Melanie Kraft is a Partner at Epstein Cole LLP. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1996. In addition to her family law practice at Epstein Cole LLP, which is restricted to family law and solicitor’s negligence matters, Ms. Kraft also regularly acts as Mediator for family law disputes. She has extensive training in mediation. She has authored and co-authored numerous papers on family law topics.
With 20 years of experience in family law, Melanie acts as counsel for a very wide range of clients dealing with all aspects of family breakdown and family planning. Melanie regularly deals with complex family law financial issues, as well as parenting matters. Melanie's cases often involve sophisticated corporate, trust, tax and other business and investment structures, as well as complex support and income issues. Melanie's approach to family and children's issues reflects her deep understanding of children's best interests and her extensive knowledge of the most current social science literature and studies on post-separation parenting and related issues. Melanie is extremely comfortable with all modes of dispute resolution, including litigation, mediation, arbitration and negotiation. Melanie is fully trained in Collaborative Practice.
Melanie has been appointed as a Dispute Resolution Officer for the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she teaches Family Law, and she was an associate editor of the Reports in Family Law for 4 years. Melanie acted as an instructor of the Advanced Family Law course at the University of Toronto Law School and was an Instructor with the Family Law Section of the Bar Admission Course. Melanie is also an Instructor in the Family Law Mediation Certificate program offered through the Continuing Education department at the University of Toronto.
Melanie is frequently asked to author papers and to present at continuing legal education programs in Toronto. She speaks to numerous groups on various family law and mediation topics. She is currently a member of the Family Law Tax Toolkit Committee. Melanie was a Contributor to the drafting of the Annotated Separation Agreement used by the family law bar in Ontario. She has been involved in designing and drafting the Spousal Support and Custody and Access sections of an electronic bench book for the National Judicial Institute. Also, she has prepared the program materials and lectured on settlement conferences in a family law context at judicial education programs for the National Judicial Institute.
Melanie is married with three children. She tries to make the difficult process that her clients face on marriage/relationship breakdown more manageable and palatable, by offering creative, solution-focused, strategic and sound legal advice and advocacy. Her goal is to take each client from the beginning to the end of this process with dignity, while striving for excellent and fair results, while maintaining relationships as much as practicable in each particular situation.
- Ontario Bar Association
- Canadian Bar Association
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
- Family Lawyers Association
- Family Mediation Canada
- Collaborative Practice Toronto
- Divorce and Child Custody Mediation Certificate, Collaborative Decision Resources, Boulder Colorado (1998)
- Mediation Workshop, Program for Instruction for Lawyers, Harvard Law School (1998)
- Called to the Bar of Ontario (1996)
- LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School (1994)
- University of Western Ontario (1989-1991)