Although she is recognized as one of South Florida’s preeminent marital and family law attorneys, Bonnie Sockel-Stone can not simply be defined as a lawyer. Sockel-Stone, a partner at Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone, LLC, is an attorney, a wife, a mother and a volunteer – a successful, multi-faceted woman who is a combination of many roles. “As a child, my mother told me I could have it ‘all’, so I took her word at face value and ran with it,” said Sockel-Stone.
A former accountant with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and Ernst and Young, Sockel- Stone has parlayed her background into the equitable division of assets. Early in her law career, she worked for a small firm with commercial, family law and real estate clients during which time she was able to draw on her accounting knowledge to educate her clients about how to weather the legal process and deal with the financial ramifications of their decisions. In 2009, Sockel-Stone joined her law school friend, Dori Foster-Morales to create what is now known as Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone. As partner, Sockel-Stone represents clients in a variety of complex family law matters including dissolution of marriage, paternity, domestic violence and all child-related issues which is an especially important aspect of her practice.
“I work in an emotionally-charged field where people are going through traumatic experiences,” noted Sockel-Stone. “I enjoy helping people transition to a new chapter in their lives, giving sound advice based on the law.”
While Sockel-Stone’s case load varies, she is always interested in participating in pro bono cases, especially those in which children are involved. “Over the course of 3 years, I served as a pro bono lawyer for a teen in foster care. It was an eyeopening experience. The plight is terrible for foster youth because there are few people looking out for them beyond the basic necessities. A simple thing like obtaining a tutor to work with a teen that is having difficulty in school can be extremely challenging and time consuming. Upon reaching the age of 18, many of these young adults do not have the necessary skills to succeed in college or to manage their own day to day affairs. I feel like as a community we are failing these children who have already suffered so much. One day I hope I will be able to galvanize different community organizations to work on this very important issue.”
In addition to her pro bono work, Sockel-Stone devotes a great deal of her free time to giving back to the community through her involvement with Kidside, Inc., and the National Council of Jewish Women. Serving on the Kidside, Inc. board for the past five years, Sockel-Stone helps raise money for Miami-Dade County Family Court Services which provides a wide range of social services for parents and children with cases in Family Court. Current president of the National Council of Jewish Women-Greater Miami Section, Sockel-Stone volunteers for this grass roots organization to advocate at the state and federal level for pro-choice legislation, gay rights and other issues impacting women and children as well as social justice issues.
Balancing each role in her life certainly has its challenges and Sockel-Stone credits her husband with helping keep her sanity. “I am incredibly fortunate to have found a strong partner in my life. He is very supportive and makes it possible for me to really have it all.”