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Triangle Divorce Lawyers: People Want Choices

Kathleen Murphy was making jokes to lighten the mood. And soon, so too were the rest of the Triangle Divorce Lawyers attorneys during our photo shoot at the North Carolina State Farmers Market. The goal was to communicate that this is something other than a stuffy, downtown law firm.

Mary Gurganus launched the nine-attorney Triangle Divorce Lawyers firm in 2014. It handles divorces, alimony, child custody and support, separation, and domestic violence, and adoption matters.

Gurganus has first-hand knowledge of the pain children experience in a divorce. She was 15 when her parents split up. “It was very hard on me and my siblings. It made a mark on my life. I saw the inequity of my father ending up with more assets than my mom. My mom ended up with full custody and my dad saw us once every few months,” remembered Gurganus. The experience inspired her to practice family law.

People Want Choices

Triangle Divorce Lawyer’s clients are generally families with children and two working spouses, and their homes and retirement accounts are their biggest assets.

While the firm is based in the Glenwood South section of Raleigh and a lot of its clients come from Wake County, a growing number are from 12 surrounding counties, including Johnston, Franklin, Harnett, and Onslow County. The firm recently opened an office in Clayton, where three of its attorneys live and work.

“Some surrounding counties only have a few attorneys, and there is always a necessity for outreach to the counties for law firms that handle specific types of cases,” Gurganus said. “One of our firm’s missions is to close that gap and make sure there are attorneys that live and work in various counties so that clients feel their legal team is easy to access.

“We get calls from all around Central and Eastern North Carolina, and our team is from many of the counties that we practice in, so they are familiar with the area and the clients,” she added.

“People want choices. Nowadays, people research. They don’t just get one name and run with that. They search reviews, read websites and social media posts, and attend online workshops. They interview a few attorneys. And then you sync with an attorney you meet, who could be in Raleigh, and that’s the person that really resonates with you, and you feel like you could tell your deepest darkest secrets to that person.”

Gurganus said that by practicing in specific regional areas, their lawyers have learned the rules of the road in those courthouses, and developed working relationships with the courthouse clerks, staff, and judges.

Reasonable Expectations

When the firm’s attorneys first meet with clients, they try to set reasonable expectations as to how the case may play out based on their experience. They tell clients there will be no scorched earth tactics with their firm.

The goal is to move the process along quickly and achieve a fair resolution. When children are involved, time is of the essence. “We’re looking to get it resolved,” she said. “We want to make sure people see their children quickly. So long as safety isn’t an issue, our aim is to have more equal parenting time, so people get to see their kids often.”

To that end, Gurganus said her lawyers endeavor to keep cases out of court and instead negotiate a settlement. Court cases can be expensive, and it takes months to get into court.

“We consistently aim to present offers promptly and regularly, encouraging the other party to give them due consideration. Leveraging the expertise of our legal team in negotiating settlements and their ability to anticipate potential outcomes facilitates the resolution of cases both with our clients and opposing counsel.”

A Holistic Approach

“During the divorce process, family law clients often rely on their attorneys not only for legal guidance but also for emotional support,” Gurganus explained. “Our role extends beyond just the legal aspect; we strive to assist clients comprehensively.”

Gurganus emphasized the proactive nature of her lawyers in identifying challenges clients may face. “We’ve established a network of therapists, financial planners, and other professionals specialized in aiding our clients, ensuring they receive the support they need.”

Family Law and AI

After the photo shoot, several of us crossed the parking lot to the State Farmers Market for an old-fashioned breakfast and to discuss the future.

“Even with AI in the mix,” Gurganus emphasized, “we’re still going to have those face-to-face conversations with our clients. There’s no replacing the need to break down complex legal jargon, talking through their unique situations, and standing up for them in court when necessary.”

“By bringing AI into our back-office operations, we’re looking to streamline our processes. This should translate to quicker handling of cases and, in the end, lower costs for our clients.”

Other Ways of Giving Back

The firm is deeply committed to volunteerism. Gurganus offers pro bono legal services to therapists across the state seeking guidance on subpoenas they receive. Alice Womack and Kathleen Murphy dedicate their time to professional family law boards, with Murphy and Robin Strickland also serving as a child’s advocate. Additionally, Strickland and Womack serve as parenting coordinators. Jack Barrett contributes to recreational sports initiatives.

“These actions highlight our firm’s community commitment, extending our impact beyond legal boundaries,” Gurganus said.

Second Saturday

“Every second Saturday, our firm hosts a free online workshop offered to individuals at various stages of the divorce process,” said Gurganus, the host of these sessions. “Different needs arise at different points in this journey. Those contemplating divorce often seek clarity on legal terms and processes, while those who’ve already finalized their divorce may require financial guidance.”

The firm’s other attorneys, Nathan Gudeman, David Franklin, and Daniel Swain, take turns donating their time to present on Second Saturday. They are joined every month by other divorce professionals, such as financial advisors, CPAs, coaches and therapists.

“It’s important to recognize that not everyone has access to legal representation,” Gurganus added. “Many simply seek knowledge to empower themselves. We’ve encountered numerous domestic violence survivors who feel lost and isolated. These workshops offer them a source of information and support, breaking the cycle of uncertainty.

“Attendance typically reaches several dozen participants,” Gurganus continued. “The workshops foster an environment of anonymity and camaraderie, offering attendees a sense of empowerment and solidarity.”

For more information on Second Saturday for Wake and Johnston County, visit secondsaturdaywakecounty.com.

The post Triangle Divorce Lawyers: People Want Choices appeared first on Attorney at Law Magazine.

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