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MEET JUDGE TIBBALS

Fairness. Experience. Integrity.

Circuit Court Judge Wesley Tibbals is a 4th generation Floridian raised in Lake County, Florida. Judge Tibbals graduated from Umatilla High School as valedictorian. An avid athlete, Judge Tibbals was captain of the football and baseball teams, played basketball, and pole-vaulted on the track team while in high school. Judge Tibbals earned his bachelor of science and juris doctor degrees from the University of Florida, and is a proud Florida Gator. 


Judge Tibbals was appointed Circuit Court Judge in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in 2015.  He began service on May 8, 2015, his grandmother’s birthday. Judge Tibbals initially served in the Unified Family Court Division in Tampa, handling family law cases. In early 2019, Judge Tibbals voluntarily transferred to Plant City to preside over family law and civil cases while working with the Chief Judge to restructure court boundaries to alleviate the excessive case load in the Plant City division. In January 2021, he moved back to the Tampa courthouse, returning to the Unified Family Court Division.

Judge Tibbals has presided over 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.  Currently, Judge Tibbals serves as a member of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals Court Administration Subcommittee working to establish uniform procedures and best practices for collaborative lawyers and family law judges across the state. 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. Judge Tibbals continues to implement and use technology in his courtroom to make appearing in court easier for parties and lawyers.  Judge Tibbals speaks frequently on family law matters throughout the Tampa Bay area.  

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 both 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 is passionate about the justice system and has devoted his entire career to serving the legal profession with professionalism and integrity. In his free time, Judge Tibbals is an active volunteer in youth sports, including Plant High School’s football program. He has served as Senior Warden and Vestry member at Saint Andrew’s Church in downtown Tampa.