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Program Feature: Understanding & Advising Non-Traditional Families

Lawyers are seeing an increasing number of clients entering and exiting diverse relationships. Join Co-Chairs John-Paul E. Boyd and Jonathan F. Griffith this February 4 (Calgary) or February 12 (Edmonton) for to understand these types of relationships as they relate to your family law or wills and estates practice.

We recently spoke with our co-chairs to find out a bit more about them and this exciting program. Here’s what they had to say.

Happy reading!

Tell me a bit about yourself and your practice.

John-Paul E. Boyd | I’m a family law arbitrator, mediator, and parenting coordinator, and also provide a range of children’s legal services, such as non-evaluative views of the child reports and independent legal advice when children’s informed consent is required. I’m in private practice with my own firm and serve as counsel to Wise Scheible Barkauskas.


Jonathan Griffith | I am a family law lawyer, mediator, and arbitrator. I also occasionally teach at post-secondary institutions in Calgary. Most recently, I taught family law at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.  When I’m not teaching I work in private practice. On a more personal note, I also identify as queer and have been polyamorous for years now. I’m excited about the Understanding & Advising Non-Traditional Families program in part because it represents a very good opportunity to talk about polyamory professionally while also sharing my personal experience with it.

What are some of the learning outcomes for this program?

John-Paul E. Boyd | With this course, I’m hoping that lawyers dealing with families and family breakdown, including will and estates practitioners, will have a better understanding of the incredible diversity of polyamorous and other non-traditional families and their varying legal needs. I’m going to be talking about the challenges involved in drafting cohabitation agreements for multi-adult families, along with an experienced senior lawyer from British Columbia, barbara findlay QC. We’ll be talking about the creative approach counsel have to take to these agreements, the incredible variety of issues they need to deal with, and how to manage negotiations with lawyers representing each party. The number of people who identify as polyamorous is increasing and I except that we’re going to be seeing more and more of these families in the future.

What makes this program unique?

Jonathan Griffith | Perhaps now more than ever, Canadian families are challenging our institutional perception of what makes a family. Our laws and legal institutions operate as a “one size fit’s all” but are typically built on a narrow conception of the Canadian family. Individuals belonging to families that do not fit into the mold for a “traditional” Canadian family can end up with unique problems and will often need expert help solving those problems. Understanding & Advising Non-Traditional Families will provide legal practitioners with the opportunity to learn some of the non-traditional ways families are built in Canada, some of the legal challenges facing those families, and some tools for addressing those challenges.

Learn more about this program and register online today! Register by December 17, 2019 and save.

Understanding and Advising Non-Traditional Families