OUR PHILOSOPHY

Every family law matter is unique and personal.

The issues presented are the most important of your life. The sense of loss over the end of the marriage and the unknown consequences that it brings can be overwhelming. You may be asking, “How will my children be impacted?” “What will happen to my time with my children?” or “What happens to my home?” “What happens to my retirement savings?” “Will I lose my business?”  “How will I manage to provide for myself and my children?” The Tampa divorce lawyers at LaFrance Law provide individual and compassionate guidance and counsel to assist people who are faced with one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. Our firm provides a level of service to every client, whether it’s a divorce, paternity, custody or modification of a prior order as if you were a family member. You will receive prompt responses to your calls or emails and sound and honest advice.

Combined with our demand that we provide a personal level of service to you, LaFrance Law understands that while it is desirable, where possible, to resolve cases short of trial, being prepared to try your case is mandatory. If an aggressive approach is required based upon the circumstances in your case, we will act to protect your interests. As our client, we will give you advice and options based upon the unique facts of your case as applied to the existing law. You will never be forced to settle your case. We will diligently prepare your case in order to negotiate from a position of strength to achieve the best possible resolution.

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ABOUT US

LaFrance Law is a firm with the singular focus of providing our clients with the best representation possible, emphasizing diligence, personal attention, efficiency, and excellence.

LaFrance Law brings the client experienced and seasoned attorneys without the big-firm billing and big-firm feeling that the client is just a number, whose personal situation just doesn’t matter. To LaFrance Law treating each client as a unique individual is essential. Focusing on the client is necessary because you’re an individual, not just another case.

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Experience


Shannon LaFrance
Tampa Divorce Attorney & Civil Litigator

Shanon LaFrance
Shannon LaFrance
Tampa Divorce Lawyer

Practicing Civil, Criminal and Administrative Law

Shannon LaFrance has over 20 years of civil, administrative and criminal practice experience in local, state and federal courts and tribunals. Ms. LaFrance has experience in the areas of family law and dependency, real estate, land use, environmental, association, insurance, labor, municipal, appellate, personal injury and criminal law. Ms. LaFrance began her career in 1994 with a large firm in New York where she rotated through practice areas with very seasoned and respected attorneys to develop and hone her practice skills. Over the course of her career, she has represented a wide variety of clients including multi-national corporations, municipalities, not-for-profit corporations, start-ups and husbands, wives and children. Ms. LaFrance brings her multi-faceted experience to her family law practice to better serve her clients.

Ms. LaFrance received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) cum laude From Albany Law School in 1993 where she served on the Executive Board of the Albany Law Review in her third year of law school. She also earned a B.A. in Government from Franklin & Marshall College where she is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame and an All-American. She is licensed to practice law in Florida, New York, and New Hampshire and is a member of the bar associations in each of those states.

Ms. LaFrance believes in volunteering in her community and devotes her spare time to assisting kids and young adults with legal issues.

Ms. LaFrance has worked as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit courts in Hillsborough County in Tampa since 2012. She has also collaborated with the students and professors at Cornell Law School and Pace University School of Law on public policy issues important to the students in order to give the young adults a voice, and promote positive legislative changes and foster inter-municipal cooperation. Ms. LaFrance served as county legislator for three two-year terms where, among many other things, she helped ensure the well-being of children and their families by working with the county sheriff to establish an amber alert system in the county, budget annually for programs for special needs kids and ensure that parents had adequate legal representation in family court each year she served as an elected official.

Ms. LaFrance’s commitment to all her clients is to provide diligent, honest and effective representation.



Chris LaFrance
Tampa Divorce Attorney & Civil Litigator

Chris LaFrance
Chris LaFrance
Tampa Divorce Lawyer & Civil Litigator

Practicing Tampa Family Law & Civil Litigation

Chris LaFrance is a Tampa Divorce Attorney for LaFrance Law.  Chris is joining LaFrance Law after having spent the last several years practicing out of the Tampa office of Cordell and Cordell, a multi-state firm, practicing exclusively family law.

Mr. LaFrance is licensed to practice law in both the State of Florida and New York and has been a civil litigator and family law practitioner for over twenty years.

Mr. LaFrance graduated cum laude from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1992, he received his Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.

Mr. LaFrance’s legal career began in Albany, New York where he administered estates and assisted with matrimonial cases. These civil legal matters included litigation of matrimonial matters, medical malpractice and personal injury cases, bench trials, and the negotiation of commercial transactions. Chris has also appeared before New York Appellate Courts.  He comes to LaFrance Law from the Tampa Men’s Divorce Law Firm of Cordell & Cordell.  Mr. LaFrance’s experience, professionalism, and dedication reflect the LaFrance Law philosophy of providing excellent, efficient, prompt and diligent service for the firm’s clients.

Legal Associations – Chris LaFrance is a member of the Florida Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Bar Association.

LaFrance Law – Divorce Law, Family Law & Civil Litigation

Tampa Divorce Lawyers
LaFrance Law, Tampa Divorce Lawyers

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Areas of Practice

Tampa Divorce Attorney
Tampa Child Custody Attorney
Tampa Child Support
Division of Assets Tampa
Tampa Alimony Attorney
Domestic Violence Lawyer Tampa
Modification of Alimony Tampa
Modification of Child Support Florida
Tampa Paternity Lawyer
enforcement
ModAlimony
children
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flat rate divorce

If you and your spouse have an uncontested divorce, having reached an agreement on all issues that may include child custody, child support, property division, and alimony, LaFrance Law offers a Flat Fee to prepare the necessary papers and conclude your case.

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Tampa Divorce Lawyers

LaFrance Law is conveniently located in Tampa, FL and handles cases throughout Florida including Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Hiring a Tampa divorce lawyer is an important decision and it should not be based only on advertisements. Please, feel free to contact us so that we can discuss our qualifications and experience. This website is not intended to provide any legal advice and you should not rely on this website for legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is only established after a thorough consultation with an attorney and the execution of a written retainer agreement by both the potential client and the attorney. To request appointment availability, please fill out the form below. Any statutes or other laws that are mentioned on this website may not have been updated recently and, therefore, the information on this website may not be the most current information available.

Tampa Family Lawyers

The offices of LaFrance Law P.A. are conveniently located in the Tampa Westshore area just 10 minutes away from the Hillsborough courthouses. The attorneys at LaFrance law have over forty years of combined private practice experience. With civil litigation, family and dependency law experience, LaFrance Law is the right family law firm to call if you have questions about divorce, separation, paternity, child support, child custody, parental rights, alimony or any other family law matter in the Tampa / Hillsborough area. LaFrance Law has Hillsborough attorneys ready to hear and handle your case. Do not hesitate to call (813) 930-5542 for a free phone consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact us

Contact the Tampa Family Law Attorneys at LaFrance Law for guidance through all of your family law matters.








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From the blog

Divorce Advice

Divorce Advice: Avoiding Common Mistakes

Most people that have been through a divorce will tell you that during the divorce process they made many mistakes. Some heart-wrenching and some financially costly. The good news is that you can easily avoid many of the most common mistakes that people make. Here are our top mistakes to avoid:  

  1. Leaving a digital trail

It is very easy to get into a “digital” argument with your ex. But, please, don’t do it! This is our TOP mistake to avoid. Anything you write, can be used against you in a court of law. There are many times that people blurt out things in a text or an email that are venomous and beyond what they would voice in an argument. Let me say it again, ANYTHING YOU WRITE CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU. It is not necessarily erased and can be used out of context to set-up support for behavior patterns that your spouse wants to prove.

  1.     Venting on Social Media

A divorce is a time to go MIA on social media. Just like in text messages, all of your posts can be used against you in a court of law. They can be used out context to prove a negative pattern. Don’t post pictures, hateful comments, partying photos, and definitely not your new significant other. Lay low on social media until the divorce is finalized.

  1.      Increased Spending

While you might feel you need a major vacation or new shoes to recover from the stress of the divorce, don’t do it. Increased spending on joint assets does not reflect well in a court of law.  You need to be establishing an air of responsibility and financial stability.

Once your divorce is complete, you will be able to move with more freedom. But until that time, it is best to be smart and avoid these common mistakes.

divorce

Top 5 Things To Know For Divorce

If you are going through a divorce and overwhelmed with emotions, please know you are not alone. Divorce is an emotionally trying time for everyone. It can seem overwhelming when first presented with this new reality, or be tempting to take action without actual consideration of the future results.  Here are our top 5 things to know when going through a divorce:

 

  1. Gather your financial documents.

You should have a good understanding of your finances when you begin the divorce process, as your assets and debts will be taken into account during the divorce proceeding and help determine the outcome of your divorce.  You should have copies of all documents that reflect your assets and debts, such as tax returns, bank account records, retirement statements, pension or retirement funds and investment account records. If you were not responsible for the finances in your house, you will need to take an inventory of your assets and debt — including taking photographs of your home, property, and any valuables you may have inside your home — and request a credit report so you know where you stand financially.   Knowing your financial situation will also help get you started on the right foot once the divorce is granted.

 

  1. Trust your attorney.

We often turn to our friends when we are going through a difficult situation.  While it may be tempting to rely on the advice of a friend that already went through a divorce, every case is different. While their advice may be well-intentioned, it may not apply to your situation. That is why it is important to hire an experienced divorce attorney.  Your divorce lawyer will know the details your specific case and the laws that apply in your state and present the best options to you.

 

  1. Be patient, the divorce process can be long and confusing.

Statistics find that the typical divorce lasts one year. While we find many of our clients have closure before that time frame, it is important to keep in mind that the process takes time. Your attorney must follow court procedures which mean you may not get to court immediately. Your lawyer will work diligently to make sure the divorce process moves along as swiftly as possible.

 

  1. Stop and consider the long term ramifications, and don’t just settle your case for the sake of moving on.

Since the divorce process can be lengthy, many people are simply worn out from the emotional turmoil and seek a quick resolution. Settling your case when are high can lead to regret down the road.. A lawyer can help you make clear-headed decisions that will be more beneficial to you in the long-term.

 

  1. Don’t go on a spending spree as all assets and debts are shared until during the divorce proceedings.

Assets and debts are mutually shared until you or your spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You or your spouse may continue to acquire an interest in any communal assets, even if when you are separated. It’s also equally valid, if you or your spouse incurs debt, you may continue to be exposed to a determination you are responsible for a share of that debt.

 

It’s important to stay in the moment and not get lost in analyzing the future. Make sure you when you feel scared or anxious to take several deep breaths, knowing you will get through this time.

 

Divorce Lawyer Encino

Top 5 Things To Look For In a Divorce Attorney

There are so many good lawyers in a given county that are all working hard to help people navigate through the laws of their country and state. When you are going through a divorce, it can be overwhelming to determine who is going to be the best lawyer for you. There are several things to consider when choosing a divorce attorney.

  1. Find an attorney that makes you feel comfortable

Googling divorce attorneys will bring you the list of lawyers who have the best websites and most marketing resources, but not necessarily the best lawyer for you. Identifying early in the separation that you need a lawyer will allow you time to seek recommendations. Meet with lawyers to see who you feel most comfortable with and can trust.

  1. Find an attorney that communicates well

Your divorce attorney should return your phone calls and emails promptly and work diligently to move your case along. Your divorce lawyer should be able to explain the laws, the process, the issues, and give you recommendations. You should feel like your input on the issues is acknowledged and taken into consideration.

  1. Find an attorney that is straight forward in billing

You want a lawyer that will be transparent in their billing. Giving you numerous itemized billing statements, so you know the work being done and the money being spent.

  1. Find an attorney that is not afraid of trial

While you will want to complete your divorce as quickly as possible, you want a lawyer who is not afraid to take your case to trial and let the judge rule on issues that you haven’t been able to resolve. A lawyer that tries to force you to settle your case is not a good divorce lawyer.

  1. Be sure to hire an attorney that specializes in Family Law and Marital Divorce

Most lawyers can help you with divorce, but one that specializes has the most relevant knowledge and will know many of the judges.

Getting through this emotionally draining time trusting that you have the support and knowledge of a lawyer by your side, will save you some of the turmoil and heartaches that can accompany messy divorces.

Divorce Finances

4 Important Financial Divorce Advice You Should Follow At Any Cost

One of the biggest concerns of both parties going through a divorce is what their financial future holds. Moving from a marriage where assets, bank accounts, and debts are shared with a world where it is split in two can be extremely stressful. To ease the financial stress, you must analyze your present finances and then also estimate your future living needs.

Here is how to keep your financial worries low:

  1. Make a list of joint assets, accounts, and liabilities

When you make a list of your joint assets and accounts, ensure that you have access to them with the correct passwords. Knowing all passwords is an important way for you to access accounts.

  1. Establish credit and close the joint accounts

Once you have your list of joint accounts, you need to close them and begin creating your banking and credit accounts, at a new bank than you previously used. Until the divorce papers are signed, those accounts can negatively affect your credit rating and increase your debt.

  1. Figure out what your future expenses will be

Your future expenses list will have everything down from monthly bills to average spend per month for groceries, gas, childcare, etc.

  1. Establish a Cash Emergency Fund

A consideration in the divorce settlement should be in a lump sum emergency cash fund. Your emergency cash fund will give you access to cash when you have an unexpected circumstance like a medical need, a housing repair, etc. It will give you peace of mind knowing that there is some cash available for emergency situations.

Keep in mind that once the divorce papers are signed, you will feel more in control of your finances and cash flow. It is the interim that will require vigilance and organization.

Filing for Divorce

Five Important Things to Do When Filing for Divorce

Ending your marriage is not a decision you enter lightly.  The dissolution of marriage has not just legal repercussions, but emotional side effects as well.  However, if you are thinking about filing for divorce, there are steps you can take to better prepare you for the legal proceedings that will follow.

  1. Know Your Financial Situation: Having a detailed and documented knowledge of your assets, income and expenses will be helpful to you and your legal team as the process moves forward. A record of and access to your financial records, such as bank statements, credit card statements, and tax returns will help your legal team devise a strategic plan for your case.

 

  1. Update Estate Planning Documents: Update important documents such as wills, trusts, pension documents, and advanced medical directives as soon as possible and make sure to take care of important financial transactions prior to filing for divorce.

 

  1. Set Money Aside: It is important to set aside money if you are planning to file for divorce and place valuables in a safety deposit box. You never know if your spouse will attempt to freeze your assets or restrict your access to joint bank accounts once divorce proceedings are underway.

 

  1. Keep a Journal: If child custody needs to be determined during your divorce proceedings – and especially if child custody requests will be challenged during the process – it is a good idea to keep a written journal that demonstrates how involved you are in your children’s daily lives. Keeping a history of your parental involvement can help a judge decide child custody agreements and parental visitation arrangements.

 

  1. See a Therapist: Divorce can be an emotionally trying and stressful time. Having a safe and confidential space where you can freely share your thoughts and feelings can help you during the divorce process.  Talking to a therapist can help you feel more confident and in control during a divorce.

 

Being prepared will help you feel more in control of the next phase of your life and how your divorce proceedings will go.

moving after divorce

Moving After Divorce

If you have children who still live in your house, moving after a divorce can present some unique challenges. While there is a desire to start fresh in a new place, this may not be in your child’s best interest or even possible due to child custody regulations. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act regulates which state has jurisdiction over custody issues if a child moves and in addition, each state has their own individual child custody laws as well.  In general, you have to prove that a move would benefit your child more so than staying in his or her hometown/home state.

 

Here is how it works in the state of Florida:

“In Florida, a custodial parent who wants to move with the child more than 50 miles away, for any period longer than 60 days, must notify the other parent before moving. If the noncustodial parent agrees to the move, the parents must file a written agreement with the court. If the parents can’t agree, the judge will hold a hearing and decide whether to allow the move. If the court views the move as negatively impacting the children or their relationship with the other parent, the judge may not approve the relocation,” Divorce.net.

 

We have seen cases where the ex spouse fully supports the move, knowing that their child will benefit from the relocation. But in a case where both parents can’t agree, there is a burden of proof to convince the court that your child will benefit from the move.

 

A court will look at the parent/child relationship taking into consideration how involved and present both parents are in raising their child. You must prove at the relocation hearing that there is a strong reason for this move that will enhance your child’s upbringing. That could be an income raise with the relocation or a support system of extended family.

 

Having a clear plan for visitations and communication with the parent left behind is crucial and will help your case. Plan out summer visits, holidays, Skyping times, etc. with a clear organization of how you will support your child’s relationship with your ex.

 

Saying you want to escape and hang out at the beach is not going to be enough in a relocation hearing. Be prepared and also be patient. A study by the Journal of Family Psychology found that children are harmed when a divorced parent moves more than an hour away, and yet it is estimated that 17 to 25% of custodial parents move out of the area within the first two years after a divorce.

 

Children crave stability, and the divorce has typically already complicated their sense of security. When considering a move, look at it from all angles — including your emotional state. Try not to rush into anything because your sense of security has also shifted. Clear thinking is important and will bring more peace to yourself and your child.