About Michelle L. Stowell, CFLS


Michelle L. Stowell, CFLS

Certified Family Law Specialist, Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California

Michelle L. Stowell, CFLS
Mom to Twins, Special Needs Child Advocate, Spin Class Junky, Mediator, @stowellfamlaw


Michelle L. Stowell, CFLS

Certified Family Law Specialist Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California


Part of my job as your legal counsel is to provide honest and practical advice. I will always set realistic expectations and offer guidance based on likely outcomes. While I might not always say what you wish to hear, it will always be the truth and with your best interests in mind.

As the mother of a child with autism, I have a particular interest in resolving family law issues facing parents with special needs children. I devote a significant portion of my practice toward helping clients who have children with special needs.


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

  • Juris Doctor, with Great Distinction, 2001
  • Order of the Coif
  • Staff Member, McGeorge Law Review 1999-2000

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Washington, DC

  • Master of Arts, International Relations, 1992

University of California, Davis

  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1990
  • Political Science Honor Society


State Bar of California

Certified Family Law Specialist

  • The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

More About Michelle

Michelle Stowell is a Shareholder of Purcell Stowell PC Family Law Attorneys. As a Certified Family Law Specialist and a California Family Law Mediator, she has the knowledge and flexibility to tailor legal strategies and solutions to her clients’ unique circumstances.

Focusing exclusively on family law since 2003, Michelle initially practiced eight years with Downey Brand LLP, where she acquired extensive knowledge of complex family law issues, including marriage dissolution, custody, child and spousal support, business valuations, and other community property issues. Michelle then served clients as a solo practitioner until 2016 when she formed Folsom-based family law boutique Forester Purcell Stowell.

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis; her Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University; and her Juris Doctor from McGeorge School of Law with Great Distinction, where she was ranked 6th in her class.

Selected by attorney peers and research teams for inclusion in:

  • Sacramento Business Journal “Best of the Bar” in Family Law, 2016-2018, 2020-2022
  • Sacramento Magazine “Top Lawyers” in Family Law, 2016-2019
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Family Law, 2018-2022
  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists
  • California Lawyers Association – Family Law Section
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Placer County Bar Association
  • Represented the spouse of a high profile automobile dealership owner in a marital dissolution action involving a determination of the character of the dealership as well as other multi-million dollar businesses and breach of fiduciary duty issues.
  • Represented a high profile former athlete in a marital dissolution case involving multi-million dollar property rights, property division issues and support determination.
  • Represented French mother in child abduction matter under the Hague Convention resulting in the return of the child to the mother.
  • Represented the owner of a law firm in a marital dissolution case involving contested child custody disputes, domestic violence, and support issues.
  • Represented physician who owned several medical practices in marital dissolution matter involving issues related to valuation of medical practices, separate property reimbursement issues and support issues.
  • Represented transgender father in a custody litigation proceeding involving a request by mother to relocate with their minor child to Austria.
  • Represented a woman in a custody dispute who, as a minor, was taken to Mexico by an adult male and held against her will until she gave birth to a child in that country. Upon her return to the United States, the man who abducted her petitioned the court for unsupervised visits with their child. The court denied his request.
  • Represented business professional in complex litigation including allegations of child abuse, misappropriation of community funds, support issues and determining the value of a business.
  • Has successfully argued cases and motions before the Superior Courts of Sacramento, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, San Francisco, San Joaquin and Nevada Counties.
  • Successfully argued that an out-of-state prenuptial agreement should be found valid in California.

Families for Early Autism Treatment (“FEAT”)

  • Board of Directors (2006 – 2018)
  • Regular participant, FEAT Walk Fundraiser
  • Family Resources Meeting presenter on “Child Custody and the Special Needs Child”

Sacramento County Bar Association

  • Co-Presenter, Preparing Your DV Case / Mock DV Trial,  Family Law Section MCLE, Domestic Violence Trial Advocacy Workshop, Nov. 2017

Sacramento County Public Law Library

  • Co-Presenter, Valuation of Assets in a Divorce Proceeding, MCLE, Mar. 2018
  • Co-Presenter, Relocation: Should I Stay or Can I Go?, MCLE, Apr. 2017; Feb. 2019
  • Co-Presenter, Constructing a Workable Parenting Plan for Special Needs Children, MCLE, Sept. 2016