No doubt everyone out there has heard about Sandra Bullock and Jesse James are getting a divorce.  The question that burns in my mind… how could anyone cheat on someone as wonderful as Sandra Bullock?  But, that begs the question for today.

Bullock, 44, married TV host and motorcycle builder Jesse James in July 2005. The couple met the previous year when Bullock arranged for her then ten-year-old godson to meet James, who hosted Discovery’s Monster Garage. James has two daughters and a son from previous marriages: 14-year-old Chandler, 11-year-old Jesse Jr., and five-year-old Sunny.

The couple won temporary full-time custody of Sunny in 2009, after James’ ex-wife, adult-movie star and former Penthouse model Janine Lindemulder, was sentenced to six months in prison for income-tax evasion.

Interestingly, in her recent Oscar acceptance speech for her role in the movie Blind Side, she said the award is “… for the moms that take care of the babies and children no matter where they come from. These moms and parents never get thanks.” Maybe she included herself and her step children in that message.

There has been a lot written about how much Sandra Bullock relishes her roles as step-mother.  But, what happens if she wants to continue a relationship with Jesse’s children after the divorce?

Unfortunately, the law doesn’t favor step-parents’ relationship with step-children.  In most states, including under Texas divorce laws, the biological parent will determine whether and when a step-parent can see the kids after the divorce.  Much like grandparents, no  matter how much money and love has been put into helping raise the children, the step parent is out in the cold when the relationship with the biological parent ends. 

Thanks to Blogs On Divorce for the backdrop for this post.

 

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.