Dissolution of marriage (Divorce) is one of the most stressful events of a person's life. Some studies show that the stress of divorce can be near the levels of stress and grief that a person experiences when they lose a parent or child. I believe that every person considering divorce or actively going through a divorce should seek mental health counseling. Whether you think you need counseling or not, counseling can teach you a lot about yourself, help rebuild your confidence, manage stress, and enable you to make good decisions during the divorce process. Also, therapy is much more cost effective than taliking to your attorney about stress and anxiety. Your attorney is not a mental health expert and while I listen to clients in order to represent them in achieving their goals; I can do a better job representing you with the assistance of a therapist. Therapy will save you attorney fees by equiping you with the ability to ask your attorney better questions and provide your attorney with relevant information.

Divorce Process

A divorce is a lawsuit. Lawsuits begin by filig a Petition (called a complaint in other types of law) along with the necessary supporting documents; then having copies of those documents served by a process server to the spouse (opposing party/respondent).

The Respondent (person who was served the Petition) has 20 days to file a written response. The written response is usually called an "Answer". However, there may be legal issues to raise before filing an Answer. Failing to bring up certain defenses or legal issues may cause you to lose certain rights. Failing to file any response within the 20 days from the date of service WILL result in the loss of rights. Please seek legal advice as soon as possible. Divorce is more than just filling out forms. The Resondent will almost always want to file a counter-petition.

After the initial documents (pleadings) are filed. Each party must disclose to the other party certain financial documents. These documents are required to be provided to the other spouse (or their attorney) without the other spouse requesting the documents. The list of documents that are required to be provided are called the "Mandatory Disclosure Documents". Compliance with the rule of Mandatory Disclosure is vital to achieving your goals. Failure to comply with providing the documents may result in the Judge ordering you to pay your spouse's attorney fees.

The "Financial AFfidavit" is the most important document on the Mandatory Disclosure checklist. Fincancial Affidavits must be completed by each party in every family law case. Your attorney can provide you with a form. However, I have software that assists clients in filling out the finacial affidavit making the process much less complicated.

There are two requirements for clients to complete at the very beginning of a divorce matter that have deadlines. 1. Financial Affidavit, 2. providing the documents on the Mandatory Disclosure Checklist. In divorces with children, there is a third requirement: complete an approved 4 hour parenting class. The list of class providers can be found on the Florida Department of Children and Families website. Each parent must complete a 4 hour parenting class and there are no exceptions.

Equitable Distribution

Divorce is a challenging process, and one of the pivotal aspects is the division of marital assets and liabilities. In Florida, the principle of equitable distribution governs this process, aiming for fairness rather than a strict 50/50 split.

Equitable Distribution Defined

Unlike community property states, where marital assets are divided equally, Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that marital property is divided fairly, taking into consideration various factors, to achieve a just and equitable result.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Central to equitable distribution is the distinction between marital and non-marital property. Marital property generally includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage, while non-marital property typically consists of assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift.

Factors Influencing Distribution

Florida courts consider various factors when determining the equitable distribution of marital property. These factors include the duration of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse, the contributions to the marriage in terms of homemaking and child-rearing, and the economic circumstances of each party.

Valuation of Assets

Accurate valuation of assets is crucial in the equitable distribution process. This includes real estate, investments, businesses, and personal property. Professional appraisals or financial experts may be enlisted to ensure a fair assessment.

Debts and Liabilities

Equitable distribution extends beyond assets to encompass debts and liabilities. The court will also consider the fair allocation of marital debts, taking into account factors such as which spouse incurred the debt and the purpose of the debt.

Legal Respresentation and Settlement

During divorce proceedings, legal representation is invaluable. Attorneys can assist in navigating the complexities of equitable distribution, advocating for their client's interests. Additionally, many divorces are resolved through negotiation or mediation, allowing couples more control over the outcome.


When couples cannot agree on the division of assets, the court will intervene. In such cases, a judge will make decisions based on the evidence presented, aiming to achieve a fair and equitable resolution.


Equitable distribution in a Florida divorce requires a careful examination of marital assets, liabilities, and various contributing factors. Understanding the principles behind this process can empower individuals to make informed decisions and work towards a fair resolution. Legal advice and representation play a crucial role in navigating the complexities of equitable distribution and ensuring one's interests are protected during this challenging period.



Mediation is a process where the parties come together to talk about the issues in their case and try to come to an agreement settling all or part of their case. A mediator assists the parties in resolving their disputes. However, the mediator does not decide any of the issues. The mediator facilitates the mediation and helps maintain an environment where the parties feel free to negotiate.

Mediation is confidential. This means that what is discussed at mediation or any of the offers made, cannot later be brought up or mentioned in court.

There is no requirement to come to an agreement at mediation. However, mediation is a valuable process that may narrow the issues and lead to an agreement later on in the case. If the parties fail to come to an agreement the mediator will declare the mediaiton an "impasse."

Mediation is required by our judges in all divorce and paternity matters.

If the parties come to an agreement at mediation, a written settlement agreement is prepared by the parties' attorneys. Sometimes, coming to an oral agreement is the easy part of mediation. However, the agreement must be written and reflect the intentions of the parties. It is most important that the written settlement agreement be prepared so that it is enforcebable by the Court if there is an issue in the future. A poorly written agreement will come back to haunt the parties. Mediation is one of the most important parts of a case to have the advisement and expertise of a divorce/family law attorney.

Settling your case at mediation is the least expensive method to resolve your case. If a case does not settle by agreement, it will be scheduled for trial. At trial a Judge decides the issues based on the testimony and other evidence that the parties present during the trial. Trial can be a roll of the dice and the decision is left completely up to the Judge. Generally speaking, parties are more satisfied with the outcome of their case when they are able to resolve the issues through mediaiton.

Mediations are relatively informal events. The parties may begin mediation in the same room while the mediator introduces themself and instructs the parties about the mediation process. After the introduction by the mediator, the parties may begin discussing the issues and making offers/proposals of settlement. In most cases, the parties will break out into seperate rooms so that they may have discussions with there attorney in privacy.

Mediation creates an environement that is conducive to settling disputes. Parties are free to speak knowing that their negotiations are confidential. The mediator is a neutral third party that each party can talk to about their goals. The mediatior does not and cannot give legal advice but a good mediator has experience and skills in presenting the proposals and keeping the parties focused on settling.

Practice Areas   PRACTICE AREAS

  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Child Custody and Support
  • Divorce
    • Parental Responsibility
    • Parenting Plan
    • Equitable Distribution
    • Alimony
    • Child Support
    • High-Asset Divorce
    • Divorce Involving Businesses
    • Real Estate
    • Uncontested Divorces
    • Simplified Divorces
    • Domestic Violence
      • Temporary Restraining Orders
      • Injunctions
      • Stalking
      • Cyberstalking
    • DUI
    • Misdemeanors
    • Drug Possession
    • Risk Protection Orders


Criminal court came about during the Norman conquest of England in 1066. There were no written laws and prosecutions were conducted by private individuals.

This early system proved to be insufficient. Local governments of the time began to pay lawyers to prosecute criminal acts and the system evolved to what we have today. The crown had a very important interest in seeing that the people of the kingdom maintained a manageable level of civility.

A criminal act is a crime against the people. The government. In the United States, crimes are prosecuted by the state, federal, or county governement. The prosecutor does not directly represent victims. Office of the State Attorney in Florida represents the people as a whole.

This means that the State Attorney may prosecute someone charged with a crime whether the victim wants to "press charges" or not. The State Attorney may also decline to prosecute the accused despite an alleged victim's wishes.

In our great country, every person has the right to remain silent in the face of goverment investigation or even a local police officer taking a look around.
Alwyas invoke your right to remain silent. Do so politely and with respect to the officer. All law enforcement know your rights but you have to expressily inform them that you do not wish to answer any question without the presence of an attorney. It doesn't matter if you even know an attorney or not. Invoke your right to remain silent! People died in places like the shores of Normandy and in Southeast Asia guaranteeing that you have that right.

Crimes are classified into two major categories: Felonies and Misdemeanors. The short answer to describe the difference between felonies and misdemeanors are the possible sentences. Mideameansor are punishable up to one year in jail and felonies are punishable over one year in prison/incarceration.

Crime are furger broken down into degrees. A crime of the 1st degree is more serious than a crime of the 2nd or 3rd degree.

The criminal justice process follows this basic path:

  • Arrest or notice to appear
  • First Appearance
  • Arraignment
  • Discovery (evidence review)
  • Pretrial Conferences
  • Motions
  • Negotiations
  • Plea? or Trial?

The Public Defenders in the Twentieth Circuit are some of the best lawyers you will ever meet. Also, many of the most well known attorneys in Florida spent years as Public Defenders. They are passionate, they are bright, and they know how to do everything. However, they represent people who are indigent and have many cases.

A great benefit of having a private attorney is that many of the court events in most cases can be taken care of by your attorney without you having to miss work or appear in Court. Also, you might find that your hired attorney is going to be available more oftern because that is what you are paying him to do.

I want to represent you and I will do my best to accomodate you on fees. Give me a call or text me directly at (239)744-3434



Research shows that divorce is the second most stressful situation that a person can go through in a time. First on the list is the death of a loved one. Other events on the list include moving, major illness, job loss, and jail time. This guide is no replacement for a professional to help you deal with your stress and it is certainly not legal advice. This guide is information and reliable, factual information can help people feel empowered. Also, you might find some information here that will help answer your questions or help you form better questions for your attorney, saving you some money.


Marriage is a legal relationship officially recognized by the state. Common-law marriage was abolished in Florida in 1967. Today, to have a valid marriage a couple must obtain a marriage license. A valid marriage cannot be terminated without the entry of court order. The Florida Legislature determines the terms upon which a divorce will be allowed. Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes deals with Dissolution of Marriage. However, there are also Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, administrative rules, and case law that also apply to Dissolution of Marriage cases.

Before 1971, to obtain a divorce, the person filing for the divorce was required to prove that the other person was at fault for causing the grounds for divorce. Now, proving fault is not required and fault is mostly irrelevant. Only two grounds now exist that entitle a person to divorce: (1) the marriage is irretrievably broken OR (2) one of the spouses has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated under Florida law for at least three years.

The policy reasons behind no-fault divorce is to enable people to end their marriages as amicably as possible and to lesson the adversarial nature of divorce. Even the way parties are labeled in family law cases is different from other civil court cases. The person who files for divorce is called the "Petitioner" (instead of a "Plaintiff") and the other spouse is called the "Respondent"(instead of the "Defendant"). Filing first has little to no real impact in divorce cases. All 50 states are now some form of no-fault divorce states.

A marriage is irretrievable broken if the parties do not want to stayed married to each other any longer. In most cases, the Judge is not interested in inquiring in further detail about why the marriage is ending. If one spouse made the decision that the marriage should be terminated, then the marriage is broken. If one spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, it generally does not matter. However, a Judge can, in some narrow circumstances pause the divorce for up to three months to enable the parties to reconcile if the parties are willing.


  1. Determine if you meet the requirements to file for divorce in Florida:

    You may file for divorce in Florida if either you or your spouse have been residing in Florida for the previous six months. (This is just one an example of a very black and white sentence that does not really inform the reader of all the nuances regarding issues of jurisdiction). If your divorce involves children, there are adittional requirements that must be met before Florida can make decisions regarding parenting and child support.

  2. Does your spouse own a business or corporation?

    There are always two parties to a marriage but in some cases there may be more. If your spouse owns a business or corporation sometimes there is good reason to name the business or corporation as party to the divorce; especially if you suspect the corporation is being used to cover up resources your spouse may have. This means that the corporation would be included as a "Defendant" in the divorce.

  3. Do you and your spouse jointly own property that cannot be physically divided?

    If you and your spouse own property that is jointly titled, for example a home, that cannot be divided into two pieces, you will need to request that the Court "Partition" the property so that the value of the home may be divided between the parties.

  4. What county should you file your divorce in?

    In most cases a divorce should be filed in the county where you reside or in the county where your spouse resides, or where you and your spouse last resided together as husband and wife.

  5. How is the divorce officially commenced?

    A dissolution of marriage is commenced by the filing of a pleading called a "Petition" with the Clerk of Courts in the County your divorce will take place. A pleading is a generic term for the primary document filed to begin a lawsuit. A dissolution of marriage is a lawsuit. There are several other supporting documents that are also required to be filed along with the Petition. In other types of civil cases, the initial pleading is referred to as a "Complaint".

  6. What information is required in a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage?

    It is imperative to have a properly drafted Petition because the Petition is where you notify the other spouse what you are wanting the court to decide. The things that you are seeking or asking for in your divorce are referred to as the "relief". The relief you are requesting depends on the circumstances of your marriage. If you do not ask for a particular kind of "relief" in your petition, the Court will not be able to grant you that particular kind of relief". For example, if your marriage involves children then you must address parenting and child support in your Petition. Another example might be, that if you are seeking alimony, you must include paragraphs that allege the basis for your request for alimony in your Petition. The same is true for property division and distribution of debts. A Petition must also include allegations concerning jurisdiction. A Petition that fails to meet the minimum requirements may be dismissed and cost you precious time and resources in the long run.


Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.110 states that a pleading "Petition" must contain "a short and plain statement of the ultimate facts showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." However, in family law matters it is usually wise to include some narrative so that the court has an easier time understanding the unique circumstances of a particular family. Narratives should not include irrelevant information and should not be inflammatory. Discretions should be exercised when drafting a petition. The minimum requirements for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Minor Children can be found in the Florida Supreme Court form 12.901(b)(1). The Florida Supreme Court Forms are designed to meet the bare minimum pleading requirements. Experienced attorneys do not typically use the forms but you should review them and read the instructions to better familiarize with the process.


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