Martha McCarthy

Martha McCarthy is the winner of the Ontario Bar Association 2007 Award of Excellence in Family Law.

Martha was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1991, winning the Silver Medal and the Family Law and Advocacy Prizes. Martha has practiced family law since her call, first in a large Bay Street firm, then the largest family law specialist boutique in Canada, and now with her own firm.

Martha was counsel for M. in M. v. H. which after eight years and a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada resulted in widespread amendments to include same-sex couples as spouses in both federal and provincial legislation. In 2000, she commenced the equal marriage case Halpern, which resulted in the first decision in the country and internationally calling for immediate same-sex marriage, effective June 10, 2003. Martha later acted for the Hendricks couple in Quebec, and the Dunbar couple in the Yukon in cases that opened up equal marriage in those provinces as well. She was counsel to the Ontario and Quebec couples on the Supreme Court Marriage Reference and, just to complete the circle, was counsel to the applicant in the first same-sex divorce in Canada. In 2006, Martha acted for lesbian families who won the right to immediately register both mothers as their children’s parents, and intervened on behalf of these families in AA v. BB v. CC, a case achieving legal recognition for a three parent family.

Apart from gay and lesbian equality issues, Martha’s areas of specialty include the interaction of family issues with business organization and valuation, shareholders’ remedies, marriage contracts, equality claims in family law, child representation and the effect of divorce on children. She is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a frequent advocate, author and commentator on issues of gay and lesbian equality, and our evolving concept of family.

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Angels Endorsement

Martha is an outstanding lawyer and a leader in her field. She has extensive experience representing clients who have highly complex legal needs related to their marriage, divorce or separation.

She is dynamic and intense and uses those qualities in her practice. She is committed to her clients at every step of the process and tailors her approach to a client’s unique situation.

Martha is devoted to helping her clients set realistic, practical, and carefully chosen goals early in their case. Whatever the path, Martha is extremely successful at litigating vigorously in court, or mediating amicable resolutions out of court.