North To Alaska : What’s different about divorce in our 49th state?

Divorce Law In Alaska, An Interview with Kara A. Nyquist, Attorney – 50 Shades of Divorce Episode 15

Nuggets of information from my interview with Kara Nyquist of Nyquist Family Practice in Alaska.

All states have different rules/statutes in family law practice. Generally speaking, though, most of the statutes are comparable to each other. For example, your state might call issues regarding children “share time”, “child custody”, “parenting time”, etc.; but they are similar. However, some statutes are unique to a particular state, such as the custody/domestic violence statute in Alaska.

So, learn about that and learn what it is like to practice family law in our 49th state. ( Do you know the state capitol?)

My expert today has a particularly compelling story about her journey to law school and her journey to Alaska. Read her bio below and listen!


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
University of Washington, 1995
Juris Doctorate
Seattle University School of Law, 2000

  • Admitted to Practice Law by the Alaska Supreme Court in 2000.
  • Admitted to Practice Law in the United States Federal District in Alaska in 2000.
  • Member in Good Standing with the Alaska Bar Association since 2000.
  • Member of the American Bar Association since 2000.
  • Former Presidential Appointments to American Bar Association Commissions.
  • Former District Representative for Alaska & Hawaii to American Bar Association.
  • Former Fellow to General and Sole Practitioner Division, American Bar Association.
  • Previously Selected as Top 40 Under 40 by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and Alaska Journal of Commerce.
  • Co-Chair Family Law Section Alaska Bar Association
  • Former Co-Chair Unbundled Section Alaska Bar Association
  • Mom and Married to Military Service Member

Blended Families: Challenges and Rewards – FSOD 014

Today, Susan talks with Melissa Marks, who has her own podcast – Blended Family Podcast – about her personal journey with her blended family.

Melissa Marks’ bio from her website:

I am just a mom trying to make everything work. I am a mother of four, with two biological children, and two bonus children. One big blended family who loves, fights, cries, and shares together. The truth is, it has not been an easy road trying to mix two families together. It takes a lot of patience, love, and work. I am certainly not complaining, because as hard as it can be, it can be equally as beautiful. Over the years, we have grown a bunch and learned a lot, and yes, we are still a work in progress. One thing I have figured out for sure, All you need is love!

I want to help your blended family create the life at home that you have always dreamed of, and to learn how to find joy in the process. I want you to celebrate the small victories, and move past the large challenges. Let’s take this journey together!



Divorce Law in Alabama – Interview With Amber James – FSOD 013

Susan and guest Amber James of New Beginnings Family Law discuss many particular aspects of divorce law and statutes in Alabama.

About Amber James

Amber Yerkey James practices family law in Madison County, Alabama and Morgan County, Alabama particularly in the Huntsville and Decatur areas of North Alabama. With her practice being solely focused on family law, Ms. James assists clients with divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, dependency, surrogacy, adoption, terminations of parental rights, grandparent visitation, fathers’ rights, appeals, alimony, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, wills and estates, and real estate and property division matters. As the parent of an autistic child herself, Ms. James brings a great deal of compassion and understanding to matters involving children with special needs.

Interview with Marina Sbrochi – FSOD 012

Marina Sbrochi graduated from The Ohio State University, she’s a forever Buckeye. Currently finishing her Masters in Professional Counseling at Amberton University. She is the IPPY Award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life and Nasty Divorce: A Kid’s Eye View.  She hopes to bring awareness and put an end to high conflict divorce and parental alienation.  She is divorce parenting coach in Dallas, Texas. You can find more at

Interview with Julia Chase – FSOD 011

Julia Best Chase, Esquire

Julia was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1986, the New York Bar in 1987, the Florida Bar in 1987 and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida in 1988. She received a B.A. in Biology from Goucher College in 1982 and a J.D. from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1986. Her work experience includes Hillsborough County Assistant State Attorney (1987-1997) and Auxiliary Instructor for the Florida Highway Patrol (1987-1990). She worked for two and a half years at a criminal defense firm then opened her own practice in the year 2000.

Memberships and Awards

  • Member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association from 1987 to present (Family Law Section Executive Council 2008-present, Chair 2006-2007 and Collaborative Law Section 2013-present)
  • Family Law Inn of Court since 1998 (Executive Council Program Chair 2000-2001 and Membership Chair 2004-2012)
  • Family Law Newsletter (Editor 2000-2004 and Editorial Staff 1998-2005)
  • Theodore Millison Professionalism Award, 2005
  • Junior League of Tampa, Sustainer

Seminars Presented

  • 2014 NBI: What Family Court Judges Want You to Know; Moderator
  • 2013 NBI: Advanced Family Law – Complex Financial Issues
  • 2007 NBI: Successful Financial Settlement for Your Divorce Client
  • 2007 HCBA: Child Relocation
  • 2005 NBI: Negotiating the Best Possible Settlement for Divorce Clients in Florida
  • 2005 HCBA: Modification of Custody
  • 2004 NBI: A Roadmap through Florida Divorce Proceedings
  • 2004 NBI: How to Help your Client Survive a Child Custody Evaluation in Florida
  • 2002 HCBA: Family Law Update Seminar: Handling Relocation.

Articles Published

Lawyer Magazine 2003: The Burden of Relocation Parts I and II

Post production services provided by

Interview with Howard Iken – FSOD 010

Howard Iken is the managing partner of one of the largest family law firms in Florida. The Law Firm of Ayo and Iken has offices throughout Florida including Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Mr. Iken continues to practice as a family law attorney but is also heavily involve in the marketing, operation, and development of Ayo and Iken.

Holiday Preparations: Put up the Tree, Buy Gifts, Hire Your Divorce Lawyer? – FSOD 009

Divorce filings spike after the new year. Even people who know they intend to divorce often put off the deed until after the holidays. After all, with relatives in town and the pressure for “Happy Holidays”, it’s sometimes just easier to play Scarlett O’Hara and think about everything “tomorrow”.

Easier, perhaps, but not as useful. Most of us claim that we are pressed for time, particularly at holiday time. But, if you really count up the amount of hours whiled away on the computer, it’s not hard to see that computer time can be research time.

Attorney web sites offer great information about the divorce laws in your state and what is required to actually begin the divorce process, especially regarding finances.

Preparation is the key to forging a working relationship with the right attorney. Listen and learn how to prepare.

FSOD008: Interview with Vicky Townsend, the creator of the Cafe D.

Vicky Townsend in a Blue Blazer

Vicky Townsend is the proud mother of two amazing children, Kristen and Connor, and mother to two incredibly cute, and yet completely ill mannered dachshund, Alfalfa and Froggy.  Vicky is president and CEO of Inspiration University.  Through Inspiration University, Vicky is able to help thousands of women across South Florida, grow their businesses, and increase their bottom line profitability.   Vicky’s events have inspired, motivated and informed women entrepreneurs to be their best and create the life they want.

After two painful divorces, and an eye opening, life changing event that included being interviewed on stage by Oprah Winfrey, Vicky’s passion and purpose led her to her newest venture “The Café D” an online respite site for those that find themselves going through the pain of divorce, providing them with referrals, resources and emotional support at a most difficult time in their lives.   She’s also created “National Association of Divorce Professionals”, launches in the fall, which connects those in any business in the divorce industry with one another and helps them expand their referral base amongst industry professionals.  Think Angie’s List/Chamber of Commerce for the divorce industry!

Vicky volunteers on several charities and their boards, including SHUZZ, a charity designed to give a simple pair of shoes to needy children around the world, and Women of Tomorrow, a charity designed to reach and mentor at risk teenage girls, and supports the Boys and Girls Club by being a committee member on one of their largest fundraising events of the year.

FSOD007: Separation/Divorce: Are there reasons to delay a divorce?

Usually when the marriage breaks down, especially if there is acrimony, the initial response is to proceed with divorce. But should you try a separation first?

In this podcast, Judge Sexton discusses the differences between the two terms, and some of the reasons why a separation might be a better choice in the beginning: financial, health benefits, cooling off period, etc. .

Does your state have legal separation? If so, how do you get one?

If your state does not have legal separation, must you go forward with a divorce action?

FSOD006: Interview with Paul Volker, the Wizard Behind “Our Family Wizard”

Many years ago, when Paul Volker was going through his own divorce, he had the inspiration to create Our Family Wizard. His motivation was simple: he wanted the best possible tools for parents in separating and divorcing families to communicate and organize their lives.

The vision of Our Family Wizard is to be recognized as the network that enriches family relationships through better organization and communication.

Listen to his interview and I think you will agree, he has achieved his vision. Our Family Wizard is committed to removing conflict and decreasing the need for involvement of courts, judges, attorneys and other industry professionals.

FSOD005: DIY Divorce: Good choice or bad?! (Pro Se Divorce)

DIY projects can save money, which is always a good thing, but unlike a DIY painting project, which can be repainted if something goes wrong, DIY divorce has far reaching implications.

On this episode Judge Sexton describes the differences in pro se divorce, uncontested divorce and simplified divorce. Even though most states allow people to file and litigate their own divorce, is it always advisable? Judge Sexton explains some of the pitfalls in doing your own divorce.

FSOD004: Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck: Mediation not Litigation

From all accounts, Ms. Garner and Mr. Affleck are trying to mediate the issues in their divorce. Certainly it seems to have made a difference. We don’t read or hear in the news allegations flying back and forth. And with all the media sources competing for news, you can be sure that any tidbit would be trumpeted.

Probably the main reason for the lack of coverage is that mediation is confidential. Other than for specific exceptions, everything discussed in mediation is confidential. Compare that to a court proceeding, which is open to the public.

Many states require mediation if the case is being litigated. But there is nothing to prevent you from trying mediation as soon as possible, like Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. Who knows, you might settle the case or at least resolve some issues. And that can only benefit you and your children.

FSOD001: Getting a Divorce When You’ve Moved – Jurisdiction and Residency

One key to surviving divorce court is to understand some of the terminology used in the divorce process.

In this back to basics podcast, Judge Sexton discusses the terms residency and jurisdiction: how they can impact not only when you can file for your divorce, but what happens if you don’t meet the residency requirement of your state.

Also, how does failure to meet the residency requirement impact the court’s jurisdiction?

What occurs if the judge finds he/she does not have jurisdiction?

What does “home state” mean?