Debra L. Ferwerda, Esq.

Professional Associations

  • Florida Bar
  • Former Orange County Bar Association
  • U.S. Federal Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Central Florida Inns of Court
  • American Inns of Court
  • Former Orange County Police Academy Instructor
  • Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association
  • Seminole County Association of Women Lawyers – President Elect 2019
  • Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Orlando Ski Club (Board of Directors, 2013 to present)

“Debra is the second attorney I have had since my divorce process in 2012. The best decision I made through this horrible ordeal was switching attorneys and hiring Debra. I have had so many unique and odd circumstances with my ex husband regarding visitation and lack of child support. Debra has not only offered sound legal advice but also allowed me to vent knowing how emotional this is every step of the way. She demonstrates professionalism in the court room and is a shark when she needs to be. I feel that Debra genuinely cares about the well being of my children, this is not a game to her that she is trying to win and its not about the money she’s paid. My children and I have been through a lot and it is still on going. We truly blessed to have Debra Ferwerda on our side!!!”

“I’ve had many lawyers throughout my time and i have got to say Debbie is probably the best i have hired.”

Debra L. Ferwerda was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Communications from Florida State University. She attended St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, where she served as Articles Editor on the Law Review and later graduated with honors with a Juris Doctor degree.

Ms. Ferwerda is a well-respected Central Florida divorce and criminal defense attorney who has earned a reputation for her integrity and no-nonsense approach inside and out of the courtroom. She gives all her cases the personalized attention they deserve and the hard work it takes to win.

From 1996 to 1999, Ms. Ferwerda was an Assistant State Attorney for the Orange and Osceola County State Attorney’s office, where she received extensive trial experience in Felony and Misdemeanor divisions prosecuting cases from DUI to murder. In 1999, she resigned from the State Attorney’s office and became a founding member of Jacobson, Chmelir & Ferwerda, where she practices state and federal criminal defense and family law. At Jacobson, Chmelir & Ferwerda, Ms. Ferwerda has expanded her trial experience and has represented and defended clients from charges including murder, drug trafficking, sexual battery, home invasion robbery, grand theft, fraud, violation of injunction hearings, probation violation hearings, as well as numerous other criminal charges*. Ms. Ferwerda has represented thousands of clients in the State of Florida, and has had over 100 jury trials in her criminal trial experience. She has also had an extensive, successful Motion Practice, including numerous successful Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Suppress at the County and Circuit Court levels.

Ms. Ferwerda’s extensive criminal trial experience has carried over to her marital and family law practice, where she has tried numerous highly contentious cases throughout Central Florida. Since the inception of Jacobson, Chmelir & Ferwerda in 1999, her family law practice includes but is not limited to divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, alimony, contempt hearings, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements and post-decree modification and enforcement. Whatever your family needs, she gives all her cases the hard work it takes to achieve a favorable outcome, whether through negotiated settlement, mediation, or trial if needed, in addition to the compassion and understanding needed to keenly assess each client’s situation.

Ms. Ferwerda will provide you with the care and competence you deserve.

* Ms. Ferwerda gained local notoriety after successfully defending a Warlock motorcycle club member in a triple homicide in 2014. See article – Warlocks murder suspect found not guilty

* Ms. Ferwerda again successfully defended an Outlaw motorcycle club member in a homicide case that occurred in Lake County in 2017. See article – Charges dropped against 4 Outlaws members in 2017 killing

“Debra is the working persons Attorney. She is straight forward, honest and does not make you feel as if she is “Above” you. She explains everything and works extremely hard to get you the BEST results. I would NOT think twice about hiring her as you want someone like this by your side. Communication is clear and prompt and she responds even after hours! Amazing!”

“Debra did an incredible job of representing me through a difficult divorce. Her explanation of the process and timely contact and responses to questions and concerns was flawless. Her staff was also very professional and responsive. I would recommend Debra to all.”

“I was in a very bad situation and Debra could not have been more helpful and attentive! She took my many calls, even on weekends, calmed me down and walked me through the process every step of the way. Her follow up was fast and always on point. She’s very friendly and personable and is clearly a highly experienced expert. I got the result I needed and if I ever need an attorney again, Debra is the only person I would call. I strongly recommend her to anyone in need of an experienced caring attorney.”

“I’ve had to hire many Attorneys for a variety of different events. This time it was for an extremely difficult x wife. Debbie worked above and beyond on my behalf. She always made herself available to me, and unlike many of the attorneys I’ve dealt with, she listened and gave her full attention to the problem at hand. I would definitely recommend her to anyone I know.”

“I was served papers (quite unexpectedly) by my ex-wife which led to a great deal of angst and uncertainty both for me and my wife. I now live in CA and needed to find a solid attorney in Central Florida to represent me. Debra was referred to me by an attorney who represented me in a family law case years ago (that attorney is now a circuit court judge). Debra calmed my fears immediately and took charge of the case. Her firm, professional – yet diplomatic skill served so well even my ex-wife was impressed! I will call upon Debra Ferwerda in the future for legal needs without a moment of hesitation. Thank-you, Ms. Ferwerda!”