When your family is facing significant change, choosing the right law firm to represent your best interests is of the utmost importance.
The Sutton Law Firm, with locations in St. Petersburg, Bartow, and Lakeland, FL, offers a range of family law services to meet your needs.
Family law attorney Debra J. Sutton, along with attorney Matthew J. Kovschak, can provide the legal counsel you and your family need...
Sutton Law Firm
Your Family Law Advocates
The need to consult a family law attorney can arise from a range of occurrences in Florida. While adoption can be an exciting time for a growing family, a child custody battle can be a stressful process. Regardless of your family law needs, the Sutton Law Firm can provide the legal counsel you need. Debra Sutton is Board Certified in marital and family law and has been advocating for clients throughout Polk County and St. Petersburg for over 25 years. Our boutique law firm can provide you with the individualized attention you deserve to resolve your family law matters and protect your best interests.
Divorce & Marital Dissolution
Florida family law does not allow a formal legal separation, but there are legal agreements that can achieve a similar result for those who prefer this status over a divorce.
A civil annulment, which declares a marriage never existed in the eyes of the law, is difficult to obtain. That being said, an annulment can be granted on very specific grounds.
Some divorce cases involve substantial assets and the need to divide marital property that may include a family-owned business, multiple investment accounts, art collections, and multi-million dollar homes. Because these cases can have incredible levels of complexity, our team can collaborate with forensic accountants and other professionals in order to protect the rights of our clients.
Additional Legal Services Related to Family Separation
After a marital dissolution in Bartow, Lakeland, or St. Petersburg, FL, property division and conflicts pertaining to child custody are key issues that need to be addressed.
Division of Property and Assets
When a marriage is ending, property division is one of the primary issues decided by the spouses or a judge. Florida law uses an equitable distribution process to determine the division of assets and debts. It is important to keep in mind that equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Characterizing property as separate, marital, or co-mingled is the key to determining the division of real estate, investment accounts, jewelry, automobiles, and other assets. The family lawyers at Sutton Law Firm can help you navigate these complicated issues in order to protect your best interests.
During a separation, Florida family courts seek to encourage a child’s frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
The Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, can help protect your time sharing rights with a strong time sharing case. We can help you work out a fair time sharing plan through custody and visitation so that your children can enjoy a healthy relationship with both parents.
Contact Debra J. Sutton Board Certified in Marital and Family Law
If you are facing a change in your family, our team understands the difficulties you are going through. The Sutton Law Firm serving Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, is here to help clients at each step of the legal process so that you can move forward with your life.
Clients who have hired Debra J. Sutton for their family law needs recommend her because:
- Debra Sutton has been Florida Board Certified as a specialist in marital and family law matters since 2001.
- She has used her skills as a family law attorney, and those of her undergraduate studies in psychology, to assist more than 2,000 families.
- She is compassionate, prepared, and a substantial source of knowledge.
- She will include you at each step in the process, building your confidence and helping you plan with a purpose both during and following the litigation.
To schedule a consultation at one of our three law offices serving Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, contact us online or call:
5-Star Client Reviews "Professional and Effective Legal Representation"
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 Avvo
Debra Sutton is an fantastic attorney. When my Husband passed away I didn't know what to do. I went to Ms. Sutton's office in desperation. She was very compassionate about my needs and helped me get through this devastating time in my life. She far exceeded my expectations of an attorney. I would recommend her to all that needs a family law attorney.View On Avvo
Collaborative Law Settle Your Matters Out of Court
Married couples in Polk County and St. Petersburg facing an amicable separation can benefit from the collaborative law process. By discussing and settling your matters out of court, you can reduce anxiety while saving time and expenses. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that during the collaborative law process, our attorneys can only represent one spouse.
Our collaborative law services include...
Divorce mediation allows you to resolve issues of contention with the help of a mediator rather than a judge. Each party retains an attorney for legal advice, and the parties work together to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible. The mediator then helps the parties negotiate any remaining disputes until a mediation agreement is reached. Debra Sutton has served as a Supreme Court certified family law mediator and can help you through the mediation process.
If both parties can work together to reach an agreement pertaining to property, custody, alimony, and other issues, divorce can be relatively simple. In an uncontested divorce, pleadings and supporting papers need to be prepared and filed with the court, including a detailed settlement agreement and, if children are involved, a parenting plan. It is always a good idea to have a family law attorney to assist you with this paperwork and review your settlement agreement.
In this innovative process, a divorcing couple and their individual attorneys enter a binding agreement to resolve all issues without court intervention. The lawyers provide guidance as you and your spouse collaborate to work through disputes and come to terms. Neutral experts are retained to provide any needed supportive information during the process. The attorneys at our firm can help you reach a satisfactory resolution during a collaborative divorce.
Alimony may be awarded to either the husband or wife in a divorce or legal separation. In Florida, alimony is calculated considering the length of the marriage, the age and health of both spouses, and each spouse’s financial status during and at the end of the marriage. The standard of living during the marriage is a factor, along with a spouse’s time spent in child-rearing or supporting the other’s career development.
Child support awards are determined by the income and earning capacity of both parents, child care costs, child custody arrangements or the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and other factors. We can also assist with child support enforcement or help modify an existing order where support is too high or too low.
"Professional and Sincere."
Debra and her staff were very professional and sincere in helping me through my collaborative divorce. Debra was extremely knowledgeable and helpful during this time and made me feel very comfortable through the process. Sandra Weaver, 5-Star Google Review
A Team of Family Law Attorneys Dedicated to Providing World-Class Counsel
Sutton Law Firm serves the legal needs of Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, and we strive to provide our clients with the respect and legal counsel they need when their family is facing tough times. If you are in need of a family law attorney, we encourage you to request a consultation with our team today.
During an initial consultation, we educate clients about the legal process they face so that they can be prepared for the road ahead. We will continue to keep you informed every step of the way so that you always have a good idea about the status and direction of your case. It is our goal to ensure our clients can make every decision with confidence, even when the case is resolved.
We welcome all kinds of clients, including those with limited finances, those with disabilities or special needs, and those with a high net worth.
To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a consultation at one of our three law offices, contact us online or call:
A Welcoming Environment
"An Excellent Attorney" More 5-Star Client Reviews
I had previously hired two attorneys that were not knowledgeable with the details about my case. As a result, I spent an enormous amount of money with no conclusion to the issue at hand. I was DESPERATE! Debra was referred to me by another reputable law firm. After one conversation, I KNEW she was the attorney I needed to hire. She is very knowledgeable, patient to answer all of my questions and went out of her way to overly communicate any and all possible outcomes. I would highly recommend Debra and her services to anyone in need of a knowledgeable attorney who will take the time to understand your needs and will represent you accordingly.View On Avvo
Debra Sutton is an excellent attorney. Dedication to her profession was clearly exhibited by the knowledge, guidance and advice she provided to me during a very difficult time. In addition to the professionalism provided to me and members of my family, Ms. Sutton never wavered in her concern and compassion for me and persevered endlessly on my behalf during and even after my case was complete. My limited finances did not deter Ms. Sutton from providing me strong legal representation and she and her staff gladly worked with me on my bill. Without question Ms. Sutton keeps the interests and wellbeing of her clients first and foremost and I will always be grateful that Debra Sutton was in my corner representing me. I confidently endorse her to serve all your family law needs.View On Avvo
More Than a Beautiful Office Space
Some couples seek to resolve financial issues pertaining to divorce before entering into a marriage. A prenuptial agreement can be a wise decision if you are coming into a marriage with substantial assets, or have heirs for whom you would like to provide.
A postnuptial agreement accomplishes the same goal but is entered into after marriage, perhaps to ease a spouse’s anxiety. A postnuptial agreement can also serve as a legal document for a couple who wishes to live apart yet remain married.
Are You Considering a Divorce?
Divorce is incredibly personal. Even if you are confident in your decision, it can be scary. We understand there are many unknowns and that significant changes are about to occur in your life.
First and foremost, creating a solid plan with a trusted confidant is critical. Debra will act as more than your lawyer. She will include you at each step in the process, helping you plan with a purpose both during and following the litigation. At the conclusion of each case, our firm provides exit appointments at no charge to ensure that clients can move forward with confidence.
Take the first step towards putting your needs first today. Contact our lawyer by requesting a consultation online or call:
Other Family Law Services
Divorce papers signed by a family court judge are legally binding and fully enforceable. Still, it is not uncommon for a spouse to try to ignore a court order for child or spousal support or to deny a parent visitation rights. Whether it means garnishing wages or seizing assets, the team at Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, are here to help protect your legal rights.
Modifications are requests to change court orders because of significantly changed circumstances that affect someone's ability to maintain their legal obligations. If you have experienced a job loss, relocation, or an issue regarding your children, you may have a legal basis to obtain a post-judgment modification for custody or other matters.
Jurisdictional & Venue Disputes
Family law jurisdictional disputes can be complex. Questions arise when a parent interferes with custody arrangements by moving with a child to another state, or moves and then files for divorce. Which state should decide the case? In a venue dispute, the parties argue over the location of the court that may adjudicate a family law issue. This question is decided based upon convenience and other factors, with the needs of the child always given priority.
Domestic violence should never be tolerated, and the attorneys at Sutton Law are committed to taking all necessary action to protect our clients. Conversely, a spouse can be falsely accused of domestic violence, sometimes in an effort to gain an advantage in child custody negotiations. In this case, we will work to establish our client's innocence and protect his or her rights.
Our firm represents clients in paternity actions. A paternity suit may be brought by a mother seeking child support, or the state may file for support against a non-custodial parent. A father may sue to establish his paternity and establish a role in his child’s life, or he may seek to disprove paternity to avoid paying child support.
Guardianship & Adoption
Our lawyers can help a step-parent, grandparents, or other family members gain guardianship of a child in order to provide a stable environment. The Sutton Law Firm can also help potential parents with the adoption process. Adoption can be complex, but our lawyers in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, can provide much-needed legal support.
"Worked Tirelessly to Resolve My Legal Issues"
Debra Sutton has been my attorney in family law matters for five years. She has been most professional and effective in every action. I have had other attorneys in the past that did not handle my case well at all. Ms. Sutton was able to pick up the pieces from that case and put it back on track in the right direction; a feat that was not easy. Her knowledge and attention to detail has been most effective. Court cases are extremely stressful. Ms. Sutton's ability to see the big picture and take effective action was most reassuring. She has kept me informed about my case at all times and has been responsive when contacted. Ms. Sutton has even taken phone calls on the weekend in times of need. 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.View On Avvo
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. This alone endeared her to me. However, she exceeded expectations and consistently went "over and above". I was never let down. I was cleared, she wiped the floor with my ex and his incompetent attorney. I owe Debra Sutton and Sutton Law Firm so much - they gave me my life back. 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