Anne-France Goldwater is a Montreal constitutional and family attorney, and senior partner at Goldwater, Dubé, having founded the firm in 1981. She is a graduate of McGill University and was called to the Bar in 1981.
She has authored articles on parental alienation, custody relocation cases, and bankruptcy and family law, and has also recently published on unjustified enrichment between common law spouses and the new legal challenges on filiation in cases of assisted reproduction.
Me Goldwater’s practice highlights include establishing precedents on the recognition of parental alienation syndrome by the courts, the right of children to the attorney of their choice (and to claim party status), as well as disparate children’s rights issues, such as lump sum support and mandatory reinstatement in a private educational institution. She also successfully challenged federal and provincial laws forbidding marriage for same-sex couples, obtaining the right of same-sex couples to marry. Me Goldwater successfully challenged the validity of laws preventing women from executing their own alimony and child support orders, advanced the protection of privacy rights in family matters in the context of paternity litigation and obtained the highest child support orders in Quebec, as well as the highest provisions for cost in a matrimonial matter.
She is perhaps best known for her success in the case of Eric vs. Lola, in which she successfully challenged the validity of laws denying common law spouses the right to claim spousal support upon separation, in a unanimous judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal. However, the Supreme Court of Canada, in one of its most divided judgments in history, concluded to the constitutionality of the laws restricting alimony to married spouses; though five of nine justices concluded the complete failure to protect common law spouses was discriminatory and one of them considered this discrimination against common law spouses to be a “minimal impairment” of their Charter rights by the Quebec legislator.
She challenged the constitutionality of the Quebec Child Support Guidelines, and the Superior Court declared the Guidelines to be discriminatory toward women, but has yet to invalidate the law. The Quebec Court of Appeal, however, concluded that although the Quebec Child Support Guidelines are prejudicial and less generous than the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which are applicable across Canada, this did not amount to discrimination toward Quebec children. She will soon be filing an application for leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Me Goldwater is also a well-known public figure in Quebec as host of L’Arbitre (The Arbitrator), a weekly program that airs on V-Télé.
She is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Yiddish.