Russell Knight, Naples Divorce Attorney

The Law Office of Russell Knight

Divorce Lawyer - Divorce Attorney Naples FL

The Law Office of Russell Knight is based out of Naples, Florida and serves all of Southwest Florida’s family law needs and matters. We recognize that divorce and other family law issues are a stressful and sensitive situation that requires both professional expertise and compassion. You don’t just need a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida. You need legal advice and representation by someone who recognizes exactly where you are, the next steps to take, and where you need to be at the end of this process. Call us today to talk about how your family got to the point of divorce and how I can help you have a successful Naples divorce.

The Law Office of Russell Knight

Divorce Lawyer - Divorce Attorney Naples FL

The Law Office of Russell Knight is based out of Naples, Florida and serves all of Southwest Florida’s family law needs and matters. We recognize that divorce and other family law issues are a stressful and sensitive situation that requires both professional expertise and compassion. You don’t just need a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida. You need legal advice and representation by someone who recognizes exactly where you are, the next steps to take, and where you need to be at the end of this process. Call us today to talk about how your family got to the point of divorce and how I can help you have a successful Naples divorce.

Call (239) 202-0455 for a FREE No Obligation Consultation.

Work With Attorneys Who Know Naples, FL Family Law

Why Hire Our Naples FL Divorce & Family Law Firm

Free Consultation

Contact our Naples, Florida office for a no-charge, confidential and discrete consultation. Russell Knight will explain where you are at, where you need to be and how you get from here to there. You’ll finally feel relief knowing there is a plan for your family law matter.

Trial Experience

Russell Knight and his staff have extensive trial experience. While compassionate negotiation is an important strategy it is not the only strategy. Your Naples family law lawyer should be stepping away from negotiations and pressing your case in front of a judge or magistrate.

Attorney and Staff Are Spanish Speaking

Russell Knight and his staff are fluent in Spanish. Russell, raised in Canada, is also a French speaking attorney.

Russell Knight y todo su personal hablan español. Podemos hablar con usted en persona, por teléfono o a través de correspondencia escrita en su idioma natal.

Naples Florida Divorce & Family Law

Every married person contemplates divorce. It’s not unusual to imagine your future without your partner. Unfortunately, instead of imagining peace and new opportunities, people simply imagine the divorce process and the parade of horrible possibilities. What if you could ask someone “What will really happen if I get divorced?” and you could get a real, informed answer from someone who cares.

Russell Knight has counseled thousands of families in the last thirteen years as to what they can expect in a divorce or family law matter in Naples, Florida.

Russell Knight clearly and concisely explains a potential client’s right, their spouse’s rights and their children’s rights under Florida’s family law statutes and case law.

Potential clients also receive an immediate and long-term strategy based on Russell Knight’s years of experience, thousands of cases and constant divorce and family law research.

Russell Knight and his staff will ask questions like, “In a perfect world, what kind of schedule would you like for your children? Do you want to stay in the marital home? Do you want to move with your children? What do you imagine your post-divorce life to be like?

At the end of a consultation with Russell Knight, you will finally know the range of possible outcomes in your pending Naples divorce or family law matter. You will know your options as mediation, negotiation and litigation approach. You will finally know what will happen if you get divorced.

The Law Office of Russell Knight, Naples Family Law Attorney

The Reasons Why You Should Hire Us

Experience

Russell Knight has been licensed to practice law since 2006. Russell has litigated and settled over a thousand of divorce and family law cases and thousands of families. Creative family law strategies that only experience can teach.

Client Focused

A firm that keeps the family law and divorce CLIENTS as the primary focus. We will protect YOUR RIGHTS, do what YOU need for YOUR case. YOUR best outcome is OUR focus.

Families Come First

Our office prioritizes the needs to protect and put children first in any family law or divorce matter. You’ll find that every conversation will begin with the best interests of the children and every conversation will end regarding the best interests of the children.

Commitment to Value

The billable hour system for divorce and family law lawyers is ripe for misunderstanding and abuse. With our firm, you’ll find clear, reasonable invoices that reflect our commitment to providing value.

Meet Russell Knight and Dustin Sedor

Naples Family Law Attorneys
Russell Knight, Naples Divorce Attorney

Russell Knight

Naples Family Attorney

Primary Areas of Practice:
Specialization: Divorce, Child Support & Child Custody

Dustin Sedor

Dustin Sedor

Associate Attorney

Primary Areas of Practice:
Specialization: Divorce, Child Support & Child Custody

Speak With A Naples, Florida Family Law Lawyer

Schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.

Divorce & Family Law in Naples
Is What We Do

Family Law refers to Florida law, rules, regulations, and court procedures involving the family unit when that unit comes under the purview of the courts.

These laws, rules, regulations and procedures cover everything from who gets to visit children to how a privately held business gets valued and divided.

These determinations must be made, negotiated in the clients favor and, failing that, proven in a Florida court of law.

This requires a body of family law knowledge that is both broad and deep.

Russell Knight’s has years of experience, has worked with thousands of families and developed a near obsession with family law.

Put your family in the hands of someone who values your family as it exists now and will exist in the future.

Put your family and your family’s future in our firm’s hands. 

How We Charge For A Naples, Florida Family Law Matter

Beyond the anxiety of losing parenting time, assets or alimony is the fear of an attorney’s bill.

Russell Knight and his team are committed to providing real value to their clients and our invoices will reflect that value.

There are always upwards of 5 people on staff in our offices in Naples, Florida and Chicago, Illinois. The majority of the staff are college educated professionals in Chicago, Illinois and, therefore, most of the work happens in Chicago.

You will be assigned a paralegal who will do the bulk of the work in your case in order to reduce fees, increase efficiency and provide immediate feedback.

The rates are as follows

$ 385 an hour for Russell Knight.
$ 300 an hour for associate attorneys or co-counsels.
$ 125 an hour for paralegals

These labor rates are accounted for on a six minute basis and are explicitly explained within the invoices that are distributed on a monthly basis.

Services

Child Support

Child Support in Florida is determined by a multitude of statutes. The first step in determining child support in Florida is determining whether the non-primary parent has substantial or non-substantial parenting time with the child.

Alimony

In 2011 The Florida legislature made extensive revisions to Florida’s alimony statute but, despite that, alimony in Florida is not calculated in a predictable fashion.

Parenting Time

Since 2008, there is no “visitation” in Florida law. It is instead called “parenting time” which is both a clearer definition of what visitation really is.

Division of Marital Assets

In a Florida divorce, a couples’ assets and liabilities will be totaled and categorized as either being marital or non-marital. Once property is identified as marital the courts will find that, upon divorce, the property should be divided equally.

Top Naples Florida Family Law Articles for 2022

This website will give you a general view of the law matters that a top divorce lawyer in 2021 will view as pertinent content to our practice areas — joint child custody child support, full child custody child support, financial areas, estate planning, and more. Please take the time to view some of the online content we’ve prepared for you. You can search the internet for legal advice, but wouldn’t you rather get your professional association – or P.A. – to provide resources about law matters? This site provides high value resources from one of the top divorce lawyers in Naples and Fort Myers area.

All of these law matters apply to the state of Florida, but we service the Naples and Fort Myers areas. The actual location of our office suite is in the Naples Area. If the articles seem long or use terms you need to understand more about, just chat with us to schedule a free consultation or appointment so we can review those terms and your questions.

Florida unmarried living together agreement

Cohabitation Agreements In Florida

People are getting married less and less often in Florida. That doesn’t mean that people are not getting into relations where they rely on each other’s mutual promises, however. A relationship can be whatever you want it to be under Florida law and you can enforce

Read More →
Supportive Relationships And Alimony In Florida

Cohabitation And Alimony In Florida

Almost every Florida divorce has the possibility of an alimony award from one spouse to the other. “In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party.” Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.08(1) Alimony is awarded in a Florida divorce “[i]f the court

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Bonuses and Child Support In A Florida Divorce

Bonus Income And Child Support In Florida

In Florida, each party’s income determines what child support is owed by or paid to each party. Not everyone receives the same salary every two weeks or even every year. High performing employees are rewarded by their employers with additional bonus income at irregular times during

Read More →

The United States of America has 3007 counties which each govern and conduct family law in their own particular style. This myriad of laws and regulations mean that each local area needs local expertise to navigate a divorce, custody hearing, alimony determination or any other type of family law situation. So, how does family law operate in Naples, Florida, Collier County?

Family law in Naples, Florida is governed by a series of federal, state and local laws, rules and courts. In this article, I attempt review all of the sources of family law that affect a Naples, Florida domestic relations case. If you can read through it all, you’ll have a good “big picture view” of how family law works in Naples, Florida.

Federal Law

Federal law almost always trumps state or local laws. There are barely any federal laws that impact family law and divorce in particular but your lawyer should be familiar with the few that do such as:

  • Alimony for divorces after 2019 are taxable to the payor. Alimony for divorces before 2019 are taxable to the receiver.
  • Your 401k beneficiary will remain your ex-husband or wife no matter what your divorce says unless you actually change the beneficiary.

There are numerous other federal rules that trump state and local rules but they almost always involve pensions and retirement plans which are heavily federally regulated. The federal government’s more powerful impact is that the Supreme Court has declared marriage and parenting to be fundamental rights. The fundamental right of marriage that you can marry someone of a different race Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) or the same sex, Obergefell v. Hodges 135 Supreme Ct. 2071. So, if you can get married via federal law, you can get divorced and enjoy any other rights states and localities give to married people. The fundamental right to parent your children was decided in Troxell v. Granville in the year 2000. This right prevents third parties from petitioning in courts for time with children over parents’ objections.

This means grandparents have no rights to their grandchildren because of the United States’ Supreme Court. This United States supreme court decision trumps Florida statutes that have been enacted after 2000 that allow grandparents to petition for time with their grandchildren. Naples, Florida family law must always first observe federal law and regulations before following any state law or local rule.

Florida State Statutes

The bedrock of family law in Naples, Florida are the Florida state statues which can be conveniently be found online here. There is one large title in the Florida Statutes, Title 744, that cover domestic relations. This title includes chapters for marriage, domestic violence, determination of parentage, guardianship, custody and supervised visitation. This title largely describes the “what” of family law. Specifically, Title 744 defines what exactly is a marriage, a parent, a guardian and custody in Florida. Outside of Title 744 in the Florida Statutes is Chapter 61 titled “Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-Sharing.”

Chapter 61 is found under Title 6: Civil Procedure. Chapter 61 describes the “how” of the law. Chapter 61 tells in detail how you get divorce, how you divide marital property, how is custody determined, etc. Almost all Florida family law issues are described in varying detail in Chapter 61.

Florida Family Law Rules Of Civil Procedure

The “how” as outlined by Chapter 61 is largely instructions for a judge on how to rule in a disputed case. There is a separate set of rules for how parents, couples and lawyers can present their cases to those judges. The set of rules governing family law court cases is called the “Florida Family Law Rules of Civil Procedure.” This document is 176 pages of how a disputed or agreed Florida family law case is supposed to proceed. While the Florida family law statutes are fairly straightforward to read, the Florida Family Law Rules of Civil Procedure are not for the layperson. The rules outline various options and motions that either party can perform to further their case or counteract the opposing side’s case. A quick perusal of the 176 pages of rules should let any person know that if they think they need to know these rules, they need an experienced Florida family law attorney to properly invoke the rules on their behalf.

Florida Evidence Code

If you’re using the Florida Family Law Rules of Civil Procedure, then you are in court because you have a dispute as to some issue in your Florida family law case. These disputes are resolved by the Florida courts in hearings and trials. A family law trial is a big organized meeting between the two sides and the judge where all of the facts are considered by the judge and the judge issues a divorce and other rulings related to the divorce.

A family law hearing is exactly the same except a divorce is not issued. A hearing resolves individual issues apart from the actual divorce. A hearing can happen before the divorce to resolve temporary issues or after the divorce to resolve issues that weren’t resolved by the final divorce documents. When a Florida family law case does not involve a marriage, such as a parentage case, everything in front of a judge is a hearing because there can be no divorce. So, in reality the terms “trial” and “hearing” are interchangeable in Florida family law. A hearing or trial has three phases.

  • Opening statements. During opening statements, the parties summarize what they will be presenting to the court.
  • The case in chief. The case in chief involves putting witnesses on the stand who then provide testimony and authenticate physical evidence.
  • Closing Statements. Closing statements are the summation of the evidence submitted and an argument for how the judge should interpret that evidence based on the law.

Anyone who has ever asked for anything can do an opening statement or a closing statement. Asking the judge for something is the easy part. The case in chief is where the action really is. The judge has to base his decisions based on the evidence…not based on what you asked for. You cannot just give the judge a stack of papers for the judge to read. Everything has to be submitted in a special way according to the Florida Evidence Code.

The Florida Evidence Code outlines what can be admitted into evidence (what the judge can actually consider when making his or her decision) and what the judge CANNOT consider. To keep evidence out, the opposing counsel must shout “Objection!” and then state the basis of their objection based on the Florida Evidence Code. This is really complicated…and you have to do it instantaneously. I’ve been practicing Family Law for 13 years and I still go to weeklong seminars to continue to learn how to submit evidence perfectly.

Florida Case Law

The Florida statutes are written so that the common person can read them. They are extremely brief and can’t possibly accommodate every possible scenario that can arise in a Naples, Florida family law case. When the statute doesn’t tell the judge exactly what to do or the statute contradicts itself, then the courts have to figure it out. This usually happens by someone filing an appeal. An appeal is where someone says the circuit court (the family law court where a case starts) got the law wrong. The appeals court then considers the record and publishes a public decision about whether the court interpreted the law correctly or incorrectly. This is the “case law.”

Case law is where the appellate courts fill in the blanks. Case law provides an example, explains the law and provides the reasoning behind that explanation. This is actually, the entire basis of the law and order system that Great Britain and America have enjoyed. It’s called the common law system. In addition to reading the statutes, you can put your issue into Google Scholar, specify “Florida Courts” and read about similar cases to yours. An appellate decision by an appeals court is now the new law for those situations where the facts fit between the statute.

Case law is not necessarily binding depending on your case’s location. Naples, Florida family law cases are in Florida’s 2nd Appellate district. Florida’s 2nd Appellate district is from Pasco County down to Naples, Florida’s Collier County. An appellate decision by Florida’s 2nd Appellate district is “binding” on a Naples, Florida family law case. An appellate decision by any other district in Florida is just “persuasive.”

The difference between a binding and a persuasive appellate decision is that a lower court must follow a binding decision while a lower court must merely consider a persuasive decision. Florida supreme court decisions are all binding on Naples, Florida family law cases.

For federal court decisions, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and The Federal Middle District of Florida’s decisions are binding on Naples, Florida family law cases. All other federal court decisions are merely persuasive.

20th Judicial Circuit

Finally, the last local set of rules governing a Naples, Florida family law case are the local rules of Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit. The 20th Judicial Circuit is the court system used by Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Lee and Glades Counties. All of which are in Southwest Florida. The 20th Judicial Circuit has adopted certain rules as a whole for administering the court system. It’s not important that you know these 20th judicial circuit rules. You will be assigned a judge and you’ll need to know that judge’s particular rules.

Collier County Judge’s Standing Orders

As of this writing, there are two judges who handle family law in Naples, Florida. Each of these Collier County family law judges have a standing order. A standing order is a general order instructing all of the people who appear before that judge as to how they should conduct themselves above and beyond all of the sources of law we have already discussed.

Judge Scott Cupps’s standing orders can be found here.

Judge John McGowan’s standing order can be found here.

These Collier County Judge’s standing orders are largely instructions on how to communicate with the judge’s staff, schedule hearings, and submit documents. Study your judge’s standing order and refer to it frequently. A standing order is largely a guide to the etiquette of how to deal with that judge and their staff. The judge and their staff have every right to be upset if you violate THEIR order. It’s important to note that you may not ever see your particular judge in person.

Many cases can be resolved by negotiations between the parties and the mediators. What’s more, the parties to a Collier County divorce are more likely to resolve their temporary issues in front of a Magistrate.

A magistrate is not an elected judge but, rather, a lawyer who sits as a judge on behalf of that judge and makes decisions following the law. For all intents and purposes, a magistrate is a judge except you have the right to not object to the magistrate hearing your case in favor of your judge hearing your case. The only downside in doing this is that the judge is busier and will schedule your hearing at a later date.

Hornbooks, Blogs, etc.

There are many sources out there to help you better understand how the Naples, Florida family law process works. Many family law lawyers have sat down and compiled and summarized the entire body of Florida Family law in what is called a “hornbook” or “legal treatise.” These summaries are often in excess of a thousand pages. I particularly enjoy Florida Family Law by West-Thompson Publishing.  It’s a very readable treatise even for the layman. A great “how to” treatise is “Drafting Marital Contracts in Florida.”

If you’re not up for a 1000 page read, you can simply google your issue. Many family law lawyers such as myself maintain blogs where we share our knowledge of family law as it relates to particular issues we have encountered or researched.

Make sure you are only getting advice from Florida family law lawyers. Generic legal advice or out-of-state legal advice does not apply to a Florida family law case. Advice from a non-lawyer is worse than useless. Non-lawyers do not write about the law to educate the public. Non-lawyer’s write to vent because something went wrong in their family law case (which de facto means they don’t know what they’re doing)

Do not merely read a family law lawyer’s blog and think that’s the end of the issue. Read the actual law and rules the family law lawyer is referring to. Your facts may not fit the scenario as described by the family law lawyer’s article. It is wonderful that you are educating yourself on Florida family law so that you can be fully engaged in your Naples, Florida family law case. But, you’ve now realized that this is not like watching a Youtube video that teaches you how to unclog a toilet. Once you’ve learned one thing about family law, you simply educate yourself as to how much you do not know.

If you’ve read this far, you are my kind of person: inquisitive and engaged. Contact my Naples, Florida family law firm to personally discuss your Naples, Florida family law situation.

affordable divorce in naples fl
The average person knows what happens in a divorce.  Two parties’ assets get divided 50/50 and one party’s income may even be divided by two, as well, via alimony.  The end result of divorce, is therefore, very expensive. So, it is in the best interest of anyone facing divorce in the Naples, Florida area to find a cheap divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida.

Unfortunately, cheap divorce lawyers are not common in Naples, Florida or anywhere else.  Still, there are many things you can do to conduct your divorce in such a way so as to minimize costs.

Simplified Divorce

The cheapest divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida is forgoing the use a lawyer entirely.

The Florida family law code of civil procedure specifically contemplates a cheap, uncontested, simplified divorce with its simplified divorce forms.

Truthfully, these simplified divorce forms will provide you with a divorce when there are minimal debts or assets to divide and the division of those assets is crystal-clear. For example, a simplified divorce will allow one person to keep the 401k and the other person to keep the marital home but a simplified divorce form won’t provide any of the necessary instructions on how to do those things exactly, like signing a quit claim deed to transfer the ownership of the house.

If, in fact, the parties wish to split any whole asset, like a 401k, the simplified divorce provides absolutely no instruction on how to process that (you have to divide most tax-deferred accounts via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order if you don’t want to incur a tax penalty.

Additionally, a simplified divorce doesn’t provide forms for allocating parenting time when the parties have children.  Children’s lives and a parents’ relationship to them are simply too important to leave to any form especially a simplified one.  Each parenting plan should be crafted individually for every particular family and that parenting plan should be expected to be amended as time passes.

Online Divorce Forms

There are numerous services that will take information from you and populate final divorce documents which you are then left to file.  These forms are, typically, identical to the simplified divorce forms that the State of Florida provides for free.

Furthermore, these online services presuppose that you are agreed with 100% of the clauses that will be included in the final divorce documents.  If you are divorcing your spouse, your days of 100% agreement are probably long over.

Online services do not walk you through the process. They just give you the forms and its presumed that the circuit clerk of court employees will help you take the forms through Florida divorce process.

Mediation

Mediation is mandatory before any actual court hearings (beyond temporary motions) occur in a Florida divorce.

If you make less $ 100,000 in annual income as a couple, you can take advantage of the court-provided mediation at the collier county courthouse. The court provided mediation charges a mere $ 120 per person to use their services for three hours.

The mediator will go back and forth between the two parties as they sit in separate rooms to try to arrive at final agreement between the two parties.  Once that final agreement is achieved, the mediator will even write up the final documents and file them in the court for you.  The only final step is for the petitioner to ask for and attend the final hearing which the judge or magistrate will usually walk you through.

If the parties have a joint income of more than $ 100,000, the county mediator will not be available and the parties must hire a private mediator.  At this income level the parties almost always hire an attorney to represent at least one of them.

How To Hire An Affordable Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida.

If divorce attorneys are hired in Naples, Florida, you’ll find that they have many different characteristics in how they charge.

Different divorce lawyers charge different retainers to begin a case.  A retainer is a requested sum of money that the divorce attorney deposits in a trust account and withdraws as the divorce lawyer earns the money.

In theory, the amount of the retainer should be an estimate as to what the divorce will actually cost.  This is rarely the case, however.

A case may be agreed, likely agreed, contested or highly contested.  A contested case will almost always exceed any divorce lawyer’s retainer

The better indicator of the cost of a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida is their hourly rate.  Hourly rates seem to vacillate between $ 200 and $ 450 an hour for the lead attorney.  These rates are high for any profession and lead to the next logical question: how to reduce the hours an attorney bills on a divorce case in Naples, Florida.

There is only one way for a divorce lawyer to reduce his or her hours and thus be more affordable or even remotely cheap and that is to have staff.  Support staff are the people without a license who are supervised by the divorce lawyer.  Support staff may be called administrators, secretaries, law clerks or paralegals but they are all doing the same thing: working on a case under a lawyer’s supervision.

This support staff should have a billing rate significantly lower than an attorney’s hourly rate.  The more support staff, a divorce attorney indicates that the divorce attorney relies on the support staff to do the bulk of the work.

A licensed attorney should be doing all of the strategy and court work but virtually all other aspects of a divorce case can be done by the cheaper support staff (under the supervision of the licensed attorney, of course).

A divorce attorney should be issuing invoices every month with detailed descriptions of what the divorce attorney and their staff did at specific intervals.  If an error or miscommunication happens regarding billing, it should be easily verified and corrected with complete and current invoices.

A good divorce attorney is almost never cheap, especially in Naples, Florida.  Costs can be managed and expectations can be set, however.  Every person going through a divorce, whether it be in Naples or elsewhere, deserves that from their divorce attorney.

To learn more about the cost of divorce and how to minimize those costs, contact my Naples Florida family law firm to schedule a free consultation.

Call (239) 202-0455 for a FREE No Obligation Consultation.