high asset divorce

Understanding the Lawrence Divorce Case: The Importance of a Tampa Divorce Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of divorce can be challenging and emotionally taxing, making it crucial to have experienced legal representation. The recent case of Tawanda Price-Lawrence v. Phillip Lawrence, Jr. in the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, underscores the importance of a knowledgeable Tampa divorce lawyer in ensuring fair and accurate legal outcomes. This case illustrates the intricacies involved in determining marital assets and liabilities, and the significance of precise legal documentation.

Background of the Case

Tawanda Price-Lawrence (Former Wife) and Phillip Lawrence, Jr. (Former Husband) were married for twelve years. Despite their marriage, they led largely independent lives, with Former Wife residing in Tallahassee and Former Husband living in Tampa. This separation of lifestyles played a significant role in the court’s decisions regarding the division of their assets and liabilities.

The trial court originally determined that due to their independent lifestyles, each party should retain their own assets, leading to a declaration that essentially all assets and liabilities were nonmarital. This decision was based on the principle of “what’s his is his, what’s hers is hers,” reflecting the couple’s separate lives throughout their marriage.

Key Issues on Appeal

Determination of Nonmarital Assets and Liabilities

Consistency Between Oral Pronouncement and Written Judgment

Determination of Nonmarital Assets and Liabilities

One of the central issues on appeal was the trial court’s determination that all the assets and liabilities were nonmarital. The trial court found that due to the couple’s separate lives, it would be inequitable to do anything other than allow each party to keep their respective assets. This decision was supported by the court’s detailed examination of the factors outlined in section 61.075(1)(a)-(j), Florida Statutes (2022).

The court noted that Former Wife’s Honda Accord and her Tallahassee home were nonmarital properties. Similarly, it was found that Former Husband had maintained his Tampa home independently, without any contributions from Former Wife. These findings justified an unequal distribution of assets and liabilities, reflecting the couple’s independent financial lives.

Consistency Between Oral Pronouncement and Written Judgment

However, the trial court’s written final judgment contained an inconsistency. While the oral pronouncement clearly identified certain assets as marital and others as nonmarital, the written judgment stated that all assets and liabilities were nonmarital. This discrepancy was significant enough to warrant a reversal and remand.

Former Wife challenged this finding, arguing that the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage, except for the Honda Accord and Tallahassee home, should be considered marital. Former Husband conceded that the written judgment contained a scrivener’s error, leading to an inconsistency with the oral pronouncement.

Legal Implications and the Role of a Tampa Divorce Lawyer

This case highlights the critical role of accurate legal documentation and the importance of consistency between oral and written judgments. A skilled Tampa divorce lawyer can help ensure that all aspects of a case are meticulously handled, preventing such discrepancies and safeguarding their client’s interests.

Ensuring Accurate Asset Classification

A Tampa divorce lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in accurately classifying marital and nonmarital assets. This involves a thorough examination of financial records, property deeds, and other relevant documents to ensure that all assets are correctly identified and fairly distributed.

Navigating Legal Complexities

Divorce cases often involve complex legal principles and statutes. An experienced Tampa divorce lawyer is well-versed in Florida’s divorce laws and can navigate these complexities, providing their clients with informed legal advice and effective representation.

Advocating for Fair Distribution

In cases where the distribution of assets and liabilities is contested, a Tampa divorce lawyer can advocate for a fair and equitable resolution. This includes presenting compelling arguments in court, challenging any errors in the trial court’s judgment, and ensuring that their client’s rights are protected throughout the legal process.


The Tawanda Price-Lawrence v. Phillip Lawrence, Jr. case underscores the complexities involved in divorce proceedings, particularly in determining marital and nonmarital assets. The appellate court’s decision to reverse and remand the case for an amended final judgment highlights the importance of accurate legal documentation and the need for experienced legal representation.

For individuals facing similar challenges, consulting with a knowledgeable Tampa divorce lawyer is essential. Such legal professionals can provide the expertise and support needed to navigate the intricacies of divorce law, ensuring that all aspects of the case are handled with precision and care. By doing so, they help their clients achieve a fair and equitable resolution, safeguarding their financial and personal interests throughout the divorce process.

Tampa Divorce Lawyer

Tampa Divorce Lawyer

If you have inquiries about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, or if you need expert legal assistance in other areas of Family Law in Tampa, Florida or Asheville, North Carolina—including high asset divorces—please don’t hesitate to reach out to Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group for a detailed discussion of your case. Damien is available for contact via phone at 813-428-3400 or by email at [email protected].

Additionally, we are excited to offer online prenuptial agreements. For more information about this convenient service, please contact us to explore how our online prenup option can meet your needs.