Welcome to Our Firm
Gabriela J. Matthews & Associates, P.A. has been serving family law clients in the Triangle since 1991. We realize that choosing the lawyer to represent you in this important, personal matter is one of the most critical decisions you will make in your case. How will you choose which lawyer will represent you? Which process will you choose for your case: litigation, mediation, collaborative law? We believe knowledge is power. Unfortunately, what most clients don't know and are not told when they are researching law firms is that most firms have already made one of the most critical decisions in your case for you - choosing the process you will use. The firm has made that decision for you because they solely practice or are comfortable with only one process, whether litigation or collaborative law. They have already decided only to represent clients in court or only to represent cleints who want to avoid court.
One of the most important attributes of our firm is that we empower you, the client, to choose which process you will use to resolve your case. Ms. Matthews has a reputation in the community as a hard core litigator, when necessary, while also being certified as a mediator and experienced in collaborative law - the no court approach. Along with creating new law through her trial skills in the courts, she is also one of the leading Triangle advocates for alternate dispute resolution processes which feature no court involvement. Our commitment is to assist you, the client, to choose which process will best suit the particular intricacies and needs of your case, as no two cases are alike. We offer you the entire range of processes so you can determine how best to meet your goals.
Ms. Matthews is skilled in adversarial litigation in which a judge will make the decision. This may be the process which best suits your case if one party will not or cannot participate in an alternative dispute resolution process. Some parties must be forced or made to do something. Litigation provides that needed power from a third party. Ms. Matthews has over twenty years of successful courtroom family law experience which has earned her a reputation as a well-prepared, zealous, and articulate advocate.
For other cases the parties would like to avoid the cost, stress, and inconvenience of court. However they are unable to resolve the tough issues on their own. For those cases we provide you several alternative dispute resolution method to allow the parties to have a neutral setting in which to discuss their respective needs and interests. This includes processes such as collaborative law and mediation. (See processes for further descriptions)
Ms. Matthews was one of the first attorneys in North Carolina to be trained in and propagate the use of collaborative processes. In collaborative cases, each party has independent representation in non-adversarial face to face meetings. Clients and their attorneys sign a contract agreeing to fully disclose all information and resolve their case without resorting to court. Should either party decide that they wish to litigate, then both attorneys must withdraw. This creates the free flow of information and brainstorming since the fear of facing opposing counsel in a courtroom is removed. This process replaces the litigation goal of win/lose and instead allows parties to reach win/win resolutions. If the parties need outside advice to create solutions, they can bring in neutral specialists, such as financial planning experts and child specialists, to give the parties expert advice. This process in which each client has individual representation, yet are focused on creating resolution results in agreements without the emotional destruction typical of the adversarial process. The children greatly benefit by having their parents leave their anger, resentment, and vengeance aside and instead set forward on a path that will allow each parent to move into their future and participate in their children's lives for the rest of their lifetimes.
Other clients want to resolve outside of court but do not wish to hire two attorneys or do not need a full collaborative model. For those clients, mediation affords them an opportunity to meet face to face with a neutral third party, with or without their counsel, to help them negotiate resolution. This neutral faciliates an interest-based discussion so that the parties are able to get beyond the sticky areas where they have been unable to reach agreement on their own. Ms. Matthews is certified by the N.C. Dispute Resolution Commission as a financial family mediator. Our firm gives clients the choice of hiring Ms. Matthews to mediate the case with both parties, with or without their attorneys, to reach a final, legally binding agreement.
We look forward to meeting you and providing you with quality, knowledgeable, experienced legal representation so that you can choose the family law process which best suits you!