Louis Daniel Lazaro, Esquire, is a member of the Florida Bar, admitted to practice law before the State’s Courts and the Federal Middle District Court of Florida. He is also a Certified Family Law Mediator. He practices in the areas of family law, business law, probate, and civil litigation. He speaks and understands Spanish.
Louis (Lou) Daniel Lazaro was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963. He moved to Florida in 1971, and has lived here ever since. Lou is a graduate of the University of Florida (1988). After graduation, he went into the family business (retail store owner & manager) for five years before going to law school. Lou received his juris doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in 1997, graduated top 25% of his class, was the Executive Editor for ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Moot Court Society Member, and Vice President of the Law School’s Student Chapter of the American Trial Lawyers Association. He completed a law school program as a Florida Supreme Court certified legal intern at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in 1997, where he prosecuted misdemeanor criminal cases under the supervision of attorneys who were Florida Bar Members. In 1997, Lou was accepted into the Florida Bar and became a licensed attorney. He opened a law practice in Saint Petersburg, Florida in 1998. In 2001, he went to work for the State of Florida’s Department of Children and Families Services in Polk County, Florida, as a Senior Attorney. He rose to the rank of Managing Attorney for Polk, Hardee, and Highland County, and left the Department in 2006 to work at a private law firm in Sarasota, Florida. In 2007 he joined the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office at its Tampa Office and served there for five years before joining the Curry Law Group in 2012.
Lou has been a former member of: the Saint Petersburg Bar Association, Saint Petersburg Canakaris Courts of Inn, the 10th Judicial Circuit Unified Family Court Professionals Association, Lakeland American Wilson Inns of Court, Sarasota Bar Association, Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee, Florida Bar Juvenile Rules Committee and the Brandon North YMCA. Lou is a current member of: the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Brandon Bar Association, and Florida Justice Association . He serves on the advisory board of the Brandon Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
"Jade is 11 years old. Her mother was addicted to drugs and her father had custody of her for a few years. The father met a woman, moved himself and Jade into her home, and three months later married her. Within 5 months Jade lost her addicted mother to a drug overdose, 3 months later her father committed suicide. She was alone.
Jade’s paternal and maternal family quickly came together to meet with Jade at a public park, hugged her, and let her know she would never be alone and still had a large loving and caring family. Jade favored her paternal aunt who welcomed her into her home and made sure that Jade had access anytime she wanted to her loving family. Jade was going to have to go through a grieving process and she had all of the love she needed to get through it. Her paternal aunt talked to Jade to make sure Jade was in agreement before coming to Curry Law Group, P.A. to file for her becoming the permanent guardian for Jade.
CLG filed the petition and application for guardianship and not two days later received an extremely disturbing call from the child’s school. The paternal aunt was crying on the phone, Jade could be heard in the background horrified and emotionally upset. Both had just been told that her late father’s wife had adopted her and obtained a court order that legally required the paternal aunt to turn Jade over to her or face a potential criminal action for interfering with a court ordered child custody. Her now deceased father had allegedly consented to her adoption by her stepmother who was now likely counting on a social security check to add to her income. While Jade sobbed at her school’s counselor’s office, the paternal aunt gently cried and whispered into her ear, don’t cry, I’m going to do whatever I can to get you back.
CLG went into action. Beth changed hats and went from guardianship paralegal to adoption paralegal without a second thought. CLG carefully drafted a succinct emergency motion that had to succeed or the 30-day time limit to appeal the adoption order would expire making the adoption irreversible without a potentially lengthy appeal lasting many years. The motion had to be short, succinct, and concise. It had to grab a very busy judge’s attention and motivate him into immediately acting.
The emergency motion was filed. Within hours, not only was an immediate hearing set, but the adoption order was immediately vacated. But CLG’s experienced legal team knew this fight wasn’t over yet. Jade’s fate was now riding on one hearing set by the adoption judge. Pictures, certificates of births and deaths all had to be organized and filed by Beth Musolino and Jana Barry to tell Jade’s and her family’s story. The judge could easily reinstate the order of adoption. Legal research had to be done to fend off the former stepmother’s newly substituted and more experienced legal counsel. The professional CLG team went to work on subpoenaing Jade’s family to appear and demonstrate to the judge how many people wanted this child back.
On September 16, 2022, the judge started the hearing with the words that Jade and her family needed to hear: “I am not reversing my decision to vacate this order.” The motions and filings worked. The CLG team had brought the previous adoption order into the kill zone and the judge buried it. But the stepmother’s attorney wasn’t quitting so easily, he made his only available argument, but the CLG legal research had already anticipated it and it was immediately shot down. The judge used CLGs legal argument to uphold his decision to vacate the adoption order. The paternal aunt was ecstatic, she cried and hugged her attorney with tears of joy in her eyes and thanked all of the professionals of the CLG team that prevented the loss her niece from her family. The cries of joy from family members rang out over Zoom from Orlando to Miami. But the shouts of happiness quickly subsided, the judge would not place the child with either side. This is an adoption action, not a custody hearing, the Judge ruled. Go to probate court for a guardianship. Fear gripped the paternal aunt. Jade my not be coming home.
The CLG team went back to work. Beth and Jana drafted the notices and filed the legal documents, videos and pictures needed to sway the guardianship judge. CLG used its experience to get the guardianship judge to expedite setting a hearing on the case. On September 22, 2022, a hearing was held in probate court for the guardianship case. After CLG’s presenting numerous witnesses, videos, documents, and making the legal arguments, the judge ordered that Jade would be going home with her real family, the paternal aunt. An eruption of joy could be heard coming out of the back conference room of the CLG office. Jade was finally coming home.
Jade sat devastated at her school office when her aunt put her best face forward on that fateful day to console her while thinking she had lost her niece forever. The paternal aunt didn’t know that the team of committed and dedicated professionals of Curry Law Group, P.A. were already working to save Jade. Jade came within days of permanently losing her real family. 11 year olds like Jade are way too young to be told of how close they came to being permanently removed from their family, so please permit me to speak on her behalf. To the dedicated legal professionals of Curry Law Group, P.A. You never gave up and fought so hard to save me, because of you I was spared from a life spent in isolation from the people who really love me. Thank you."