The Canadian Bar Association
Family

Chaiton-Murray helps divorcing spouses find fair solutions

Resolving conflicts when families are finding a new normal is the driving force for Toronto family lawyer Erin Chaiton-Murray.

“It’s getting to a resolution and feeling that you’ve helped a client close a chapter and move to the next stage of their life,” says Chaiton-Murray, senior associate at Fogelman Law.

“The end result is not always a perfect solution but I think that it is rewarding when a client feels that they have been able to reach a resolution and when they've done so in a way that feels good in the circumstances  — preserving their own sanity, their relationship with their children and hopefully, with their former spouse,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Before entering law, Chaiton-Murray, who grew up in Toronto and holds a Bachelor of Arts in health studies and gerontology from McMaster University, originally considered pursuing the field of social work.

She was interested in studying disabilities and health and worked with children with autism and at the centre for students with disabilities at McMaster. But she also had a blossoming interest in law, potentially in areas of health and family law.

So Chaiton-Murray combined those interests by enrolling in the joint law and social work program at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2008. Through law school, she became involved in Downtown Legal Services, the student-run clinic at U of T, working on both criminal and family law cases.

She then summered, articled and practised family law at a well-known Toronto family law boutique before joining Basman Smith in 2013.

Chaiton-Murray  a married mother of three daughters who enjoys running and travelling in her spare time — offers a range of services, from drafting domestic contracts to acting for clients in high-conflict and complex support, property, custody and access matters.

She says being a mother of young children gives her a good perspective for clients who have concerns about co-parenting, managing schedules and other family issues.

“Managing a family is busy and when you’re trying to do it as a separated parent, it adds a layer of complication and stress,” she says.

In her practice, Chaiton-Murray tackles financial issues from child and spousal support to more complicated property and valuation issues around businesses or other assets.

“In many cases, the focus is on conflict management, helping clients navigate through the process, and finding a method or forum to reach a solution that is livable for everyone,” she says.

Many of her cases are resolved out of court, either through direct negotiation or mediation, she adds.

Through it all, Chaiton-Murray says she finds her work interesting because of the range of people and issues she encounters.

“Clients' lives are all different and the reasons why they end up coming to see a family lawyer are always varied and interesting,” she says. “What I like about family law is knowing or at least hoping that I can provide all of the information to help people make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to ultimately get to a resolution and move on with their lives.”

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