Florida Legal Information - Steven deLaroche - Daytona Beach

Criminal Defense, Business Law, and Family Law from an experienced attorney in Daytona Beach, contact Steven deLaroche, Attorney at Law at 386-947-0909.

Do I really need a Florida divorce lawyer?

Whether you need a lawyer to handle your divorce depends on a lot of factors. If you have minor children, how will they be provided for, now and in the future? Is there a significant difference in your income? But, the biggest factor is how well you can advocate for yourself without being 'the bad guy'.

Hiring a divorce attorney can take a lot of emotion out of the process. Rather than having heated arguments with your future ex-spouse, I deal with their lawyer. I become your advocate. I fight for your rights and your financial future.

If you have complete agreement with your future ex-spouse on division of your assets, child support, and spousal support, then you may not need an attorney. But, if there are any differences of opinion on these issues, a good divorce attorney can help keep the process civil and protect your rights.

Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?

You are not required to have an attorney to get a divorce in Florida. In fact, Florida has what is known as a 'Simplified Dissolution of Marriage'. It can be completed in as little as 30 days, but, it does have conditions and there are different forms you'll need depending on your situation, such as:

  • You have children under 18
  • The wife is pregnant
  • Anyone is going to pay alimony
  • You own property together
  • If there is any disagreement on the terms of the divorce 

Plus, at least one of the parties has to have lived in Florida for the past six months. If you meet the necessary conditions you can get the forms for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage at the Florida State Court website. However, if there are any special circumstances such as your spouse being in the military or living out of state, this process can get significantly more complicated.

There are a couple of important things you need to understand if you go this route.

  • You are waiving your rights to a trial and to any appeals in the future
  • The judge and clerk can not give you any legal advice on completing the paperwork
  • Once you submit the forms they can not be changed, so be accurate.
  • You have to complete and file the paperwork, including notices to your spouse, affidavits, and disclosure forms





Who gets the house in a divorce?

Because Florida is a "no-fault divorce" state, you can't punish your spouse for their bad behavior by asking the Court to award more of the assets to you. But, splitting up your assets in a divorce involves important decisions in which a good Florida divorce attorney can help protect your future.

In Florida, all property acquired during the marriage through the money that you share are the "marital assets", and can be divided between you and your spouse. It usually doesn't matter whose name is on the title. Even if they are retirement accounts, cars, motorcycles, or a house, 'owned" by one of you, it is a marital asset if your jointly-shared funds were used to obtain some or all of the item.

But, there is also non-marital property which is almost always not split as part of a divorce agreement. This includes assets that you had before you were married, income you receive from property you obtained before the marriage, or a gift or an inheritance you received individually. But, even if it is your gift or inheritance, it is absolutely critical that you don't co-mingle it with your shared funds. And you need to be able to prove such.

Other factors that affect the division of marital property include how easily the property can be separated. In the case of a house, you can't sell half a house. In Florida, the division of property is also not always "equal". It's important to present your personal situation about income, expenses, career assistance, and length of the marriage. All of these can dramatically impact the "fair" division of property in a divorce.

Choosing a divorce attorney is important to protect your financial future. Choose an attorney who understands the divorce laws and can best present your situation.

Alimony Laws in Florida

Alimony is always an important question when considering divorce. Alimony in Florida is not always automatic and it does not necessarily go on forever. The amount, length of time, and who pays who, depends on many factors.

Florida law actually provides for five different types of alimony:


  • Temporary Alimony - paid only during the divorce process
  • Bridge-the-gap Alimony - paid after the divorce is final but for a fixed-term of 2 years of less
  • Rehabilitative Alimony - paid for an ex spouse's education or job training
  • Durational Alimony - paid for a fixed time of the number of years of marriage or less.
  • Permanent Alimony - paid if no other form of alimony is fair or reasonable.


The type and amount of alimony determined by the judge depends on both need and ability to pay. When preparing a request for alimony it's critical to document all the income sources of your spouse, all investments you have jointly or individually, expenses that you will have after the divorce, property that may have been owned before the marriage, education plans, tax consequences, any children and who is paying the expenses of those children.

Florida alimony law also depends on the length of the marriage. The rules of alimony and the payments will change if the marriage was less than 7 years, or more than 17 years.

Choosing a divorce attorney is important to protect your financial future. Choose an attorney who understands the divorce laws in Florida.

Business Lawsuits

If you're a business owner, a dispute with a customer or vendor takes you away from your business. At the least it is annoying, but, it can also be devastating to your bottom line.

Filing a lawsuit, or being sued, requires an experienced business litigator who is aggressive, understands negotiation, and fights for your rights.

As a former county judge, I understand what judges are looking for in business and contract disputes. But I also know that lawsuits are a process, and oftentimes, negotiation is the best way to proceed. It can save you money and resolve the business dispute more quickly.

A business lawsuit isn't the end of the world. And a great business negotiator with armed with legal knowledge can help minimize the impact on your business. Call my office to schedule an appointment to discuss your business litigation issue.

Incorporating a Business in Florida

It's exciting to be creating a new company. Part of incorporating a new company in Florida is making sure the ownership documents, corporation papers, and, if applicable, partnership agreements, will protect you legally.

One of the first decisions is whether you set it up as a Florida S or C Corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a DBA. Each has certain advantages depending upon your personal situation, whether you have partners involved, your tax status, and, even if you have a blended family, which is common these days.

The State of Florida offers instructions and filing samples to meet the minimum requirements for incorporating a business. But, these are simply the minimum needed to meet their requirements. They may not meet your specific needs to protect you legally and financially.

Beyond starting your new business I can also help you with lease negotiations, business contracts, Buy/Sell agreements, and labor law.

As a former county judge, I understand what judges are looking for in business and contract disputes.

Before you leap into your new venture, call me to review your specific situation to guide you on the creation of your new company. Together with your tax and accounting professionals, I can help you set yourself up for success while protecting you from legal issues down the road.

How to defend a reckless driving charge

Reckless driving charges in Florida can be serious depending on the circumstances.


  • As a second degree misdemeanor the maximum penalty can be a $1,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence. 
  • If it is a first degree misdemeanor than you could get up to a year of probation, or go to jail for up to one year. You could also be fined up to $1,000. 
  • A felony reckless driving conviction can result in you going to prison for up to five years or five years of probation and a fine of up to $5,000.


Having a good criminal attorney can help you get the best possible outcome for a reckless driving charge.

Do I need a lawyer for a misdemeanor?

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor than you are wondering if you need a lawyer to help with your criminal defense. The short answer is to give my office a call and we will let you know how we can help you.

Misdemeanors in Florida can include battery, DUI, possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of an accident, and resisting an officer. Don't think that a misdemeanor charge is not serious. A first degree misdemeanor can result in you spending up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Afterwards, the conviction can affect your ability to get a job, rent a house, or even get a student loan for college.

As a former criminal prosecutor and county judge, I know what you are up against when your case goes to trial. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor, you cannot afford to cut corners when choosing an attorney. You need a criminal defense attorney you can trust who will fight for your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.


Is DUI a felony in Florida?

There are some cases when a DUI charge in Florida is a felony. However, if this is your first-offense, then the DUI charge is almost always considered a misdemeanor. 

In Florida, if you already have two DUI convictions within the past 10 years, you will be charged with felony DUI. If you get caught drinking and driving a fourth time or more, then you will be charged with felony DUI in Florida regardless of how recent your past convictions were. 

Also, even if this is your first-offense, if your DUI involves serious property damage or injury to another individual, you could be charged with a very serious felony. Felony DUIs can result in much harsher penalties including years in prison and fines well into the thousands of dollars.

How a Domestic Violence Case works in Florida

If you, or someone you know, are involved in a domestic violence situation the legal process can be daunting. In Florida, there is a clearly defined process to help protect you. The first step is filing a petition with the court which a judge will review. They can then issue a temporary injunction within 24 hours.

Depending on the circumstances, and the documentation provided, they may extend the injunction or schedule a hearing to be held within 15 days.

At DeLaroche Law, we are here to help in dealing with this complex issue. Please call us today at 386-947-0909 for your free consultation. We have your best interests at heart!

Update: Boating Under the Influence

With 1,350 miles of general coastline*, and ranking second only to Alaska in shoreline length, Florida is a boater’s paradise. If you include the mileage from outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, Florida offers an additional 8,436 miles* for boaters – and you don’t need a license to operate a recreational craft.

That’s the great thing about living in Florida.

What’s not so great is that Florida also leads the nation in annual number of boating deaths, including both seasoned boaters and the thousands of tourists that flock to our waterways every year. Alcohol, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience are the four most prominent causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these are usually present in combinations that all but guarantee a tragic boating accident.

You may not know that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) carries most of the same penalties as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 in Florida for a driver 21 or over will result in BUI charges. Don’t let underage drinkers drink, either. Their BAC only has to be .02 to be illegal. The U.S. Coast Guard can pull you over and board at any time, for any reason. Don’t resist. The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of your boat, as well as those around you. They can inspect you, or the vessel, without seeing you do anything wrong.

If you refuse to submit to any sobriety tests, you will be subject to a minimum $500 and 50 hours of community service. An arrest for boating BUI in Florida can lead to a criminal record, probation, possible incarceration, fines, court costs, community service, alcohol courses, and your boat being impounded.

If you are pulled over, in control of the boat, and are charged with a BUI, whether “native” or tourist, you need an experienced and tenacious Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney to represent youFor tourists, this means you may not have to come back to appear in court.

You can’t afford to be convicted of a BUI. Don’t go this alone. Let’s talk about your case. Call me as soon as possible at (386) 947-0909 for the best criminal legal representation you can find in Central Florida.


*US Coast Guard 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics 

Custody: What it means today in Florida



A growing problem in the internet age is false or outdated information.  We often see new clients who come to us with ideas about child custody that they have researched on their computers; or worse, they have gotten advice from family and friends. When they come to me, they are surprised to find out that “custody” is no longer a word used in Florida Family Law.

The legislature has divided what was once known as custody into two parts.  Florida Statute 61.13 splits the old custody term into Parental Responsibly and a Parenting Plan. This was done because, under the old system, you had someone with primary custody and someone with secondary custody. This created a natural tension between the parties that greatly interfered with the parents’ primary mission:  raising the child(ren) together. We are Americans; no one wants to be second. The primary tended to think of themselves as king of the kids, and the secondary looked at him- or herself as getting the worst of the deal. Number two was always looking for a way to knock off number one, and number one was frequently looking for a way to show number two their proper place in the pecking order. In addition, number two had to pay child support to number one; a situation that did not promote harmony. The system was changed to eliminate the conflict between the parents brought on by the custody labels.

Parental Responsibly is the decision-making ability that affects the child: when is bed time; what they are allowed to eat; where they go to school; when they drive; rules about smart phones, etc. Parental Responsibility encourages joint decisions – unless one person is generally not doing a good job of running their own life, and the Court decides that he/she has no business making decisions for another person. Sometimes a court will carve out a part of the Parental Responsibility and award it to one person if this is the case. I have clients that have sole medical decision-making capacity because the other party was demonstrated to be so cheap that they would not take the child to the doctor.

Parenting Plan is defined as time-sharing with the child. The child goes back and forth between the parents’ homes, and no one parent is the primary or the secondary. Time-sharing can take many forms, depending on the wishes or schedules of the parties. I often hear “I want to share 50/50.” I then ask what that means in terms of days of the week, and they are uncertain. It can mean a week on, a week off; three days, then four; or something entirely different. The most important part of a Parenting Plan is to allow the child(ren) to feel at home wherever they are, and not to shuttle them back and forth so rapidly that their lives are in a constant state of changing environments,  packing and unpacking.  A Parenting Plan can be one parent having more time than the other parent, or one parent only having minimal contact with the child(ren), if the court finds it is in the child’s/childrens’ best interests.

At the Law Office of Steven deLaroche, we can assist you in deciding what type of child rearing arrangement will work best, given your unique situation. Please give us a call at (386) 947-0909 to schedule a consultation.

Boating Under the Influence in Florida (BUI)


With 1,350 miles of general coastline*, and ranking second only to Alaska in shoreline length, Florida is a boater’s paradise. If you include the mileage from outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, Florida offers an additional 8,436 miles* for boaters – and you don’t need a license to operate a recreational craft.

That’s the great thing about living in Florida.

What’s not so great is that Florida also leads the nation in annual number of boating deaths, including both seasoned boaters and the thousands of tourists that flock to our waterways every year. Alcohol, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience are the four most prominent causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these are usually present in combinations that all but guarantee a tragic boating accident.

You may not know that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) carries most of the same penalties as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 in Florida for a driver 21 or over will result in BUI charges. Don’t let underage drinkers drink, either. Their BAC only has to be .02 to be illegal. The U.S. Coast Guard can pull you over and board at any time, for any reason. Don’t resist. The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of your boat, as well as those around you. They can inspect you, or the vessel, without seeing you do anything wrong.

If you refuse to submit to any sobriety tests, you will be subject to a minimum $500 and 50 hours of community service. An arrest for boating BUI in Florida can lead to a criminal record, probation, possible incarceration, fines, court costs, community service, alcohol courses, and your boat being impounded.

If you are pulled over, in control of the boat, and are charged with a BUI, whether “native” or tourist, you need an experienced and tenacious Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you. For tourists, this means you may not have to come back to appear in court.

You can’t afford to be convicted of a BUI. Don’t go this alone. Let’s talk about your case. Call me as soon as possible at (386) 947-0909 for the best criminal legal representation you can find in Central Florida.


*US Coast Guard 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics 

Infractions, Misdemeanors, Felonies: What You Need to Know



Criminal Law is divided into three categories, with varying repercussions:  Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies. The laws and punishments are specific to each, and are briefly summarized below.

Infractions/Violations
These are the least of offenses, usually punishable by a fine under $100, and never by jail time. There is no jury trail, but you may hire a lawyer to defend you before the judge. The most common infractions are traffic and parking tickets, and states vary on what constitutes an infraction. Traffic laws are generally consistent throughout the country, unless otherwise marked. Another infraction is jaywalking. Florida has no jaywalking law in the books, while some states forbid entering a crosswalk with a Don’t Walk sign flashing. Ignorance of local or state law is no excuse. As with any traffic situation, safety comes first.

Misdemeanors
Misdemeanors include DUIs, shoplifting, domestic violence battery, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, among many others. Florida courts can punish misdemeanors with as much as a year in jail in Florida. There can also be fines, probation, community service, and restitution.

Florida divides misdemeanors into two distinct classifications, which determine the severity of the punishment. A first-degree misdemeanor, which is the more serious of the two, can mean up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  A second-degree misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct, is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

If you plead guilty, you give up your right to a trial. Pleading not guilty results in a court trial with a decision by a judge, or a jury trial decided by a six-person jury. Either way, it’s important to have a lawyer defend you to try to keep your record from being tarnished.

Felonies
A felony is the worst of crimes, and includes both violent and non-violent crimes, such as fraud, robbery, drug trafficking, rape, kidnapping, homicide, and more. Depending on the crime, you can serve up to five years in a state prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines (at the least) or receive the death penalty for a capital felony. Misdemeanors, if repeated, can be escalated into felonies. Committing a felony can have severe and long-lasting repercussions, and can prevent you from getting a job, volunteering, going to school, running for office, getting credit and much more. You need the most aggressive defense possible.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have no time to lose in contacting an experienced criminal attorney. When it comes to your rights and freedoms, you can’t afford to cut corners. Call me at deLaroche Law, 386-947-0909, and put my experience and tenacious representation on your side today. Don’t wait. The consultation is always free and you’ll be taking the first step to keeping your record clean.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is an act of violence, or stalking committed against a person whom the abuser has a close relationship. Generally family members, spouses, and boyfriend/ girlfriends qualify under the classification of domestic abuse. Abuse may also be verbal or emotional. Words can as destructive as physical abuse. Victims are often told they are stupid, worthless, can’t do anything right, or that no one else will ever love them. Remember, it is never your fault when you are the victim of domestic abuse. To stop the pattern of abuse, you must change the situation. A Domestic Abuse Injunction ( Fl Stat. 741.30) removes the abuser from the picture.

Men are not immune to domestic abuse, although at a much lower rate than women. If you are being threatened or abused in an intimate relationship, especially if you live with the one committing the abuse, you need a plan. Get safe, get an injunction.

 An excellent resource is The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Go to this site when you are away from the abuser; at the library, the home of a trusted friend or family member; anywhere that you will not be surprised or discovered by the abuser. There are details explaining most abuse situations, including specific steps for planning a safe place to go if the situation escalates and you fear for you or your children’s safety – or lives.

You must never treat abuse lightly. Domestic abuse is all about power and control, and the abuser will probably never stop. But there is help. Always remember you don’t have to do this on your own. Visit the National Domestic Violence website at http://www.thehotline.org/help, or call them at (800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) from a safe place. You can also call the 24-hour Crisis Line at the Domestic Abuse Council of Volusia County, 1-800-500-1119 or visit their website at http://www.domesticabusecouncil.com/.

One of the most important things you can do is to talk to a domestic abuse attorney and ask questions. Our consultations are free. The NCADV is has a page that includes Seeking Legal Assistance - Questions to Ask an Attorney up Front.

At DeLaroche Law, we are here to help with our years of experience in dealing with this complex issue. Please call us today at 386-947-0909 for your free consultation. We have your best interests at heart!

Experienced Family Law Attorney Serving Central Florida

While it is a very emotional area of practice, family law is about more than the difficult emotions you are experiencing. It also involves a variety of important legal issues that must be taken care of so everyone involved is able to move on with their lives. If you are dealing with these issues, an experienced attorney can help you resolve them in a favorable manner.

As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. The same holds true for divorce and family law. I am well versed in achieving divorce settlements and have extensive experience taking these cases to trial. Regardless of what is necessary to resolve your case in a way that protects your rights, you can trust me to look out for your interests inside and outside of the courtroom.