Woodlands based attorney Mary Van Orman will likely face some tough questions from two Texas District Judges in two different courthouses. She clearly has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Van Orman has asked for a new divorce trial for her Houston client Marek Menger, claiming another judge in Montgomery County prevented her from appearing at Menger’s final divorce hearing.

When lawyers have a conflict in their schedule they can request a protective order from a judge. Van Orman had a signed protective order from Judge Tracy Gilbert in Conroe for a child custody case being held in Montgomery County. When Judge Millard held the hearing in Houston anyway, Van Orman had to call in by phone instead. We’ve seen the transcript.

“I’m in the middle of a trial, but I just stepped out. We don’t stop at noon up here in Montgomery County,” Van Orman says. “I’ll take a picture if somebody wants to see a picture. Montgomery County Courthouse.”

Lawyers call on the phone into hearings all the time, so we don’t know why that should require a new trial, but Van Orman now has a bigger problem. Her credibility with the court.

The final judgement in the Menger divorce in Houston had been on the calendar for almost two weeks and was scheduled for February 27, 2018. Van Orman had agreed to the date. She also knew for five months the child custody case was scheduled to start February 26, 2018 in Conroe.

Here’s where it could be real sticky for Ms. Van Orman.

Judge Gilbert’s court tells us they have no records there was even a hearing in the child custody case on February 27, the date of the Menger hearing. Ms. Van Orman called in to the Houston court trying to convince Judge Millard she had done everything she could to try to convince Judge Gilbert to let her off the hook, but she was forced to be at the hearing in Conroe.

“I have tried everything to accommodate,” Van Orman told Judge Millard. She even quoted Judge Gilbert, ‘You are in trial with me.’”

Can’t wait to see how Ms. Van Orman explains this, but it also highlights questions about the practice of not getting your dates straight. Court hearings cost moms and dads money. Maybe it is time for lawyers to start remembering that.

Harris County Family Injustice investigation