In the journey of life, unforeseen twists can emerge, and when confronted with legal complexities such as divorce, bankruptcy, or foreclosure, the presence of a compassionate attorney can be a game-changer. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the expertise of Alyssa Vanstone of Vanstone Law, a highly proficient family law attorney also specializing in foreclosure defense and bankruptcy matters in the vibrant city of Sarasota, Florida. Discover invaluable insights as she offers guidance on navigating the legal aspects of a divorce with wisdom and skill.
Why did you decide to become an attorney?
I wish I had some wonderful story where I had this great epiphany but it really wasn’t like that. I think it was one of those deals where regardless of whether or not I practiced or what I did with the law degree, I felt it was a very empowering degree and I would find my niche somewhere eventually.
What led you to focus solely on foreclosure defense, family law and bankruptcy as your firm’s practice areas?
I started out as a prosecutor in the sixth judicial circuit. While I was working for the state attorney’s office, I transferred to a division that does dependency work for the Department of Children and Families. So, that was initially how I got into the realm of family law.
It isn’t quite what we generally think of as family law but it’s sort of a branch of it.
I really enjoyed that work and so it was a natural way to fall into what I do. Now, in regards to foreclosure, I started doing some civil work as well as family law and it all connects because a lot of parties that are going through divorces find themselves experiencing bankruptcy or foreclosure as well. Especially back in 2011 when we had a lot of more foreclosures in the market and people were experiencing multiple stressors on their lives. A lot of it goes hand-in-hand. Having knowledge of both is extremely helpful in resolving divorces and in resolving foreclosures.
What does the Vanstone Law Firm stand for?
We really want to provide compassionate legal services as well as top-notch legal services. If you are in foreclosure and experiencing a divorce or a custody battle, it’s likely one of the worst periods in your life, at some points. When people are at that low, they not only need fantastic legal advice, but they also need encouragement and just someone to listen to them. I want my staff to do that and that’s what I try to do as an attorney. We really listen to people and just be compassionate about what they’re going through. In addition to providing them the top-notch legal services
What is an uncontested divorce in Florida?
What we, as attorneys call uncontested, is where both parties or both spouses have an agreement as to how they want to divide assets, liabilities and ,if they have children, how they want to designate time with each parent. So they’ve really come together, they’re not arguing over anything, they know exactly how they want to divide everything and resolve their divorce.
What role does a family law attorney play in an uncontested divorce?
It is important to note that each attorney can only represent one of the parties. However, an attorney can prepare all of the necessary paperwork for the divorce, the marital settlement agreement that outlines the property and how parties are dividing assets and liabilities up. An attorney can assist in preparing the agreed upon parenting plan, which you are required to have anytime there are children. The parties must decide when each parent is having time, holidays and things of that nature. We can prepare all of the paperwork that needs to be done and we can get it filed with the court. We can either set a final hearing or send it into the judge without having a final hearing, at least locally, it depends on the court and the particular judges and how they finalize. Overall, we can really move it along and just get it done. A lot of times that’s the benefit. Technically you have the ability
to do it yourself; however, sometimes people just want it done quickly and they don’t want to worry about all that paperwork and ensuring that it is filled out correctly. In an already stressful situation in your life, it can make a big difference to have an attorney in your corner that has done this many times before, and provide the knowledge that you need. With an uncontested divorce I would always recommend at least speaking to an attorney to figure out if there’s any issues that need to be resolved that you may not have considered.
What is a contested divorce in Florida?
A contested divorce is when the spouses do not have an agreement, sometimes there’s not even an agreement about whether or not they want to divorce. So what happens in that particular case, is one party has to file a petition and serve the other party or spouse with that petition. Just because a case starts in a contested manner like that does not mean that they can’t eventually resolve all issues without going before a judge. I think people find that once they start the contested process that it can be very overwhelming and very emotional. Maybe in the beginning, they weren’t ready to resolve it but at some point down the line, they do resolve it. Both parties are required to mediate and most often that’s where divorces are resolved if they start off in a contested manner.
What holds people back from hiring a family law attorney during a difficult time like a divorce?
Oftentimes, I think it’s the money and being able to afford an attorney. Maybe sometimes people are just so overwhelmed with the emotion, they just can’t move forward or pull themselves out to do what they need to do. The combination of those two issues is really why people may be hesitant to hire an attorney but, we see many individuals overcome these challenges. If you’re served, you have to deal with it. If you don’t respond to that lawsuit you could lose everything. It’s a civil case just like any other civil case and you don’t ever want to not respond to any lawsuit whether it be divorce, foreclosure on any type of civil suit. It’s a serious matter and you can lose a lot of rights in the case if you don’t respond. There is an ability to get attorneys fees from the spouse in a divorce, but that would just have to be discussed with any attorney that the individual consults with.
What advice would you give someone looking for a family law attorney in Florida?
A big issue that can come up in an attorney client relationship is conflicts in personalities and maybe how you want the case to move along, although, I will say that to some extent, there are things outside of the attorneys control and we will be
the first to say this is outside of our control it, if those types of issues come
Up. Ultimately I would suggest consulting with more than one attorney. You need to feel as though you can get along with that person. You should like the personality of that person, I think that goes a long way because with the divorce you can potentially be spending a lot of time working with this attorney.
Is there anything else you would like to share with someone looking for a family law, foreclosure defense, or bankruptcy attorney in Florida?
An individual in that position may feel like the world is ending and that they really
have nowhere to go. The best advice is that it will get better. You will get out of that situation. It’s not the end of the world, there are ways to resolve divorces. There’s ways to resolve foreclosures.
Both are very emotional situations, where sometimes people find themselves not able to pull themselves out of the emotion and see that there is this legal process happening that is very important to participate in. The biggest advice I would
give is to trust that it’s going to get better. Reach Out. Get sound legal advice and move forward with making a plan for your life based on that legal advice because you have to do it. It will work out!
At Vanstone Law, we understand the emotion that comes with divorce, bankruptcy, or foreclosure and that’s why myself and my staff try to take a more compassionate approach to legal services. Having an attorney in your corner that understands the emotion that you are going through helps bring more clarity to the stressful situation.
Seeking a family law attorney in Sarasota, Florida: Contact Alyssa Vanstone of Vanstone Law
Life can take unexpected turns, and having a compassionate and experienced attorney by your side can make all the difference. Our interview with Alyssa Vanstone, a proficient family law, foreclosure defense, and bankruptcy attorney in Sarasota, Florida, has provided us with valuable insights into the challenges individuals face during divorce proceedings. Benefit from the expertise and support of Vanstone Law by calling (941) 621-6220, and take the first step towards a fresh start. With a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney to guide you, you can find relief and look forward to a brighter future.