Orlando Collaborative Family Law and Professionalism

By Orlando Collaborative Family Law Attorney Tom Marks

I believe that the vast majority of attorneys are caring and professional in their behavior and advocacy for their clients. In our adversarial system it is only natural though that by the end of the case, at least one of the parties will feel like they lost. That is especially true in Family Law, the area I practice in.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way and that is one of the reasons I have developed a Collaborative Family Law Practice where husbands and wives agree to work together to resolve the issues without having to take the case to Court.

Not only are both parties winners in Collaborative Law, because they avoided acrimonious Litigation, but also because both parents together have focused on their kids’ best interests.

I have actually participated in Collaborative Law Cases where both parties have felt like they are not only happy with the final results but that they believe they have done everything they can mutually to protect their children and to ensure that their children thrive even after the Dissolution of Marriage. They have chosen to love their children the most and to continue to be friends in order to co-parent their children in the most healthy and productive way possible.

A Word About “Collaborative” Family Law Attorneys

Attorneys who practice Collaborative Family Law are some of the most professional, ethical and caring lawyers I have ever met. The focus is no longer on litigation and winning at no small expense, financially, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually to the clients. And in  addition to the Collaborative Family Law Attorneys, there are highly professional Neutral Collaborative Professionals like the Financial Collaborative Professional and the Mental Health Collaborative Professional. They assist the clients and attorneys in putting together Equitable Distribution Worksheets and other financial documents as well as the Parenting Plan and other important documents in the case.

I am not saying that Family Law Attorneys involved in the Litigation aspects of Family Law are not for the most part Professional. There certainly are many. But those Attorneys who have decided to focus on Collaborative Family Law, do it I believe, because they care about the process of helping clients resolve their cases in the healthiest and most productive way possible.



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December 2013 Newsletter



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“Mary Had a Little Lamb” Isn’t Just for Kids!

By Attorney Eric Faulkner 

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, and the holiday season in full swing, I want to share a story about an amazing woman who knew how we can make the most of this season.  That woman is Sarah Hale (1788—1879), and while you may not recognize her name, I guarantee you’ll recognize her impact.Sarah Hale was remarkable.  She did great things at a time when women were viewed as less than their male counterparts.  Sarah was an author, advocate, publisher, and educator.  She is also the individual most responsible for President Lincoln proclaiming Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.  When you have time, research Sarah’s efforts to establish an official day of Thanksgiving-they were quite impressive!

But I want to talk briefly about something else Sarah Hale did. Something we are all familiar with, but the full story of which few are aware.  Sarah Hale is the author of the beloved children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and the reason she wrote it should be on our minds as we approach Christmas.

Everyone remembers the story of Mary bringing her lamb to school—how the lamb devotedly followed Mary “everywhere that Mary went,” and that the teacher turned out the lamb because of the disruption.  What many don’t know, however, is that the poem is based on a true story.  While Sarah was teaching school a student, Mary Sawyer, actually brought a lamb to class one day!  Understandably, the children were distracted, so Sarah sent the lamb into the courtyard where it patiently waited for Mary.

When the class was released and Mary left the schoolhouse, the lamb came running to her side.  Astonished, other students asked Sarah why the lamb was so devoted to Mary.  They wondered, “Why does the lamb love Mary so much?”  Sarah’s response was both simple and profound.  As the last stanza of the poem reflects, she answered that the lamb loved Mary because Mary loved the lamb.  That night Sarah wrote her famous poem, to reiterate an important principle for her students and for future generations—if you want to experience love, start by loving those around you.

What a profound lesson for us so many years later.  If we all put this simple idea into practice, imagine how it would change our lives.  Do you want to have a better marriage?  Be a better husband or wife.  Do you want to have better boss?  Find a way to be the best employee you can.  Do you want to have more friends or better relationships?  Be a better friend to those around you.  As the poem teaches us, love them first!

1 John 4:19 tells us that we love because God first loved us. I can’t help but think Sarah Hale had this verse in mind when she wrote about Mary’s devoted lamb.  This Christmas I encourage you to read “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with a new perspective.  When you read it, think about the significance of God loving you before you ever knew or cared that He existed.  Meditate on the fact that God loved you “first” and think about what that means for your life.  And then go out and show that same love to those around you.  I promise you won’t regret it!  God bless, and Merry Christmas!

You can view Attorney Eric Faulkner’s Bio here!

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Ronald L. Sims, Of Counsel

Attorney Ronald L. Sims, Of Counsel

Ronald L. Sims, an Orlando native, joined The Marks Law Firm after many years operating his own firm as a sole practitioner. He began serving clients in Central Florida as an attorney in 1967.  His legal career spans four decades during which he has worked in many facets of our system including working on legislative committees, representation before the Florida Supreme Court, the District Court of Appeal, Federal Court, and he has been a certified mediator for both family and civil matters, divorce mediator,  family mediator and legal mediation for more than two decades.

Today, Mr. Sims primarily works in Family Law Litigation and as a Mediator for civil and family law disputes for divorce mediation, family mediation, and legal mediation.   He has  held office in many local charities and organizations over the years, and brings a personal warmth to his practice that is a refreshing change for those going though the difficulties of a family law conflict.


Mr. Sims graduated from the law school at the University of Florida in 1966 after being raised in Orlando and attending Emory University for his undergraduate degree.

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About The Firm

Marks Law Firm in Orlando Florida specializing in Family Law – Orlando Divorce Lawyers

Established in 1992 by founding partner Thomas D. Marks, The Marks Law Firm, P.A. – Family Law & Divorce Attorneys has earned a reputation throughout Central Florida for excellence in family law practice. Attorney Tom Marks has built The Marks Law Firm, P.A. – Family Law & Divorce Attorneys on integrity, service, and an unwavering commitment to providing individuals and families with the best in Central Florida family law counsel. As an experienced boutique Family Law firm, we are able to combine outstanding legal skills and technical representation with a level of personal attention that isn’t available at most law firms.  Our goal is to create an environment of teamwork, commitment and open communication with every client.  Our Orlando divorce lawyers provide  services in the Central Florida area including: Orlando, Winter Park, MetroWest, Windermere, Dr. Phillips, East Orlando, Lake Mary and Clermont Florida.

Check out our Practice Areas to learn more about the Firm’s services.


Mission Statement:
It is our Mission: “To Honor God and Faithfully Represent our Clients with Great Leadership, Attitude, Excellence and Teamwork.” 

Core Values:
Integrity • Heart for the Client – Going the Extra Mile • Excellence in Work Product/Timely • Great Teamwork • Great Attitude
• Continuous Improvement/Growth • Leadership Abilities • Humility • Creativity/Strategic Thinking • Healthy Boundaries