Robert obtained his law degree at the University of Windsor after attaining a Master of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University. He was called to the Bar in 2006.


He is the principal of Shawyer Family Law and Mediation PC. Robert regularly speaks at Continuing Professional Development seminars focusing on family law hosted by the various Toronto area Courthouse Bench and Bar Committees, the law Society of Ontario and the Ontario Bar Association.

In 2016 through 2018 Robert was lead counsel for the Applicant Mother in the seminal family law case, Coates v. Watson, which focused on the issue of whether Ontario Child Support Law as it was written prior to December 14, 2017 was discriminatory. Due to Robert’s advocacy Ontario’s child support law was declared discriminatory and Ontario child support legislation was amended on December 14, 2017 to allow for ongoing and indefinite child support for disabled children born to unmarried parents who have separated.

The Coates case has been extensively written about in the Toronto Star and other publications such as the Law Times beginning on November 19, 2017 in an Article by the Toronto Star’s Laurie Monsebraaten entitled “The Son, the Father and the Law”. Since acting as lead counsel Robert has acted as counsel in numerous other case involving disabled child and the issue of ongoing child support, which has led to the development of the body of caselaw in Ontario that is used to determine when a disable child is entitled to child support and the amount of child support that disabled children are entitled to on an ongoing basis.

In addition to his work in the Coates case Robert has a wealth of family law experience representing clients at all levels of Court in Ontario including the Ontario Court of Justice and Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal.

In 2014 and 2016 respectively Robert was trained and accredited as Collaborative Family Law lawyer and a Certified Family Law Mediator. As a result Robert’s practice focuses on building partnerships with his clients by using their knowledge of themselves and their family and combining it with his expertise in the area of family law, negotiation and settlement advocacy to support and empower clients to reach solutions that meet their short-term and long-term goals.

Aside from managing his practice Robert is also a graduate of the Rotman Independent Corporate Director's Not For Profit Governance Program. Robert currently sits as a public member of on the Council of the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario ("CDTO").

When Robert is not pursuing his interest in the area of family law and managing a boutique law firm focused on Family Law and Mediation, he is a proud parent of two rambunctious children, a mentor to younger lawyer, an avid golfer and veracious reader when not spending time at the gym.


OBA Board/Council

  • 2014 – 2016   Member, OBA Board of Directors

  • 2011 – 2016   Member, OBA Council – Toronto Representative


OBA Committees

  • 2014 – 2016   Chair, OBA Professional Development Committee

  • 2013 – 2014   Chair, OBA Pro Bono Sub-Committee

  • 2013 – 2016   Committee Member, OBA Finance Committee

  • 2014 – 2016   Committee Member, OBA Institute Committee

  • 2014 – 2015   Committee Member, OBA Alternative Business Structures Working Group (ABS)

  • 2014 – 2015   Committee Member, OBA Pro Bono Sub-Committee

  • 2013 – 2015   Committee Member, OBA Predatory Marriages Working Group

  • 2012 – 2013   Committee Member, OBA Strategic Planning Committee

  • 2012 – 2013   Committee Member, OBA Justice Effectiveness Taskforce

  • 2012 – 2013   Committee Member, OBA LSUC Rules of Professional Conduct Committee

  • 2012 – 2013   Committee Member, OBA Pro Bono Taskforce

OBA Sections

  • 2012 – 2014   Chair, OBA Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section

  • 2014 – 2016   Past Chair, OBA Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section

  • 2011 – 2012   Vice Chair, OBA Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section

  • 2013 – 2015   Public Affairs Liaison, OBA Family Law Section

  • 2012 – 2013   Section Secretary, OBA Family Law Section

  • 2011 – 2016   Section Executive, OBA Family Law Section

  • 2010 – 2015   Section Executive, OBA Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section

CBA Activity

  • 2015 – 2016   Chair, CBA Solo, Small, General Practice Forum

  • 2015 – 2016   Member, CBA Council

  • 2013 – 2014   Committee Member, CBA Pro Bono Committee

  • 2013 – 2014   Committee Member, CBA Pro Bono Committee

  • 2013 – 2014   Newsletter Editor, CBA Solo, Small, General Practice Forum

  • 2013 – 2014   Committee Member, CBA Pro Bono Committee

  • 2010 – 2012   Section Executive, CBA Solo, Small, General Practice Forum Member At Large

Other Activities

  • 2013-Present   Volunteer through Pro Bono Law Ontario

  • 2010 – 2012   Board Member, Family Lawyers Association

  • 2006 – Present   Owner/Principal – Shawyer Family Law

  • 2012   Chair, OBA Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Institute Program


© 2019 Robert Shawyer