Client signing document with gavel and wedding rings in foreground

Divorce Attorney

Deciding to end a marriage is a difficult choice. Unfortunately, it's just the beginning of a series of difficult decisions for many people.

At Sutton Law Firm in Bartow, FL, divorce attorney Debra J. Sutton has handled family law cases for three decades.

Whether you seek a more peaceful resolution through mediation or need to proceed with litigation for a high asset divorce, we can help.

Peaceful Alternatives to Contentious Litigation
Collaborative Divorce and Mediation

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce offers a more conciliatory approach to legal separation and the resolution of marriage. Most people have a hard time imagining divorcing parties agreeing on anything. However, this approach to divorce or any family law matter is intended to remove the complexity and hostility that often surrounds the process.

In this setting, both parties agree to work out their differences, including issues of child custody and child support, outside of the courtroom. Parties are assisted by their attorneys and other professionals. The focus is on the good of the family as a whole, rather than on the individual. This approach allows us to consider the needs of everyone, particularly children, and develop solutions that are agreeable to all parties involved.

Handshake across a table

The Collaborative Divorce Process

During this process, each spouse retains a lawyer to represent them in the case. Our attorneys in Bartow will then proceed with working out the details of the divorce in a fair and amicable manner by discussing each party’s concerns and addressing the following issues:

Valuation of Assets

A divorce lawyer needs to evaluate all marital assets and debts to determine a fair and equitable distribution; in many cases, we get input from an accountant or other forensic expert on the collaborative team.

Division of Assets

Our attorneys will determine how to allocate family income to meet the financial needs of all parties and children.

Child Sharing Arrangements

Our divorce lawyers will provide recommendations about child custody and support from child specialists.

Future Communication

During the collaborative divorce process, we foster present and future communication by coming to a favorable agreement for all parties.

Cost Saving Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Aside from the lawyers that represent both sides, the other professionals retained depend on the needs of the case. In divorce litigation, each party may hire a CPA; in the collaborative process, the spouses select a mutual financial professional with immediate cost savings for the family. The use of experts beyond the attorneys is voluntary but the idea in collaboration is, in part, to use varied expertise to do what is best for the family.

Contact Our Law Firm
Meet with a Lawyer for Legal Guidance

Having an experienced and qualified attorney by your side can ease the tension and lift the anxiety you feel about ending a marriage or litigating matters related to children. Debra Sutton has been Board Certified in Marital and Family Law since 2001 and Board Certified in Appellate Practice since 1997, handling family law matters before trial and appellate courts for 30 years. In fact, she is one of less than six percent of Florida attorneys who have achieved certification and less than one percent of attorneys who have earned Board Certification in family law.

We have three locations in the central Florida area: Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland. To schedule an appointment with a divorce lawyer, contact us online or call us at:

(863) 533-8912

Sutton Law Firm office interior

"An Attorney Who Will Be Your Advocate" 5-star Reviews from Our Clients




Google logo

Debra Sutton and Sutton Law Firm are the epitome of what you hope lawyers are going to be...  Debra and her staff worked tirelessly to resolve my legal issues on multiple fronts simultaneously dealing with opposing counsel who are inept, unethical and bordering on criminal - with grace, integrity and confidence.  Debra was referred to me by a trusted attorney friend - the highest accolade an attorney can receive...  I cannot recommend Debra Sutton and the Sutton Law Firm any higher!  If you need her services, you will never have a better advocate in your corner.

View On Google


July 3, 2020

Avvo logo

Recently, necessity required yet again I reach out to Ms. Sutton for legal matters. Debra has handled my legal representation in family matters for over 13 years. Never has she waivered from anything but professional and effective legal representation. She will remain your advocate throughout any process from start to finish and continue to provide prompt service after the case is completed. If you need an attorney who will be YOUR advocate during stressful times, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.

View On Google

Divorce Mediation

Mediation can ease the hostility that often follows a divorce. It is an alternative to contentious and expensive litigation, which can result in an antagonistic and hostile relationship between parties. Divorce mediation is recommended in some cases as a more amicable alternative to traditional divorce.

During mediation, a neutral third party serves as the mediator between the separating spouses, providing guidance and helping to facilitate discussion to arrive on a settlement of contested issues. This may include division of assets and debts, child support, parenting plans, and what type of time sharing schedule works best for the child.

Lawyer with hands raised in calming gesture, sitting between two parties

The Mediation Process

Discuss Your Needs with a Lawyer

In preparing clients for mediation, we want to learn more about your situation and understand who you are and what you want for your family. We work with you to clarify the most pressing issues and identify the ideal outcome. 

Negotiating the Best Outcome

From there, Ms. Sutton can guide negotiations during mediations to achieve the outcome that best meets your needs and concerns. Your lawyer should make sure that you understand the legal implications of any agreement you may reach.

Divorce Settlement

Any settlement in mediation is reduced to a written agreement and signed by both parties. Both parties are then expected to abide by the terms of the settlement, including property and asset division, child custody, child support, and alimony.

What If We Don't Reach a Settlement?

If a settlement is not reached, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you explored all options. Even if mediation is not successful at the time of the mediation conference, Ms. Sutton has been successful in settling disputes afterward and prior to trial. If not, we will be ready and prepared to go to trial to have a judge decide the final terms. Our attorneys in Bartow will help build a strong case.

5-star Review from an Attorney

"I have known and worked with Debra Sutton since before she became the outstanding practitioner she has now been for over thirty years. I have referred many clients to her for matters within her specialities and she has provided each of them superb representation. She is not only one of the most capable, Board Certified, family law attorneys in the State, she is also a top rated, Board Certified, appellant lawyer, with an excellent reputation in numerous matters over several decades."

Contact a Lawyer for Help with Your Case

At Sutton Law Firm in Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, our lawyers and staff are sensitive to the legal requirements of each case, as well as the psychological impact it can have on former spouses and children. We also understand that these legal proceedings are unchartered waters for most people. Our divorce attorneys pride ourselves on our ability to promptly respond to clients' needs in an effective and timely manner, with specific information and a planned response catered to their situation. We serve clients across central Florida. For help with your case, contact our divorce lawyers online or call us in Bartow at:

(863) 533-8912

High Asset Divorce

A high asset divorce involves spouses who have accumulated substantial net worth. It can also include cases where an individual has substantial non-marital income and assets. This may be in the form of high income, substantial assets, substantial home and business equity, multiple properties, overseas assets, large insurance and retirement accounts, a trust, or valuable artwork.

As a result, there are often prenuptial agreements or payout provisions on certain types of accounts that require special attention. Some of the provisions of prenuptial agreements may have been modified or compromised during the marriage by conduct of one of the spouses. In addition, high net worth individuals face challenges not experienced by others; the rules, entities involved, and tax consequences are just a few. Our divorce lawyers can help you maximize your financial settlement.

Three business associates reviewing graphs and calculator output

What Happens to My Business Assets When I Go Through A Divorce? 

Matthew Kovschak, attorney at law, talks about business assets when going through a divorce

"Professional and Effective in Every Action"

"Debra Sutton has been my attorney in family law matters for five years. She has been most professional and effective in every action... Her staff is also exceptional in their dedication to service. Ms. Sutton has been a blessing, going above and beyond, in her willingness to work with me on my bill. She genuinely cares about her clients, keeping their best interest at heart. I highly recommend her to serve your family law needs."
Debra J. Sutton

Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton is an attorney who is board-certified in both appellate practice and marital and family law by the Florida Bar. At the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Kovschak, and their team provide individualized, compassionate, and private legal services. Our popular practice areas include:

You can request a consultation with our board-certified attorney right now by filling out our online form or calling (863) 533-8912.

Contact Us Today

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite

Bartow Office

325 W Main St
Bartow, FL 33830

Closed Today

St Petersburg Office

7024 Central Ave
Ste. 7
St Petersburg, FL 33707

Closed Today

Lakeland Office

625 Commerce Dr
Lakeland, FL 33813

Closed Today

By Appointment Only

What is the best time for you?

Add additional time

Which location would you prefer?

Tell us a bit about yourself...

(863) 533-8912 Send a message