Recently, I was able to help a client change the custody arrangements he had in his divorce decree to a new custody arrangement that gave him much more time with his daughter.  Not only were we able to get the client more time with his daughter than he had in his divorce decree, we were also able to decrease the client’s child support based upon the greater amount of time he was spending with his daughter.   

In order to modify any custody arrangement in Texas, the person requesting the modification must show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances.  The circumstances can be that of either parent or even the child.   The most common circumstances that the Court sees are changes in employment that result in either greater or lesser pay than at the time of the last order.  People also relocate which can result in more or less time with the child then the circumstances at the time of the prior order.  When it comes to evidence that the Court may consider, the Court may only consider evidence from the date of the last order to present.  Anything that happened prior to or during a divorce for instance, is not admissible evidence in a modification in Texas.  

At the conclusion of the client’s modification action, I received a very kind note from the client regarding the changes in his life and the life of his daughter.   

“Katie,
I wanted to thank you for all your assistance in getting this modification finalized.  I know it was not an easy road, but it worked out.  I think you are a very good attorney and wish you all the best.  The girls are much happier now that they see me on a regular basis.”

Thanks,

J.A.”

 

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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.