Serving Clients Across Texas
Michelle May O'Neil Photo

Michelle May O'Neil

Senior Shareholder
  • Profile
  • Credentials
  • Associations
  • Notable Work

Years of Experience

Michelle May O'Neil has more than 25 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 for 20 years 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 nine straight years, 2011-2019, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. From 2014 to 2019, 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, 2017 and 2018 in appellate law and, most recently, made the DMagazine list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas 2019 in appellate law.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O'Neil has written her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law, which is on its third edition in 2016 and available through LuLu.com. Her first book,All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press (now out of print). 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.

Certification

  • Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1997, recertified 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017

Bar Admission

  • State Bar of Texas, 1992
  • United States Supreme Court, 1999

Honors

  • Texas’s Best Lawyers® in family law and appellate law, 2020
  • DMagazine Best Lawyers in Dallas 2016, 2019 Appellate Law.
  • Best Lawyers in America 2016, 2017, 2018, Appellate Law.
  • Texas SuperLawyers, Family Law, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
  • Texas SuperLawyers Top Lists 2014-2019: Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth area
  • A-V Peer Review Rating, Lexis-Nexis, Martindale Hubbell Legal Directories
  • Best Lawyer in Park Cities/North Dallas, Living Magazine, 2013
  • Annette Stewart Inn of Court, 2003 to 2015
  • Superb 10 rating, AVVO.com (2011 to present)
  • Who’s Who in America, multiple editions
  • Who’s Who in American Law, multiple edition

Published Articles

“Advice from a Divorce Lawyer: Whether or Not You Are Thinking About Getting a Divorce”, Today’s Dallas Woman Magazine, January 2002. “Family Law Appeals Distinguished”, Appellate Advocate, Vol. XV, No. 4, Winter 2003. “Ground Rules: Annulment”, Texas’ Divorce Magazine, Vol. I, No. 1, Fall 2003. “Challenges and Rewards of Solo Practice”, Texas Lawyer, October 2003. “Alimony/Maintenance Enforcement By Contempt”, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, April 2004. “Do You Know The New Law On AJ Appeals?”, Family Law Section Report, Vol. 2007-4. “Family Law Appeals Distinguished”, Family Law Section Report, Vol. 2007-4. “Gay Marriage Advocates Prepare to Present Before the U.S. Supreme Court”,http://www.slideshare.net/MichelleMayONeil/gay-marriage-advocates-present-before-the-us-supreme-court, April 2015. “Texas Family Code Statutory Update 2015”, http://www.slideshare.net/MichelleMayONeil/texas-family-code-statutory-update-2015 October 2015. “Getting a Divorce? Secure Your Finances”, Plano Profile Magazine, January 2016; “Small Business Issues in Divorce: A Cautionary Tale”, Texas Lawyer Magazine, January 2016; “Strategies for Contested Family Law and Divorce Hearings on a Time Budget”, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, September 2016.

Presentations and Papers

Family Law Topics

“Discovery in Family Law Cases”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, September 1999. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2000. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2001. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, March 2003. “When Custody Is At Issue”, Pro Bono Family Law Seminar, Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, October 2001. “Family Violence”, Advanced Family Law Drafting Course, State Bar of Texas, December 2001. “Maintenance and Alimony: Why Can’t I Get No Satisfaction?”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2002. “Standards of Review in Family Law Appeals,” Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, November 2002. “Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Boot Camp 2003, State Bar of Texas, August 2003. “Speak Now or Waive It – Preserving Error for Trial Lawyers”, Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas, August 2006. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, November 2006. “Characterization, Tracing, and Other Property Issues: What Really Is Clear and Convincing Evidence Anyway?”, Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas, August 2007. We Lost Now What: Perfecting the Appeal, Marriage Dissolution Course, State Bar of Texas, April 2008. Helping Your Client Deal with Debt In Divorce, 8th Annual Family Law on the Front Lines Conference, University of Texas, June 2008. “Writing the Perfect Country and Western Song: Successful Preparation and Trial of a Texas Temporary Orders Hearing”, Marriage Dissolution Boot Camp, State Bar of Texas, April 2009. “Interesting Appellate Issues”, Collin County Bench Bar Conference, May 2009. “Mandamus and More”, 9tth Annual Family Law on the Front Lines Conference, University of Texas, June 2009. “Winning Your Case Before You Go To Trial: Pretrial Dispositive Motions and Procedures”, Advanced Family Law Conference, State Bar of Texas, August 2009. Presentation materials for TAFLS Trial Institute, Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, February 2010. “Family Law Update: Same Sex Couple Divorce/Parenting Issues”, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, June 2010. “Winning Your Case Before You Go To Trial”, Collin County Bar Association, September 2010. “Case Law Update”, 11th Annual Family Law on the Front Lines, UT Law CLE, June 2011. “Same-Sex Custody Issues”, SMU Law School Symposium, February 2012. “Preservation of Error for Trial Lawyers”, Texas Lawyers for Lawyers Conference, January 2015. “Preserving Error for Trial Paralegals”, Texas Paralegal Division, District 2 webinar, July 2015. “Keep Calm and Contempt On”, Texas Lawyers Forward, January 2016. “Small Business Issues in a Texas Divorce”, West LegalEd Center, March 2016. “Trial Error Preservation”, DAPA/NTPA CLE, August 2016. “How is the practice of law like a marathon?” Lawyer Forward Conference, January 2017.

Civil Litigation Topics:

“Discovery in Mid-Sized Litigation Under the New Rules: Discovery Strategy for Neither Very Large Nor Very Small Cases”, Civil Discovery Under the New Rules, University of Houston Law Foundation, February 1999. “Top Ten Rules for an Effective Voir Dire”, Litigation and Trial Tactics, University of Houston Law Foundation, December 1999. “Representing the Unsympathetic Party”, Litigation and Trial Tactics Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, December 2000. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, General Practice Institute, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2001. “Protecting Your Client’s Case for Appeal (and You From Malpractice)”, Advance Civil Litigation Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2004. “Anatomy of an Appeal”, Collin County Paralegal Association, November 2004. “Preservation of Error When Offering and Excluding Evidence”, How to Offer and Exclude Evidence Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, January 2005.

Juvenile Law Topics:

“Attorney-Client Privilege Communication Issues”, 13th Annual Juvenile Law Conference, Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, February 2000.

LGBT Law Topics:

“Family Law Update: Same Sex Couple Divorce/Parenting Issues”, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, June 2010. “Same-Sex Custody Issues”, SMU Law School Symposium, February 2012. “Divorce, Custody, and Other Emerging Family Law Issues After Obergefell”, The Impact of Marriage Equality on Texas Law, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, December 2015.

Law Practice Management Topics:

“Practical Overview for Winding Down a Practice”, Essentials of Winding Down a Law Practice, TexasBar CLE December 2015.

Appellate Cases Handled

  • In re K.A., 02-21-000108-CV, pending.
  • In re Mariam Ayad, 05-21-00216-CV, pending.
  • In re Jeremiah Mikel, 20-0967-CV, mandamus denied.
  • In re Jeremiah Mikel, 10-20-00323-CV, 2020 WL 7253434.
  • Bryan Anthony Pleasant, 05-20-01040-CV, pending.
  • In the Interest of J.Y.O., A Child, 05-20-00987-CV, pending.
  • In re: J.H., 05-20-00844-CV, 2020 WL 704979.
  • James Huaman, 05-20-00845-CV, 2021 WL 761789.
  • In the Interest of N.E.C., A Child, 20-0635, pet. denied.
  • In the Interest of N.E.C., A Child, 20-0591, pet. denied.
  • In re A.L.C. and R.L.V., 10-20-00142-CV, 2020 WL 5830948.
  • George Manor, 20-0201, pet. denied.
  • In re A.I., 02-20-00241-CV, 2020 WL 4360772.
  • In the Interest of S.M., E.M., A.M., 12-19-00395-CV, 616 S.W.3d 53.
  • Mitchell v. Nowell, 05-19-01243-CV, 2019 WL 6337449.
  • In re R.P.D. JR., 19-0910, mandamus denied.
  • In re C.J.C., 19-0694, 603 S.W.3d 804
  • In re R.P.D. Jr., 05-19-00718-CV, 2019 WL 4635172.
  • Bramlette Holland Browder, 03-19-00381-CV, pending.
  • In the Interest of V.J.M. and C.M.M., 05-19-00479-CV, 2019 WL 5159012.
  • Wyde and Associates, LLC and Dan L., 19-0213, pet denied.
  • In re: R.P.D. Jr., 05-19-00258-CV, 2019 WL 1578274.
  • In re E.W.O., 10-19-00050-CV, 2019 WL 962570.
  • In re J.W., 02-18-00419-CV, 2019 WL 2223216.
  • In The Interest Of N.E.C., A Child, 05-18-01350-CV, 2020 WL 3286521.
  • In The Interest Of N.E.C., A Child, 05-18-01156-CV, 2020 WL 3286522 and 2020 WL 50.6144.
  • In re Robert Garza, 05-18-00816-CV, 2018 WL 3569384.
  • In re Benham Bagheri, 18-0533, mandamus denied.
  • Manor v. Manor, 02-18-00056-CV, 2019 WL 7407740.
  • In re: Jeremiah O'Keeffe, 05-18-00371-CV, 2018 WL 2296495.
  • In The Interest Of C.R.G., A Child, 18-0233¸ pet. denied.
  • Manor v. Manor, 02-18-00056-CV, 2019 WL 7407740.
  • In re: Behnam Bagheri, 05-18-00110-CV¸ 2018 WL 2126825.
  • Carolyn Cash Bartee, 11-18-00017-CV, 2020 WL 524909.
  • In the Interest of M.A.M., a child, 05-17-01062-CV, 2018 WL 1281365.
  • In the Interest of J.A.C. and Z.C.C., 05-17-00768-CV, 2018 WL 2191604.
  • In the interest of C.R.G., a child, 05-17-00717-CV, 2017 WL 5559602.
  • In The Interest Of V.J.A.O. A child, 17-0472, pet. denied.
  • Wyde and Associates, LLC, and Dan L, 05-17-00587-CV¸ 2018 WL 6273409.
  • In re: Diane Collins, 05-17-00399-CV¸ 2017 WL 1953287.
  • In the Interest of C.R.G., a child, 05-17-00297-CV, 2017 WL 2351087.
  • Dalton v. Dalton, 17-0155¸ 551 S.W.3d 126.
  • In re J.Z., a child, 02-17-00127-CV, 2018 WL 5299353.
  • In the Interest of C.T.H. and H.V.H., 05-16-01398-CV, 2018 WL 2926737.
  • In the Interest of C.R.G., a child, 05-16-01490-CV, 2017 WL 2351087.
  • Yan Benjamin Wilhelm Assoun, 16-0563¸ pet. denied.
  • In the Interest of B.F. and P.F., Chi., 07-16-00282-CV, 2017 WL 1173809.
  • In the Interest of B.A.F. and L.M.F., 05-16-00879-CV, 2016 WL 7166539.
  • In the interest of S.A.W., a child, 05-16-00752-CV, 2016 WL 7384165.
  • Dan Wyde, 05-16-00499-CV, 2016 WL 3007090.
  • In the Matter of the Marriage of Geor., 07-16-00143-CV, 2018 WL 1415407.
  • In re Dan L. Wyde, 05-16-00083-CV, 2016 WL 519633.
  • In re B.L., 02-16-00082-CV¸ 2016 WL 1569782.
  • In re B.L., 02-16-00081-CV¸ 2016 WL 1072496.
  • In re B.L., 02-16-00080-CV¸ 2016 WL 1072498.
  • In the interest of M.A.M., a child, 16-0035, pet. denied.
  • In the Interest of B.N.L-B., a child, 05-16-00025-CV¸ 523 S.W.3d 254.
  • In the Interest of V.J.A.O., a child, 2017 WL 930025.
  • Venkata Chukkapalli, 05-15-01287-CV, 2017 WL 2871416.
  • In re: Kimberly Ashmore, 05-15-01270-CV.
  • In the Interest of C.R.C. and M.A.C., 05-15-01180-CV, 2016 WL 4131778.
  • In the Interest of M.J.K., a child, 05-15-01141-CV¸ 2016 WL 7163847.
  • Bart Dalton, 12-15-00203-CV, 2017 WL 930025.
  • In re: Yan Benjamin Wilhelm Assoun, 05-15-00698-CV, 2015 WL 3508000.
  • In re: Yan Benjamin Wilhelm Assoun, 05-15-00543-CV, 2015 WL 19102222015 WL 6522955.
  • In the Interest of J.A.C. and Z.C.C., 05-15-00554-CV¸ 2016 WL 3854215.
  • In re S.W., 02-15-00232-CV¸ 2015 WL 5103634.
  • Yan Benjamin Wilhelm Assoun, 05-14-01463-CV, 493 S.W.3d 156 [approved by Yowell v. Granite Operating Co., 620 S.W.3d 335 (Tex. 2020)].
  • Zhang v. Zhang, 14-0931¸ pet. denied.
  • In the Interest of J.F., A Child, 02-14-00324-CV, 2015 WL 6556969.
  • In re: Maria Cruz Busaleh, 06-14-00073-CV, 2104 WL 4978642.
  • Jarvis v. Jackson, 02-14-00252-CV, 2014 WL 4946973.
  • In re: Robert and Christine Neal, 05-14-00735-CV, 2014 WL 2802907.
  • In re: Dixie Franklin, 05-14-00611-CV, 2014 WL 2211436.
  • In re: Dixie Franklin, 05-14-00584-CV¸ 2014 WL 2106700.
  • In re Guillermo Alvarez-Rivas, 14-0208, mandamus denied.
  • In re: In The Interest of M.A.M., a c., 05-14-00303-CV, 2014 WL 1032415.
  • In re: Robert T. O'Donnell, 05-14-00262-CV¸ 2015 WL 4722459.
  • In re Guillermo Alvarez-Rivas, 02-14-00055-CV, 2014 WL 775402.
  • In re: In the Interest of M.A.M, a Minor child, 05-14-00184-CV, 2014 WL 1032415.
  • In re: Cherilyn Ann Kinney, 05-14-00159-CV¸2014 WL 1414280.
  • In the Interest of: M.A.M., a child, 05-14-00040-CV¸2014 WL 1031047.
  • Vargo v. O'Donnell, 05-13-01410-CV¸2015 WL 4722459.
  • In the Interest of C.H., D.H., and J., 02-13-00312-CV, 2014 WL 3891636.
  • Kaizer Sheriff, 05-13-01143-CV¸2015 WL 4736564.
  • Andra S. Litman, 13-0472, pet. denied.
  • In re Jessica Marie Harrison, 02-13-00135-CV, 2013 WL 5658246.
  • In the Interest of L.J.H., 02-13-00113-CV, 2013 WL 5658226.
  • Zhang v. Zhang, 05-13-00389-CV, 2014 WL 4930814.
  • Larry Don Bivins, 13-0052, pet. denied.
  • In re Foreman, 05-12-00770-CV¸2012 WL 2068964.
  • Gary Raymond Moore, 12-0669¸ pet. denied.
  • Jablonski v. Jablonski, 05-12-00144-CV¸ 2013 WL 2420646.
  • In re: In the Interest of M.A.M, a minor child., 11-0675, pet. denied
  • In re: Roger Wedgeworth, 12-11-00189-CV¸2012 WL 690280.
  • In re McCray, 05-11-01518-CV, 2011 WL 6152191.
  • In re J.L.E., 05-11-01509-CV, 2012 WL 234390101509.
  • In re C.F.M., 05-11-00378-CV¸360 S.W.3d 654.
  • Shilling v. Gough, 05-11-00292-CV¸393 S.W.3d 555.
  • In re Maasoumi, 05-11-00850-CV, 2011 WL 2775691.
  • In The Matter of Marriage of Larry Do, 10-11-00018-CV, 2012 WL 6099066.
  • In re Becky K. Pinkard, 10-1006¸ mandamus denied.
  • In re Bryant, 05-10-01576-CV¸ 2010 WL 5072219.
  • In re Pinkard, 05-10-01170-CV, 2010 WL 4723770.
  • Jamie Elizabeth Kee, 10-0407¸ pet. denied.
  • In re: In the Interest of M.A.M, a Minor child, 10-0379, dismissed.
  • In re Maasoumi, 05-10-00448-CV¸339 S.W.3d 787.
  • Moore, Gary Raymond, 05-10-00498, 383 S.W.3d 190.
  • In re McCray, 05-10-00995-CV¸2010 WL 3193315.
  • In re McCray, 05-10-00994-CV¸ 324 S.W.3d 685.
  • In re D.L.S., 05-10-00131-CV, 2010 WL 1491860.
  • Smith v.Broughton-Smith, 05-10-00245-CV, 2010 WL 1294100.
  • In the Interest of M.K.S. the child, 10-0182, pet. denied.
  • IN RE C.B., 10-0136¸ mandamus denied.
  • In re B.N.L.B., 05–09–00960–CV, 375 S.W.3d 557.
  • Collins v. Collins, 05-09-00543-CV, 345 S.W.3d 644.
  • In re M.A.M., 05-09-00396-CV, 346 S.W.3d 10.
  • In the matter of L.M.M., A child, 08-0347¸ pet. denied.
  • In re L.M.M., 05-07-00504-CV, 247 S.W.3d 809.
  • In re Lance Garland Mantooth, 02-08-00152-CV, 2008 WL 1867935.
  • In rCharles Allan Dobbins, 08-0210, mandamus denied.
  • Ferris v. Ferris, 05-08-01705-CV, 2010 WL 5158444.
  • In re Maasoumi, 05-08-01074-cv, 2008 WL 4881328.
  • In re M.K.S.V., a child, 05-08-00568-CV¸ 301 S.W.3d 460.
  • In re Joe Randall Barnett, 02-08-00057-CV¸2008 WL 820201.
  • Kee v. Kee, 05-08-00013-CV, 307 S.W.3d 812 [approved by Dalton v. Dalton, 551 S.W.3d 126 (Tex. 2018)].
  • In re Dobbins, 05-07-01175-CV, unpublished.
  • In re P.L.H., 08-07-00228-CV¸05-08-00013.
  • In re S.C.S., 05-06-01600-CV, 2008 WL 1973570.
  • Eberstein v. Hunter, 05-06-01336-CV¸260 S.W.3d 626.
  • Wichman v. Wichman, 02-06-00369-CV¸2008 WL 425830.
  • In re Aaron Douglas Rowe, 11-05-00386-CV, 2005 WL 3484198.
  • Peck v. Peck, 05-0921, pet. denied.
  • In re Dettmer, 05-05-00358-CV, 2005 WL 768406.
  • In re Jackie Dettmar, 05-0286, mandamus denied.
  • Peck v. Peck, 05-04-00919-CV¸172 S.W.3d 26 [approved by In re Lee, 411 S.W.3d 445 Tex. 2013), Green, J.dissenting].
  • Harleaux v. Harleaux, 05-04-00188¸ 154 S.W.3d 925.
  • Fair v. Dupree, 03-1135¸ pet. denied.
  • Janet May Kennedy, 03-0339, pet. denied.
  • In re Dupree, 05-03-01303, 118 S.W.3d 911 [approved by In re Coppock, 277 S W.3d 417 Tex. 2009) and Dalton v. Dalton, 551 S.W.3d 126 (Tex. 2018)].
  • Kimberly J. Stamerjohn, 03-0010, pet. denied.
  • Patrick and Sueanne Crandall, 02-0892¸ writ denied.
  • Valley Forge Insurance Company, 02-0100¸105 S.W.3d 609.
  • Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Austin, 65 S.W.3d 371.
  • Stamerjohn v. Stamerjohn, 02-02-00041-CV, unpublished.
  • Tomlinson v. Gainesville Memorial Hospital, 01-0671, pet. denied.
  • Gainesville Memorial Hospital, 02-01-00050-CV, 48 S.W.3d 511.
  • Aramark v. Wisdom, 07-01-00050-CV¸ 2002 WL 15545.
  • In re: Aramark Corporation, Aramark, 12-00-00379-CV¸ 38 S.W.3d 291.
  • Saenz v. The Insurance Company for the State of Pennsylvania, 10-00-00298-CV, 66 S.W.3d 444.
  • Bryan v. Zenith Insurance Company, 03-00-00573-CV¸ 2001 WL 617925.
  • Dickens v. Willis, 03-97-00195-CV, 957 S.W.2d 657.
  • Lemley v. Miller, 03-96-00280-CV, 932 S.W.2d 284 [approved by Jones v. Fowler, 969 s.W.2d 429 (Tex. 1998)].
Education
  • Bachelor of Business Administration Baylor University Hankamer School of Business - Undergraduate School 1989
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence Baylor University School of Law - Graduate School 1991
  • Mediation Certification Texas Woman's University - University 2003
Licenses
  • Board Certified in Family Law Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1997 Recertified 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017
Memberships
  • State Bar of Texas, Family and Appellate Sections
  • Dallas Bar Association, Family and Appellate Sections
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists
  • Collin County Bar Association
  • Denton County Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Bar Association
Publications
  • The Basics of Texas Divorce 2016
  • All About Kids and the Law in Texas (Out of Print) 2009
  • Section Report of the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section Commentator, Case Law Update
  • Dallas Texas Divorce Law Blog Visit Publication
  • Gay and Lesbian Family Law in Texas Blog Visit Publication