A Judge’s Perspective on Divorce Court: Chatting with Judge Wesley Tibbals
Meet Judge Wesley Tibbals
May it please the court! We’ve got a special guest today who knows a thing or two about the workings of divorce court, and that’s because he’s a judge! That’s right, we figured it was about time that we had an actual judge on to make sure we’re not just making stuff up.
Judge Wesley Tibbals talks with Pete and Seth today about life behind the bench in divorce court. There’s a lot to talk about and Pete and Seth have a lot of questions. Why does it take so long for your divorce to work its way through the system? What’s a judge looking for from the litigants in front of them? What should you look for when searching for a good, experienced lawyer? And what should you expect from the court system?
It’s a wide-ranging conversation that will undoubtedly help anyone decide if they should go in front of a judge for their divorce and if so, how to better handle it. Enjoy!
About Judge Tibbals
Judge Tibbals has served his community for seven years as a Circuit Court Judge with fairness and respect to all. Judge Tibbals, a fourth-generation Floridian, was appointed Circuit Court Judge in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in his jurisdiction in 2015. He has presided over family and civil dockets, as well as criminal, delinquency, and dependency court matters in first appearance court. In 2017, and again in 2018, Judge Tibbals received temporary appointments to serve as an Associate Judge on the Second District Court of Appeal. On July 30, 2017, the Chief Judge appointed Judge Tibbals as the Associate Administrative Judge in the Family Law Division and he remains in this position.
In 2018, Judge Tibbals was recognized for his efforts to promote alternative dispute resolution methods in family law cases by Next Generation Divorce, in which he is an honorary member. In 2019, the Hillsborough County Bar Association Family Law Section recognized Judge Tibbals with an award for his extraordinary contributions to family law. Judge Tibbals is a faculty member of the Conference of Circuit Judges, where he is able to teach continuing judicial education courses to judges throughout Florida. In March 2020, Judge Tibbals was one of the first judges in the state to begin using the Zoom videoconferencing platform to allow family law litigants in Hillsborough County access to the courts to resolve their family law cases.
Prior to his appointment, Judge Tibbals was a trial attorney at Akerman LLP for over 15 years representing Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals. He began his career as an associate with Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing, P.A., representing private and public sector employers with an emphasis on federal court litigation. He has broad experience in federal and state courts handling business disputes, contractual claims, products liability and labor and employment issues. He was recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine and Florida Trend for his expertise in business litigation.
During his time in private practice, Judge Tibbals committed hundreds of hours to pro bono service as an attorney ad litem in juvenile delinquency court, assisting children in navigating court proceedings when a parent or guardian was unavailable. In 2014, he was recognized by the Hillsborough County Bar Association for his pro bono legal service with the Jimmy Kynes Award, the highest award for pro bono service in Hillsborough County. Judge Tibbals earned his bachelor of arts and juris doctor degrees from the University of Florida, and is a proud Florida Gator.
Links & Notes
Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.