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102 S. Riverside Dr.
New Smyrna Beach
Florida, 32168

386.427.1006 Phone
386.427.1065 Fax

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Frequently Asked Questions

Your attorney should do the following:

  1. Should handle your legal matter professionally, ethically, in a timely manner and with skill.
  2. Should tell you facts relating to your case, even if the facts are damaging or not what you want to hear.
  3. Should clearly explain all fees and expenses that will be involved as well as when you are expected to pay.
  4. Your attorney should answer your questions and concerns quickly and clearly.

An attorney generally charges in one of three ways:

  1. Flat fee.
  2. Hourly basis.
  3. Percentage of award received (also called contingency fee).

To help reduce costs and to make sure everyone's time is utilized:

  1. Take all documents, and information that could be helpful to your case with you on your visit.
  2. Tell your lawyer all information up front, especially information that could harm your case.

Family Law

If I am considering divorce what lies ahead?

  • First, you have to consider an attorney. Some divorces are not complicated and can be concluded with little disagreement. However, when there is property or children a lawyer should prepare a complaint that starts the legal process. A lawyer files the complaint with the court and serves a copy to the other spouse. The other spouse is then required to answer the complaint within a certain time.

How is marital property divided in Florida?

  • Generally, in the state of Florida, property acquired during the marriage is split evenly. Specific circumstances can change the division of assets so individuals must consider their own specific circumstances.

What if I think my spouse is hiding or misrepresenting financial assets?

  • Each individual must sign a sworn financial affidavit. If a spouse is hiding or misrepresenting assets, you may be compensated to those hidden assets.

What is mediation?

  • Mediation is a legal procedure where the two parties meet and attempt to negotiate a settlement between the two, rather than a judge make the final decision.

Can a child support order be modified?

  • The Court can look at a change in circumstances through a petition to modify support. If a substantial change in circumstances can be shown since the original order, the Court may adjust the order.

Criminal Defense

How do I know if I need an attorney?

  • If you think there may be an investigation with you as a possible defendant we highly recommend hiring an attorney. An attorney might be able to present information to law enforcement and prosecutors so that a criminal charge is not filed.

Will I need to go to court?

  • In some cases, your attorney can resolve the entire case without you attending a court proceeding.

Personal Injury

What is a personal injury?

  • Sometimes referred to as bodily injury, any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someone's negligence or harmful act.

How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?

  • If you are able to show that you have been injured physically or emotionally by someone else’s negligence, strict liability or intentional misconduct, you have a personal injury case.

When is a personal injury attorney needed?

  • You should always consult an attorney before you give any statements or sign papers of any kind if you unsure as to the outcome of your injury. To ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries hire an attorney as soon as possible.

What are some examples of personal injury?

  • Automobile accidents,
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Boating accidents,
  • Truck and tractor-trailer accidents,
  • Bicycle accidents, and
  • Wrongful death.

Can I get financial compensation in a personal injury claim?

  • Depending on the extent of your injury, you may be eligible for compensatory (actual) damages, and punitive (criminal) damages.

For more information or to discuss your legal needs contact Brett Hartley at 386.427.1006 or email at

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