Practice Areas

Divorce

Understanding your rights during divorce is important. We understand divorce can be emotionally and financially overwhelming, even when parties are communicating amicably. Many issues routinely arise during divorce including child support, timesharing, spousal support (alimony), the equitable division of assets and debts, and housing issues. Hiring skilled representation can help alleviate the confusion and complications of your divorce.

If you are considering divorce, or just want to explore your options – contact us for a consultation!

Paternity

Paternity cases allow families of children born to unmarried parents to establish their parental rights for time sharing, child support, and parental responsibility. Paternity actions allow the parties to have a plan in place to assure the best interests of their child. The parenting plan encourages participation of both parents in the responsible upbringing of the child.

Let us help you develop a plan that will preserve the parent-child relationship for years to come.

Child Support

Child support is for the benefit of the child and is calculated based upon the needs of the child and ability to pay as determined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. The total amount is calculated using the parties’ income and number of overnights with each parent, to reach an amount sufficient to support the needs of the child and allow a reasonable standard of living for the payor. Child support matters often become contentious when one party is voluntarily underemployed or dishonest when reporting their income.

My team will closely examine the income and financial records of both parties to arrive at the most accurate number. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your child support matter today!

Temporary Custody by Extended Family Member

Sometimes families are faced with circumstances causing the parents to become unfit or unable to provide the proper care for the child, putting the child at risk for abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Temporary custody actions are a proactive approach to avoid DCF involvement whenever possible to allow the parent time to regain their stability, complete substance abuse treatment, or undergo therapies. Florida law allows extended family members such as stepparents, grandparents, or someone else serving a parental role for the child (fictive kin) to file for temporary or concurrent custody. When ruling on temporary custody matters, the court will examine the risk of abuse, abandonment, and neglect in addition to the best interests of the child.

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a child in your care, or if you are opposing temporary custody being awarded to a relative, contact Attorney Michel Watson to represent your interests!

Contempt

It is frustrating when one party fails to follow the Court’s Order or previous agreement, especially when the other party has the ability to comply with the court’s order. You need a thorough review of the agreement and the facts to determine whether a willful violation of the agreement has occurred. Upon belief that a willful violation has occurred, a Motion for Contempt will be filed, seeking enforcement of the obligation and sanctions against the other party which may include imprisonment and fines. We can help you navigate Contempt and Enforcement actions to compel compliance with the court’s order.

Modification

Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t work because of unanticipated changes in income or circumstances affecting the parent-child relationship. Any changes to parenting plans require a substantial change in circumstances that was unanticipated at the time the Order was entered. At times, the parties are willing to agree, but want to make certain their rights are preserved. Otherwise, you may need to file a petition for modification with the court. Let us help you through these changes.

Dependency

I represent children and families in cases involving the abuse, domestic violence, abandonment, and neglect of children through the Guardian ad Litem program and in private practice.

In dependency cases, upon the Court’s finding of probable cause that a child has been abused, abandoned, or neglected, the child is “sheltered’ or removed from their parents and placed outside the home. The child is often placed with a relative, non-relative, or a foster home. At this time, the court often appoints a member of the Guardian ad Litem program to represent the interests of the child. In dependency cases, The Guardian ad Litems are volunteers who investigate and evaluate the facts and make recommendations to the court about the child’s needs and best interests. Contact us to help you navigate the dependency court system during this challenging time and to make every effort to help restore your relationship with your child.

Guardian Ad Litem

In family law cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to help investigate the child’s best interests to resolve a dispute for time sharing or parental responsibility. Courts take the recommendations of the Guardian ad Litem very seriously when determining child custody and time-sharing.

We offer affordable Guardian ad Litem services for family law matters. For more information, please contact us! 

Adoptions

Adoptions build stronger family bonds. To Attorney Michel Watson, adoption means “chosen” by a special family, to be loved and cared for as a blessing.
Stepparent adoptions allow the spouse of a legal parent to adopt a minor child so the stepparent may have the same parental rights as a biological parent. Stepparent adoptions are possible through consent or by petitioning the court.

Independent or agency adoption of an infant or the adoption of a child in foster care has special needs including home studies and supportive counseling for the parties. Good communication between the birth parents and adoptive families is essential.

Attorney Michel Watson is happy to help families through the adoption process to help you provide a loving home for an adopted child. If you are considering adoption, please contact our office today to learn how we can help your family grow.

Estate plans and Wills

Planning for the inevitable is essential to protect your loved ones from undesirable financial consequences and instability upon your passing. The best way to avoid this mistake is to have an estate plan that meets your goals and provides for your future. Whether you need a simple will, living trust, power of attorney, or need to provide for guardianship of an elder or guardianship of a minor child, we can help you design a plan to achieve your goals.

When you are ready to plan your family’s future, contact us!

This firm proudly serves all families, couples, or single parents, including the LGBTQ+ communities.