Deborah was born in 1963, in DeLand, Florida. Deborah has also lived in Jacksonville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Virginia; Alabama; and Tallahassee, Florida. Deborah's family has lived in Jacksonville, and the Northeast Florida area since before the civil war. Deborah is married to her law partner, Steven P. Combs and they have two children.
Deborah graduated from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville in 1981, after which she attended her first year of college at Lynchburg College in Virginia, where she was a Montgomery Scholar and was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honor Society. After graduating with a degree in Studio Art from Florida State University in 1985, Deborah worked in advertising and as a graphic artist until she began attending law school in 1988. In 1991, Deborah received her Juris Doctor, with high honors, from the Florida State University College of Law (graduating in the top 10% of her class).
While obtaining her education (from high school all the way through law school), Deborah always worked, including waiting tables at the famous Beach Road Chicken Dinners in Jacksonville, Florida, teaching piano lessons, working as a secretary, and playing the piano in the piano bar at the Tallahassee Hilton Hotel.
Deborah grew up as a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) when it was still downtown and she participated (as a youth board member) in the historic debate and vote which ultimately led to its relocation to Mandarin, where it is still located. Deborah was a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lived between attending college and law school. Deborah was also a member of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where she served on the Board and Diaconate and as an adult Sunday School teacher. Deborah and Steve were on the Board of Central Christian Church when it merged with Eastside Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (a predominantly African American congregation), and when its name was changed to Springfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Deborah has also been a youth sponsor, youth Sunday School teacher, church camp counselor, and the pianist for Sunday services. Deborah and her husband, Steve, are currently members and serve as Deacons at Riverside Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Jacksonville, Florida.
Deborah still enjoys playing the piano and composing music (both the melodies and lyrics), and she also enjoys interior decorating. She has not only decorated her own home, but she also helps her friends decorate their homes, as well. Deborah and her husband, and law partner, Steven, also enjoy reading books together, attending movies together, and traveling (both at home and abroad).