Last week, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries settled their divorce case. After seventy-two days of marriage, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in October, 2011. The divorce had been ongoing for a year and a half. The pair was set to go to a final trial on May 6, 2013 but on April 19, 2013, advised the Court that they had reached a settlement to their divorce.

When going through a divorce in Texas, I always tell my clients at the beginning of their case that there are only two ways you are going to get divorced: 1) is an agreement on all issues or 2) a final trial. Let’s say that there are ten disputed issues and the parties are able to reach an agreement on eight of the ten issues; then we can have a final trial on the two remaining issues. The bottom line is the parties either agree or a Judge will decide the issue at a final trial. This is a concept I remind my clients of not only at the beginning of their case but throughout their pending divorce.

When a person files for divorce in Texas, there is not automatically a final trial date assigned to the case. A person must request a final trial date from the Court and the date that is given is based upon the legal issues, the anticipated length of the final trial and the Court’s availability. Depending upon the Texas County you live in, it could be up to a year and a half before you will have a final trial date.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are an example of the length of time until there is a final trial in a divorce in any state. It is also an example of settling on your own terms is usually better than a third party (the Judge) making the decisions for you.

 

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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.