Lasley Family Law & Divorce is a full-service family law practice committed to helping families in the Tampa Bay, FL area resolve difficult and emotional legal disputes.
We offer solid expertise and representation in a wide array of family matters, including:
- military divorce
- child custody
- child support
- domestic violence
We also represent businesses and handle estate planning, probate and guardianship issues.
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we wholeheartedly understand how high the stakes are when it comes to your family. Your trust in us means a lot, and in return, you can expect nothing less than top notch legal representation.
Quality Legal Expertise With A Personal Touch
From the moment we take on your case, YOU become our top priority.
No matter what legal challenge you are facing, we are here to provide you with a solution.
If you are intimidated and confused by the complexities of the court system — don’t worry, we will be there to address and answer any questions or concerns you might have. We take great pride in our compassionate hands-on-approach and go to great lengths to manage your expectations and to ensure that you are well-informed of the judicial process and procedures.
Our highly skilled and experienced lead attorney Mindi Lasley offers the very best in legal representation.
Mindi Lasley has established a stellar reputation as a trusted advisor and aggressive advocate who fights for her clients’ best interests in court.
A Winning Strategy for Any Family Conflict
Many law firms assign more than one attorney to a case which can be impersonal and ineffective. Mindi Lasley, P.A. guarantees that Ms. Lasley will personally handle your case and work directly with you from the date that we are retained, throughout strategizing, negotiations and trial until the case is completed and all issues have been resolved.
Ms. Lasley understands that no two cases are alike, that’s why she will take the time to methodically review the specific details of your case in order to develop a customized strategy that fits your needs. She will carefully listen to your thoughts and concerns and will provide straightforward, precise and honest legal advice.
Ms. Lasley is capable of tackling any case, from the most civil to the most contentious. To date, she has 100 trial cases under her belt. She is a savvy negotiator and mediator who can reach settlements quickly and efficiently, but is not afraid to go on the attack in litigation if necessary.
Are You Headed for a Divorce?
Divorce can be a high stakes, complicated process with far reaching consequences for your future. The decisions made in divorce proceedings can impact every aspect of your life — your living arrangement, financial security, time spent with your child(ren), and so much more. At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we focus on safeguarding your rights and promoting your interests in the divorce process.
Many couples and families in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County rely on divorce attorney Mindi Lasley to help them navigate the personal, logistical, financial, and legal challenges associated with getting a divorce. Clients benefit from her compassionate and supportive approach in dealing with sensitive family matters as well as her seasoned knowledge and long-standing familiarity of the local family court system.
With every divorce case she takes on, Ms. Lasley strives to achieve the best outcome for her clients and makes a concerted effort to resolve disputes through negotiation or mediation whenever possible. When a resolution can be reached amicably, it benefits everyone. This is especially true if there are child(ren) involved.
In the unfortunate instance when a divorce turns contentious, Ms. Lasley will not hesitate to fiercely litigate on your behalf in court while trying to minimize any emotional distress that may befall you or your child(ren).
If you’ve made the difficult decision to end your marriage, or were recently served divorce papers by your spouse, we can help you determine the best way forward. Call today to schedule a Free consultation.
Comprehensive Services Provided To Obtain A Divorce
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we handle all aspects related to the dissolution of marriage including, but not limited to
- Division of marital property including allocation of assets and debts
- Mandatory Disclosure and Financial Affidavits
- Alimony agreements
- Child Custody: Physical/Legal
- Customized Co-Parenting Plan
- Parent Relocation Disputes
- Temporary Orders
- Child Support, Modifications and Enforcement
Eligibility Requirements for Obtaining a Divorce in Hillsborough County
Under Florida divorce law, two basic criteria must be met before filing for a dissolution of marriage in Hillsborough County. They include:
- You or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. To prove your residence, you can submit either a valid Florida driver’s license, Florida ID, or Florida voter registration card to the Florida family law court.
- You or your spouse must state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state and does not require any other grounds for divorce other than to state that the marriage is truly broken.
Hillsborough County Florida Divorce Court, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
Tampa divorce cases are held at the Hillsborough County Florida Divorce Court located at 800 E. Twiggs Street. The family law division handles divorce, child custody, alimony, child support, and paternity cases.
Mandatory Parenting Course Requirement in Divorces Involving Children
If there are children involved in your divorce, Hillsborough County requires that you complete a four hour court approved parenting course before your divorce can be granted. If you are the one filing for the divorce, you must complete the class within 45 days of filing the petition. If you were served divorce papers, you have 45 days since receiving the petition to complete the course.
Which Type of Divorce is Right For You?
Every divorcing couple has their own unique relationship dynamic — some are able to maintain a friendship, others are capable of being civil, while others struggle to be in the same room. Whatever your situation, Mindi Lasley, P.A. can find a tailor made solution to fit your needs. Florida provides three different methods for dissolving a marriage. They include: a simplified divorce, uncontested divorce, and contested divorce.
Simplified Dissolution of Divorce: Quick and Painless
For couples who want a quick, painless, low-cost option for ending a marriage, Florida divorce law offers a process called a “simplified dissolution of divorce.”
To qualify for a simplified divorce, you and your spouse must meet the following criteria:
- one of you has lived in FL for the past six months;
- agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken;
- have no minor children;
- agree on division of assets and debts;
- agree not to seek alimony;
- waive the right to a trial and appeal
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we help you file all the necessary documents correctly, including the petition for divorce and financial affidavit. After we prepare the final forms, we will file them with the clerk and schedule a final hearing with a judge. After the judge reviews the forms, you will receive a final judgment of divorce usually within 20 days.
Uncontested Divorce: Amicable and Cost-Effective
If you and your spouse are in mutual agreement about how to resolve all relevant conflicts in your marriage, you would be a good candidate for an uncontested divorce.
Divorce attorney Mindi Lasley can draft a martial settlement that incorporates your shared decisions on division of assets, spousal support, child custody and time sharing, a co-parenting plan, and child support. If you sign off on the final settlement, the only thing left to do is attend a hearing in which a judge will give his/her stamp of approval and finalize the divorce.
An uncontested divorce can generally be resolved in 60 days. In contrast, a regular divorce can take anywhere from six months to two years. The filing fee for an uncontested divorce in Hillsborough County Florida is approximately $410.
Avoid Court With A Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce emphasizes cooperation versus litigation, and allows you and your husband or wife to set forth your own parameters for how you want to end your marriage — giving you control over the outcome, not a judge.
In the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse, along with your respective attorneys will sign a participation agreement stating your intention to cooperate through negotiation in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial marital settlement. These negotiations will take place in a series of joint sessions or settlement conferences that may include input from a variety of experts including mental health professionals, financial planners, and child specialists. These experts often serve as “coaches” and help facilitate productive discussions that lead to a negotiated settlement.
A collaborative divorce can be accomplished in a two to six month time period. One notable downside in choosing the collaborative method is if for some reason an agreement cannot be reached, both attorneys would be required to withdraw from the process and you would have to retain new counsel and proceed to a contested divorce in court.
Contested Divorce: Adversarial Litigation
A contested divorce is necessary if you and your spouse are unable to reasonably and fairly reach an agreement on the key issues.
Filing for Contested Divorce
Mindi Lasley, P.A., can help you initiate a contested divorce in Hillsborough County by preparing and filing a lawsuit or Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. In this document, you will have the opportunity to outline any specific claims you have regarding the division of marital assets and debts, alimony, child custody and timesharing, and child support.
Once the petition has been filed, the Clerk will issue a summons directing either a Sheriff or process server to hand deliver the petition to your spouse. Your spouse will have 20 days to respond or file a petition of his/her own.
Case Management Conference
At the moment you file for divorce, the clerk will schedule a case management conference to be held in front of a family law judge approximately 90 days after the date you filed. The court will lay out certain tasks that need to be completed before the conference date including: the exchange of financial affidavits and mandatory disclosure documents, filing of child support guidelines, a parenting plan, and attendance and completion of a parenting course.
Discovery Phase and Mandatory Disclosure
After the petition and counter petition have been filed, the divorce will enter the discovery phase. During discovery, you and your spouse must participate in mandatory disclosure, which involves the exchange of key financial information. The goal is to “put all your cards on the table” so there are no secrets going forward. Any attempt to “hide” assets can have serious penalties.
Mandatory closure is a critical step in the divorce process because it serves as a blueprint for how marital assets and property will be divided and how alimony and child support would be calculated (if applicable).
Examples of financial documents you may be asked to provide include but are not limited to:
- income tax statements
- bank account statements
- pay stubs
- titles and deeds
- credit card statements
- insurance policies
- retirement accounts
- car loan documents
You and your spouse will each need to file a Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit with the court and exchange copies with one another. The affidavit is a comprehensive document that lists of all your current assets, debts, and monthly expenditures.
In addition to mandatory disclosure and financial affidavits, you and your spouse may send one another a list of questions called interrogatories which must be answered under oath in a sworn deposition. These questions can be about your spouse’s finances, assets, pensions or other related financial issues.
Requesting Temporary Orders
A contested divorce can take several months to become finalized, but sometimes that’s too long to wait to get certain issues resolved. There may be instances in which you need the court to provide immediate support or relief while your case is pending.
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we can file a motion for temporary orders to be put in place throughout the duration of your divorce. These may include orders for:
- Temporary alimony
- Temporary child custody
- Temporary child support
- Establishing who lives in the primary residence
- Temporary restraining order
- Temporary order to prohibit the selling of assets;
Temporary orders can be requested at the initial filing of the divorce petition or at any time during divorce proceedings. However the court will most likely require you to attend mediation prior to scheduling hearings for temporary orders.
Mediation and Settlement Negotiation
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method meant to help you avoid a bitter court battle. In mediation, you and your spouse will work with a certified mediator to resolve your remaining disputes. This process is confidential and meant to provide a “safe space” where you can hammer out your differences and craft your own agreements on how you want to divide your property or parent your child(ren).
The mediator does not render decisions like a judge but is merely there to encourage cooperation, brainstorm ideas, and ultimately broker a settlement agreement. Divorce attorney Mindi Lasley will help you prepare for mediation, so that you know what to expect and are prepared to protect your interests.
If a settlement is reached, the agreement is put in writing and a hearing is scheduled to present it to the judge for approval.
In the vast majority of cases, mediation is successful and litigation is avoided. However, if you and your spouse cannot arrive at a settlement, then your case will proceed to a trial. Divorce trials in Florida are bench trials which means there is no jury, rather a judge will hear your case. A trial can be for your entire case or centered around the areas where there is disagreement. A divorce trial in Florida, takes about one year from start to finish.
Property Division in Tampa Divorce
One of the most contentious parts of a divorce is dividing marital property. Marital property refers to all the assets and debts that were jointly accumulated during the marriage. Florida Mandatory Disclosure guidelines requires you and your spouse to provide one another with a comprehensive listing of all your assets. These may include the following:
- Homes or rental properties
- Household furniture and furnishings
- Banking and investment accounts
- Retirement accounts and pension plans
In Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida, marital property is divided based on the law of equal distribution. Equal doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split but rather a division based on what is fair in the eyes of the court.
During a divorce proceeding, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to negotiate and draft your own property division agreement. If you can’t reach an agreement a judge will divide the property for you.
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we can help make sure all of your assets and debts are listed and assigned an appropriate appraisal value.
If your case goes to court, the judge will weigh the following factors in determining how the property is divided
- Length of marriage
- Income and earning capacity of both spouses
- Health of both spouses
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
Any time children are involved in a divorce, tensions always run high, especially if one parent wants sole custody. However, in most cases in Florida, both parents agree to share parental responsibility in a joint custody agreement.
In this arrangement, one parent is awarded physical custody and the other parent is given generous visitation or “time-sharing” rights.
Both parents are required by law to create a parenting plan to determine “time-sharing,” as well as other important matters involving the welfare of their child. Parental plans need to be extremely detailed and include a systematic time-sharing schedule, as well as guidelines for issues related to:
- extracurricular activities
- and others
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we have extensive experience drafting and litigating parenting plans that are in the best interests of you and your child(ren). Ms. Lasley customizes a plan that is tailored to your child(ren)’s needs and then persuasively presents the plan to the court for approval.
Both parents in Florida are legally required to financially support their children until they reach 18 years of age. In the event of a divorce, child support is provided by the non-custodial parent to assist the custodial parent in providing a home, food, clothing and any other necessities for their minor child(ren).
Ms. Lasley is dedicated to making sure custodial parents receive the child support they are entitled to.
If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay court ordered child support, a motion of contempt can be filed which can lead to:
- suspension of driver’s license
- garnishment of wages and/or tax refund
- confinement in the county jail
In addition, our firm represents non-custodial parents in child support enforcement cases and family law cases, and we advocate on their behalf to make sure they are not paying more child support than they are legally obligated to pay.
Mindi Lasley, P.A. handles contested and uncontested adoption cases and represents clients who are adopting a child, as well as parents who are trying to maintain their parental rights.
If you are seeking to adopt, we would love to be part of that joyous process that introduces you to your new son or daughter.
Regardless of whether you plan to adopt domestically, from a family member, or out of the country, we will represent you in the adoption process and make sure the process runs smoothly, including terminating the rights of biological parents.
While it’s true that the adoption process can be complicated and involve a lot of red tape, Ms. Lasley knows how to navigate adoption law and will make sure you feel involved every step of the way.
Serving Tampa Bay and Surrounding Areas
Mindi Lasley handles cases throughout the Tampa Bay area in:
- Hillsborough County
- Pinellas County
- Manatee County
- Pasco County
Including the towns of:
- Plant City
- Wesley Chapel
- Land O’ Lakes
- Dade City
- New Port Richey
- Palm Harbor
- St. Petersburg
Please contact us to schedule a consultation.