice Canada
After articling with the Department of Justice Canada, Shelley served as a litigator with the department from 1998 to 2013. She provided strategic advice to and litigation services for various departments and agencies including the RCMP, Correctional Service of Canada, National Defence, Transport Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Immigration and Refugee Board and Treasury Board. She appeared before the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court of Appeal, Divisional Court and the Tax Court of Canada, as well as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Public Service Labour Relations Board.
Shelley Quinn is the recipient of the 2013 national Humanitarian Excellence Award given by the Department of Justice, Canada, for her volunteer work in Toronto. She is committed to her community at a number of levels, from tutoring the children of New Canadians in Regent Park to serving on the boards of various agencies and legal associations.
Recent volunteer service
- Board of Directors of Woodgreen Community Services, 2014 to present
- Board of Directors of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, 2011-2014
- Board of Directors of Houselink, 2009 to 2011. The agency provides supportive housing and other services for more than 300 people who have lived experience of mental illness and poverty.
In the legal community
- President of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario
- Past board member of the Family Lawyers Association
- Member of Council of the Ontario Bar Association, 2012-2016
- Past Chair of the Women Lawyers Forum of the OBA
- Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
- Member of the Advocates Society
- Member of the Canadian Bar Association
- Past executive member of the OBA’s Family Law Section
- Past executive member of the OBA’s Public Sector Lawyers section.
Elana Finestone is an associate lawyer at Quinn Family Law.
She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2016 after serving as a law clerk at the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, where she prepared bench memos on civil and family law motions and Divisional Court appeals.
Prior to joining Quinn Family Law, she practised family law at a large firm in Guelph, where she drafted court materials and separation agreements, conducted legal research and proposed litigation strategies for clients.
Elana holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, as well as an M.A. in Sociology from Carleton University and an Honours B.A. in Gender Studies and Psychology from Queen’s. She is fluent in English and conversant in Hebrew and basic French.
She is on the executive of the Women’s Lawyer Forum of the Ontario Bar Association. Elana has worked at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic in Toronto, was a delegate for the 2014 United Nations Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and was a 2013 National Social Justice Fellow in Ottawa, researching how lawyers can best advocate for abused women. She was also a youth project leader and sexual health educator with the Katimavik program in Orillia, Ontario, in 2012.
When our adult children divorce, grandparents sometimes experience difficult seeing their grandchildren. Most children benefit from seeing their grandparents regularly and these relationships deserve protection. Some grandparents need our assistance to gain regular access to their grandchildren others, when the adult children face challenging circumstances, need assistance to gain legal custody of their grandchildren.
The Child Support Guidelines have made determining the base amount of child support much easier - once a support payor’s income is accurately determined. Special or extraordinary expenses, also known as section 7 expenses, are more discretionary and reasonable parents can disagree about what ought to be considered an extraordinary expense. Post-secondary expenses for your children, beyond the age of majority, also fall within this category.
When spouses decide to end their marriage, the union is dissolved by the federal Divorce Act. The definition of spouse under the Act contemplates both heterosexual and same-sex marriages. The provisions of the Divorce Act dealing with children focus on what is in the best interests of the children of the marriage, not on biological parenthood or legal status of the children. The provisions of the Act dealing with children aim to ensure that a divorce will affect the children as little as possible.
Spousal support is available to separating married spouses and partners living in a common law union. Depending on the choices you and your spouse or partner, made during your relationship regarding staying home to care for children, functions performed during the time you lived together, or career choices, spousal support may be appropriate in your situation. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate, the means and needs of each spouse are considered.
Ontario’s Family Law Act sets out rules for property division for separating spouses in the province. “Spouse” is narrowly defined in the Act and only married spouses are entitled to statutory property division. People living together, but not married, they must rely on the common law doctrines of “constructive and resulting trust” to make out a claim against property held in the name of their partner. In many cases for couples who separate, the two most valuable assets they may own are the matrimonial home and pension plans.
When two people who were living together separate and start to live separate and apart, they can enter into a separation agreement in which they agree on their respective rights and obligations regarding property ownership, division of property, support obligations, custody of and access to the children, and any other matters to settle their affairs. These agreements may be filed with a court so that the support provisions can be enforced by the court. The court may disregard a child support provision in a separation agreement that it deems unreasonable.
If the Children's Aid Society commences protection proceedings with respect to your children or grandchildren you will need an experienced lawyer to represent you before the Ontario Court of Justice. A child in need of protection, pursuant to the Child and Family Services Act, is a child who has suffered physical harm—or a risk of harm—inflicted by the person having charge of the child or from that person’s failure to adequately care for, provide for or supervise or protect the child, or there is a pattern of neglect in caring for the child. A child who has been sexually exploited or molested by a person having charge of the child, or by another person, where the person in charge of the child should have known of the possibility of the harm, is a child in need of protection of the Children’s Aid Society.
If you and your partner are not married and are living together or intend to live together, you can enter into an agreement about your respective rights and obligations either during the time you cohabitate or if you stop cohabitating or upon the death of a partner. Your agreement can include the ownership or division of property, support obligations and some decision-making regarding children—but not the right to custody of or access to your children. If you later marry, the cohabitation agreement becomes a marriage contract pursuant to the Family Law Act.
Both heterosexual and same-sex couples may need assistance in building their families. That assistance may take the form of sperm, egg or embryo donations or through surrogacy – either traditional or gestational. Third-party reproductive technology is regulated in Canada by the Assisted Human Reproduction Act. The Act does not prohibit surrogacy, egg or sperm donation—but does prohibit the payment of donors or surrogates. For same-sex Moms the issue of whether to use a sperm bank or a known donor will be an important decision. If a known sperm donor is used, rather than a sperm bank, further steps should be taken to ensure legal parentage of the child.
Caring, Respectful, Effective.
Quinn Family Law
662 Broadview Ave.
Toronto, ON M4K 2P1
West side of Broadview Avenue, south of Danforth
Phone: 416-551-1025 | Fax: 416-921-3848