As a Gastonia Family Law Attorney, I know that no matter how focused or deliberate you are about choices you make and goals you set for your life, inevitably there will be situations and circumstances beyond your control that interfere with your plans. How you choose to cope with those unexpected changes can play a large role in the kind of impact they may have on your life. As cliché as it may sound, the fact is, if you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing. Refusing to allow hardship to control our happiness forces us to creatively use that situation to grow our character and build a better future. If you are in a place where you feel overwhelmed by circumstances beyond your control; or you are desperate to make a change for the better; or, maybe you aren’t sure how you can ever recover from a hurt you have suffered, I am here to assure you that there is hope-and you are not alone.
I know this because I’ve been where you are. I know what it is to lose a parent at an early age. I know how it feels to marry the person you believed was “the one”, only to discover you weren’t the one for him. I’ve had to adapt to a new home, a new standard of living, and to becoming a single mom. Life didn’t happen the way I had planned, and the disappointment and fear that comes with that are real. The good news is those feelings don’t have to last. You, too, can replace the hurt with grace; the insecurity with confidence; and the fear with faith that “this, too, shall pass.” By having an attorney who not only knows how to navigate the legal system but who has also stood in your shoes, you can become empowered to take control, not only of your situation but also of your attitude about how you plan to approach it.
I am locally born and raised, having grown up in neighboring Lincoln County where my mother and brother still reside. When I was 15, everything “normal” in our lives changed when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Despite all our prayers and those of our community and church family, he passed away the following year. His death significantly changed our family and my life. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a lawyer and became very deliberate in my life focus and strategy.
I found a summer job working for a local attorney so that I could begin learning the profession. That summer job turned into the job I would have every summer throughout high school, college and law school. I attended Campbell University for both undergraduate and law school. I worked very hard and found my passion for the courtroom when I was selected to compete on the Trial Team; made life-long friends; and discovered that I was most definitely a “dog person”! After graduation, I joined that same firm where I had started my career and I began practicing law as an associate attorney.
I handled family law cases and other various cases until I landed a new position that allowed me to spend nearly every day doing what I love--helping people and litigating cases. As an Assitant P.D., I was able to focus on one area of law and gain valuable experience as a trial attorney. I loved negotiating, arguing motions to the court, and trying hundreds of cases. Professionally, I was excelling, but personally, I found myself struggling. I was faced with a divorce, moving, becoming a single parent, and ultimately re-designing how my life was going to look.
Now, I am blessed with a wonderful blended family, and a home full of pets! When I’m not busy being a divorce lawyer, I’m either playing the role of cheer mom; taxi driver; sports fan; Pinterest addict; or DIYer (with many unfinished projects)! And while getting here wasn’t easy, I can say, unequivocally, that my divorce strengthened my faith; contributed to my daughter’s sense of self-reliance and inner strength; and gave both of us a second chance at the kind of happiness a family can bring.
My personal experiences coupled with more than 20 years of practicing law have helped me develop an understanding and appreciation for what is important to a client. First and foremost, I will listen to you. I am also aware that you are looking for my advice and my advocacy as a family law attorney. I can be the person who assists you in working through the details of a co-parenting or property division plan for a relationship that has ended amicably. Or, if need be, I can stand up to the other party, and refuse to be bullied or intimidated into making unnecessary concessions. No doubt, there are many undeniable benefits for both sides that come with fair negotiation and settlement. However, when one party is clearly being stubborn and unreasonable, or just plain vindictive, I would not hesitate to haul them into court.
The McIlveen Family Law Firm is committed to educating our clients and empowering them to make smart decisions for their future. I share that same commitment and am proud to be part of their team.
- J.D., Campbell University School of Law
- B.A., English and Government/Public Administration, Campbell University, Magna Cum Laude