Kate Bennett is an Associate and Practice Group Lead with Harrison Pensa Family Law Group. Kate focuses on domestic contracts, including cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts. She supports clients with divorce litigation and negotiation, including issues related to contact with children, decision-making for children (child custody), division of property, and parenting time. Kate represents both married and unmarried spouses.
She is also a member of the Personal Rights Panel of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and represents children in child protection and high-conflict custody and access proceedings.
Many brides and grooms, preoccupied with plans for the wedding and hopes for their marriage, give little thought to the possibility that their relationship could someday break down. But with 4 out of 10 first-time marriages in Canada ending in divorce, it is essential that spouses take steps before the big day to understand their rights, define their responsibilities, and where appropriate, protect their assets. Kate ensures her clients enter their marriage with “eyes wide open” by negotiating and drafting cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts. Similarly, when two persons begin living together for the first time, they need to consider the legalities of their cohabitation.
If a relationship does break down, Kate provides guidance and legal assistance to her clients during one of the most difficult periods of their lives. She provides her clients with thorough and frank advice, enabling them to make fully informed decisions about how to resolve the challenging and complex issues related to the end of a marriage or relationship breakdown. Kate provides her clients with honest assessments about the costs and benefits of the various options available to them in litigation, negotiation, or various alternative dispute resolution processes. Serving the interests of her clients is her top priority.
Kate frequently provides legal services related to the welfare and best interests of children in family law matters. Throughout the litigation, negotiation, or alternative dispute resolution process, she advises her clients and advocates strongly in the area of child custody and access. In addition, through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, Kate often represents children in child protection proceedings and high-conflict custody and access cases. As well, as a member of the Domestic Violence panel for Legal Aid Ontario, she puts her specialized training to use in advocating for spouses and children in difficult circumstances.
Born and raised in London, Kate grew up in “Old South” and continues to live there with her family. She is a graduate of the political science and law faculties of the University of Western Ontario, where she served Student Coordinator of the Law School’s Dispute Resolution Centre. Kate has always been extremely active in a volunteer capacity, providing her time and expertise to Pro Bono Students Canada, London Lawyers Feed the Hungry, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, and Daya Counselling Centre, where she is a member of the board.
Kate was a member of the Original Kids Theatre, which she credits with giving her the confidence and skills necessary to be a strong litigator. She has traveled extensively throughout Canada, Europe, Australia, the Caribbean and the United States, and isn’t finished yet. But her main priority is her immediate and extended family.
Bachelor of Laws, University of Western Ontario
Bachelor of Arts, Honours Political Science, University of Western Ontario