valentines candyValentine’s Day can be a time for the ultimate show of faith in co-parenting. The dreaded room party for the kids. Who should attend? Mom? Partner? Other Mom? Grandparents? New girlfriend? What if the Mom doesn’t like her ex’s new girlfriend and gets mad that she’s coming to the school function?

As the song says, to analyze anything, you have to start at the beginning. So who has the right to attend the school party? If there are custody orders in place and the parents are joint managing conservators, then both parents have the right to attend. If one parent doesn’t have the right to attend, then they shouldn’t. But that is unusual. If both parents have the right to attend, then both parents have the right to bring friends and family with them.

If there is no custody order, then the parents have the same and equal right to attend school functions and bring family and friends.

The most important thing to remember is to not make the child uncomfortable. Even if someone shows up that isn’t welcome by all present, act gracious and welcoming for the child. The child is probably excited about the party and his or her friends. The child is probably excited to have all of his family unit present. If one person there acts uncomfortable or mad, it could ruin it for the child.

Just always remember in any situation involving a dispute over a child or child custody, put the child’s interests first. Ask what would the child want you to do in this situation? That should help you come up with the best response.

 

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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.