Motivational-Winston-Churchill-QuotesMaking the decision to divorce is one of the hardest, most emotional decisions in a person’s life. Dealing with the heartbreak and disappointment that comes along with divorce can be enough to overwhelm the strongest person. Then, dealing with the legal issues of the breakup can push a person beyond where they thought their limit is. One author posted about the 5 things she wished she had known before filing for divorce in HuffPost.

  1. The divorce will take twice as long as you think it will.

There are many factors that affect the length of time a divorce will take. First, in Texas, a divorce must stay on file for a minimum of 60 days. Usually, only the most agreeable divorces finish in that short time period. Divorces involving contested issues will inevitably take much longer. Plan for it.

  1. It is going to cost twice as much as you think it will.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” Thus, the more time or advice you need from lawyer, the more your divorce will cost. The easiest and least expensive divorces are those where the spouses can agree on all of their issues. In this event, the attorney becomes the draftsman of the legal documents. If the two spouses cannot agree, lawyers will have to advocate through the process to either reach an agreement or ultimately have a contested trial where a judge decides the issue(s).

  1. There will be bad feelings between you and your ex.

The reality is that you will probably have bad feelings between you and your soon-to-be ex during the divorce process. This is normal. However, especially if you have children, it is best to try to suppress those feelings for the most part. After the divorce is over, you can both move on and forgive the hurt. During the divorce is probably too soon for that.

  1. The ex’s family will probably hate you too.

Blood is thicker than water, they say. During a divorce, this proves true. No matter how close you were to his mother during your marriage, getting a divorce now makes you Enemy-Number-1 and there will be hard feelings with his family. Hopefully you will all be able to keep some modicum of peace for the sake of the children. But, still, just accept that you are the common enemy.

  1. You will feel awful during your divorce.

Feel lost? Sad? Like you can’t get out of bed? That’s pretty normal. Many people going through a hard time find that they benefit from a short round of anti-depressants. If meds aren’t your thing, try yoga, or running, or counseling. Take up a new hobby. Try something new that will occupy your mind so you aren’t hyper-focused on your sadness. Make your new thing healthy – you don’t want to wake up from your divorce fog one day with 100-pound weight gain or a new smoking habit or worse. But know that the feeling-like-poo phase will end. You will get through this.

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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.