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Meet Our Team

Marie Michaels
Marie Michaels

Marie G. Michaels

Marie is the owner and founder of the firm. Marie attended Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario, and was Called to the Bar in Ontario in 1997.

Marie brings an excess of 20 years’ experience in the legal community, the last 17 years as a family law lawyer, serving the Durham Region. Additionally, Marie completed her training as a Collaborative Lawyer, and in 2013 became certified as a Collaborative Team Leader, adding an additional and often better resolution option for her clients.

In addition to helping her own clients with their litigation needs, Marie oversees the operations of both of the firm’s offices, trains and supervises staff and law clerks, and also works in partnership with the firm’s associate lawyers. Marie has done a considerable amount of volunteer/pro-bono work at various safe houses/shelters. She has also trained articling students and currently mentors junior family law lawyers.

Along with Marie’s proven successes in all matters around family law, she has experience around some very unique family law situations including, but not limited to: domestic and international kidnapping, civil awards for spousal battery within divorce cases, income imputation (where the Court holds a support payor is intentionally unemployed or under-employed to evade support responsibilities); constructive trust and unjust enrichment cases (for common law relationship breakdowns).

~ Marie has dedicated her career to helping families. ~

Debra Sweetman
Debra J. Sweetman

Debbie graduated from University of Guelph in 1983 with a Bachelor of Applied Science and from the University of Western Ontario in 1986 with her degree in law. She was called to the bar in 1988. After practicing with the Whitby firm of Schilling, Evans, she became a sole practitioner in 1990. Her practice mainly consisted of real estate; business law; wills and estates; and uncontested family law matters.

Debbie is proud of her reputation for providing expeditious, competent service at reasonable prices. She is happy to join the Marie G. Michaels & Associates “family” of like-minded people as a legal assistant as she has missed the client contact since she recently retired as a lawyer; she is currently seeking to reinstate her license.

She taught the real estate law course for the Ontario Real State Association for fifteen years as well as business law courses at Durham College.

Debbie was President of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, and an active member of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade, and the Clarington Board of Trade.

She is constantly involved with numerous committees for various charitable and not-for-profit groups such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Fruit Wine and Food Festival at Archibald’s Winery benefiting the Big Brothers Big Sisters Clarington.

Outside of practising law, Debbie is a member of various genealogical societies, and enjoys travelling, hiking, biking, a great meal and a glass of red wine. She most recently became the first Canadian member of the board of directors at the Nickerson Family Association on Cape Cod.

~ Happy to provide expeditious, competent service. ~

Irene Hanna
Irene Hanna
Irene Hanna

Irene is the newest lawyer to join the team at Marie G. Michaels & Associates and will be restricting her practice to Family Law matters. Irene is passionate about family law and is excited about being able to bring a sense of security, stability, and peace of mind to her clients.

Irene attended Law School in Florida where she was very active in student government. She was President of the Student Bar Association and the Attorney General of her Law School’s student body. Irene summered at The State Attorney’s Office of The Ninth Judicial District in Orange County, Florida where she prosecuted criminal matters. She interned at the Public Defender’s Office of The Eighteenth Judicial District in Sanford, Florida where she litigated criminal cases. As a public servant, she also practiced at The Legal Aid and Homelessness clinic in Orlando, Florida.

When Irene relocated to Ontario, she was required to take new Bar exams as well as interning with an Ontario law firm. She chose a boutique Law Firm in Toronto, where she practiced predominantly Family Law and Wills & Estates. She returned to that firm after her Call to the Bar, and before joining this practice.

Irene is passionate about giving a voice to those individuals who feel that they don’t have a voice of their own.

Stephanie Joe

Stephanie attended the University of York in North Yorkshire, England.  While pursuing her Ontario qualifications, she worked as a law clerk in downtown Toronto for a boutique family law firm before joining Marie G. Michaels & Associates as an articling student where she worked under Marie’s guidance.  She was welcomed to the firm as an associate after her Call to the Bar in September 2017.

Stephanie practices family law and wills and estates. She is committed to communicating effectively and efficiently with her clients; has genuine compassion and caring regarding the concerns of her clients; and, takes the time to help them understand the complicated legal system. Her preference for her client files involves staying out of the Court system and resolving files amicably whenever possible.  Her strategies for litigation include giving and obtaining proper financial disclosure and Offers to Settle.

Stephanie also invests her time in writing for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, breaking down the new human rights legislation and proposed bill and laws.  Additionally, she is completing her application to volunteer giving legal advice at Luke’s place, a Durham Region shelter and legal resource for abused women and children.

Stephanie strongly believes that family units come in all shapes and sizes, and when two parents with children separate, they create a different family dynamic that can also move forward in an emotionally healthy manner.

Bear Michaels

In loving memory:  May 10, 2004 – June 8, 2018

Bear Michaels

Bear holds several positions with the firm. He is the occasional greeter, entertainer and unlicensed therapy dog. If Marie is out at Court or elsewhere, you will find him lying in reception sulking.

Bear was trained at home but also took classes at Who’s Walking Who here in Ajax where he successfully graduated!

He is excellent with children and adores babies. He is also hypo-allergenic with hair rather than fur because his mom is highly allergic to dog fur and dander. Sadly, Bear has his own allergy issues and is fed a special diet so please do not sneak anything to him during your visit.

If you are not a dog person, or you are afraid of dogs, no need to worry. Bear will be told to go to his house (crate) and will stay there and nap during your visit.

~ Bear will likely put a smile on your face with his winning personality ~

Contact Us

381 Westney Road South
Ajax, Ontario
L1S 6M6

(tf) 855-326-1476
(t) 905-426-1476
(f) 905-426-1091

Monday - Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am – 4pm

52 King Street West
Bowmanville, Ontario
L1C 1R4

(tf) 855-326-1476
(t) 905-623-2586
(f) 905-426-1091

Monday - Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday - Closed

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