Matt’s skill protected my daughter from physical and emotional abuse.
I got a text at 11pm one Sunday night from my 15-year old daughter who was on a ledge outside her second story bedroom window, trying to escape from her mother, who had beaten her up. All of my therapist and social worker friends told me that domestic violence only gets worse, that it was unlikely that this was the first incident, and that I absolutely must act.
A social worker friend referred me to Older & Lundy and I met with Matt Felix, a partner in the firm. Matt gathered the facts and drafted a motion for protection, filed in Domestic Violence civil court. At the hearing, the judge continued the case for 3 months, ordering no contact, beyond supervised visitation.
The first supervised visitation was so damaging to my daughter, her therapist decided that she needed to break confidentiality and step forward. Matt advised me that it would help if the therapist wrote a letter and testified, and he conferred with the therapist. Soon after this, I found my daughter crying on the phone; I was certain she was talking to her mother. I obtained phone records and there were hundreds of text messages and calls between my daughter and her mother.
Matt advised me that this amount of contact was egregious, and if allowed to continue, would likely continue, even if the court wrote a permanent order of protection. Matt also advised me that if I stepped forward with the evidence, the judge might order jail time, which was the last thing any of us would have wanted. At the same time, I knew the evidence in the domestic violence case was weak and this case was the only chance to protect my daughter, so I asked Matt to prepare a motion for contempt so the judge was more aware of the need for protection. At the hearing, the judge did order 10 days of jail time. The judge then looked at me; I told Matt we did not want jail time. Matt told the judge “we just want the contact to stop” and the judge suspended the jail time. Matt used just the right words to avert an even bigger nightmare for all of us.
At the final hearing, the judge reviewed the file and I could tell he took the time to re-read the original motion that Matt had written. The judge protected my daughter for 2 years; normally 1 year is the maximum length of a protection order. It was only at the end of these court proceedings that I realized the importance of Matt’s skill in writing the original motion for protection. While it was still a struggle every day, my daughter started doing better in school, I was able to find ways to get her head high, she graduated as a Junior and was accepted to college. I learned during those 2 years how close she was to running away from her mother.
Subsequent to the Domestic Violence proceedings, my former wife alleged that I had not paid any child support for a period of 7 years; Matt represented me in front of a Florida Department of Revenue judge. The divorce decree stipulated that I pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance in lieu of cash child support. In addition, I had voluntarily paid car insurance, utilities and 100% of my daughter’s expenses, including medical, phone, tuition, clothes. While I had overpaid child support by over $95K, Matt told me I had to prove it and I embarked on a 3 week project. I delivered 24 inches of paper to Matt. I think Matt must have put all this paper under his pillow and absorbed the numbers as he slept, because in less than a day, he completely understood all of the expenses, built a telling spreadsheet and even found a few errors I had made. At the hearing, Matt skillfully defended an un-notarized, non-attorney written agreement between me and my former wife that referenced my overpayment of child support.
I would recommend Matt Felix without hesitation and would retain him again, should the need ever arise. I will be forever grateful to Matt for helping to rescue my daughter from a very destructive environment.