Ms. Lopez Barrera received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida. As a law student, Ms. Lopez Barrera served the community of Gainesville by working as a certified legal intern in the Delinquency and Dependency Law Clinic. For two years, she represented children in delinquency and dependency hearings. She was recognized for her dedication and commitment to her young clients and was presented with a Book Award in 2015. She graduated with a Family Law certificate and went on to represent the State of Florida as an attorney with the Department of Children and Families.
Ms. Lopez Barrera began her legal career as a State Attorney within the Department of Children and Families. As such, she defended the government's ability to remove children from their homes, when the government validated allegations of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. If the potential threat was one that could be remedied, the children were returned to the parents after the parents complied with Court ordered services, such as substance abuse services, parenting classes, or courses to address domestic violence and its impact on children. When the allegations were incurable, it was her responsibility to terminate the parent's parental rights and free the children for adoption.
After working for the Department of Children in Families in many different cities, Ms. Lopez Barrera noticed several internal issues that made it extremely difficult for many parents to succeed and be timely reunified with their children. In 2018, Ms. Lopez Barrera left the Department of Children and Families, and began representing indigent parents with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel. Ms. Lopez Barrera has represented hundreds of parents against the State of Florida and successfully reunified them with their children. When necessary, she held the government accountable for not timely providing parents with services, barring visitation with their children, or threatening to terminate parental rights prior to providing reasonable efforts to reunify the family.
As an attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Ms. Lopez Barrera also represented indigent clients in Marchman hearings, Guardianship hearings, and Adult Protective Services cases. Ms. Lopez Barrera was also appointed to represent parents in Chapter 63 Termination of Parental Rights cases, where someone other than the Government petitioned the Court to terminate the rights of a parent, often the opposite parent.
As an Associate Attorney at Rice Law Firm, Ms. Lopez Barrera handles all family law related matters, as well as dependency cases. Ms. Lopez Barrera can represent parents or family members who wish to intervene in Dependency cases.
Ms. Lopez Barrera is an active member of the community, as she is a member of the Volusia County Bar Association and the Seabreeze Kiwanis Club of Daytona Beach. Ms. Lopez Barrera is fluent in Spanish and is available for consultations over the phone, video conferencing, or in person.