At the McIlveen Family Law Firm we pride ourselves in having a truly top-notch team of attorneys that have intimate knowledge of North Carolina divorce and family law. Angela and Sean McIlveen, the owners of the McIlveen Family Law Firm, invite you to learn more about each of our attorneys, their story, background and credentials as well as meet our awesome support staff.
Sean McIlveen – Attorney
When Sean McIlveen is not in the courtroom, he spends his time building custom furniture. Sean grew up in Gastonia, N.C. and graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a B.A. degree. He attended Wake Forest University School of Law and graduated from the University of Houston with his J.D.
He is also the author of two books on child custody and he is often asked to speak at events. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the Gaston County Bar Association. Sean is also a Certified Mediator for family court maters. He frequently mediates cases for attorneys in the greater Mecklenburg and Gaston County areas.
Sean has practiced family law in Gastonia, North Carolina for over 15 years. He has focused his practice exclusively on issues that affect families and all family law issues including child support, custody, alimony, grandparents’ rights, division of property, same-sex couples, estates, wills and adoption. The furniture he builds and his way of representing clients are evidence of his passion for doing things the right way.
Sean genuinely cares about his clients and believes in telling his clients the truth. He feels strongly that educating clients about the law and making sure his clients understand all of their options.
When Sean is not battling in the courtroom or up to his elbows in saw dust, he enjoys spending quality time with his children and his wife, Angela.
Angela McIlveen – Attorney
Angela McIlveen grew up in Taylorsville, N. C. and graduated from Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. with a B.A. degree. Angela attended Case Law School and graduated with her J.D. The way Angela aggressively argues in court is evidence of her drive and determination which propelled her through life and law school. Angela is frequently interviewed by the media, including Fox News, Business Leader Spotlight, and Arroe Collins 99.7 Unplugged and Totally Uncut. She is a member of the Gaston County Bar Association; North Carolina Bar Association Family Law and Law Practice Management Sections; Board Member for the North Carolina Bar Association Law Practice Management Section; Committee Member for the Answer Scholarship; Member of the American Bar Association Family Law and Law Practice Management Sections. Angela is also the author of The North Carolina Divorce Guidebook. Angela is a 2014 Leader in the Law Honoree and she awarded the honor of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 for 2014 and she has been selected as a Top 40 Under 40 Family Law Attorney in NC for 2015 by the American Legal Society of Legal Advocates. She is also a member of the National Women Trial Lawyers.
Since Angela graduated from law school, she has focused her practice exclusively on litigation-related issues. With her years of experience in all areas of litigation including discovery, court motion hearings, deposition, trial, mediation and appeals, she has handled many cases in state and federal court. Angela lives in Gastonia, N.C. and handles cases in Gastonia, Charlotte, and surrounding cities and counties. As a partner at the McIlveen Law Firm, she handles cases in family law including child custody and support, divorce, alimony, adoption, separation, domestic violence and equitable distribution.
While Angela enjoys being in the courtroom and trying cases, she understands that going to trial isn’t always best for her clients. If she can get a good outcome for her clients without a trial, she is always willing to talk about settlement. When she is not full speed ahead in the courtroom, Angela spends her time with her children and her husband, Sean.
Kristen Leonard – Attorney
Kristen was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but has called Charlotte home since 2010. After moving to North Carolina, Kristen has enjoyed exploring the state and its many greenways, and can often be found training for her next 5K or half marathon. When she’s not on a jogging path, you can often find Kristen trying out a new recipe or searching local markets for the latest exotic ingredient.
Kristen graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism. While at UF, she was an active member of the Florida Cicerones as well as Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. Kristen then returned to South Florida and obtained her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University in 2007. Since that time, Kristen has focused on litigation matters and gained extensive experience in the courtroom, trying over 30 jury trials to verdict. She is admitted to practice law in North Carolina as well as Florida and is excited to bring her experience to the McIlveen Family Law Firm as an Associate Attorney.
As the product of a divorce, Kristen has real life experience with today’s modern family. She knows that each client is unique and is careful to take each client’s specific circumstances into consideration when preparing for litigation or crafting a settlement. Kristen personally understands the complex and emotional nature of family law and offers a compassionate, structured environment to pursue a resolution.
Theresa Viera – Attorney
Theresa enjoys ballroom dancing, traveling, and college basketball. As a ballet dancer at the age of 4 and a college basketball enthusiast by the age of 12, she enjoys staying active and watching performances or games. She also enjoys learning about different cultures, listening to new types of music, and discovering new forms of dance through reading and traveling.
Theresa moved to North Carolina at the age of 12. She went to middle school and high school in Cary, N.C. She graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. degree. She attended the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, N.C., and graduated with her J.D. Theresa is an enthusiastic, dedicated, and hard-working attorney. She is committed to helping people across Gastonia, Charlotte, and the surrounding areas.
As a child of divorce and domestic violence, she understands the emotional toll that accompanies complex family legal proceedings and the everyday fear of the unknown. From this background, she became dedicated to pursuing a legal career with the hopes of helping families and protecting children. She is thorough in her understanding and application of the law, and she is devoted to learning the story, situation, and legal needs of each and every client.
When Theresa is not in the courtroom or in her office, you will find her on the dance floor, roaming museums and art events, or planning her next trip abroad.
Anna Gray Carpenter – Attorney
Anna Gray Carpenter is a local girl. She was born and raised in Lincolnton, North Carolina where her father’s roots go back hundreds of years. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is one of four children, who is fortunate enough to have been raised by long married parents in a home full of books, art, and music.
Anna Gray graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and is greatly interested in travel and other cultures. Anna Gray graduated from The Charlotte School of Law with her Juris Doctorate, and was thereafter, licensed to practice law in North Carolina. She understands the importance of stability in the home, and is dedicated to helping families smoothly navigate the turbulence of divorce. Anna Gray is extremely excited and honored to be joining the McIlveen Family Law Firm as an Associate Attorney.
She might be epitome of a girly-girl, but don’t let that fool you, because she is also an All-Conference tennis player and all around athlete. Brought up on a small farm, Anna Gray loves animals of all kinds and is keenly interested in the culinary arts. When Anna Gray isn’t practicing law, you might find her volunteering at the soup kitchen in Lincolnton which was started by her grandparents or helping out in other areas of the community where there is need.
Cassandra Strunk – Associate Attorney
Cassandra Strunk was born and raised in South Hill, Virginia. She is the youngest of three children. Cassandra is fortunate to have been raised by parents who have enjoyed a long marriage together and is glad to have that wonderful example for her own marriage. However, Cassandra has had many friends and relatives impacted by divorce. She saw how difficult that was for everyone involved. As a result, Cassandra is devoted to educating each client about the legal system and to helping each client achieve an outcome best suited for his or her unique situation.
Cassandra graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee College of Law with her Juris Doctorate. At graduation, Cassandra received nine awards related to her academic and volunteer achievements. Cassandra is most proud of the recognition she received from the Tennessee Supreme Court for dedicating over four hundred and forty six hours in pro bono services. She plans to bring that same dedication and hard work to her new position as Associate Attorney with the McIlveen Family Law Firm.
Brought up in a rural town, Cassandra loves animals and the outdoors. When she is not in the office, you will find her hiking with her husband and dog. She enjoys watching movies and relaxing with a book. Cassandra also relishes any opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures.
Ana Gonzalez – Office Manager
Ana was born in Guatemala City, in Central America and came to the United States very young at the age of seven. She grew up in Long Island, New York, spent time in California and finally found her home in Gastonia, North Carolina.
She is Bilingual; fluent in English and Spanish. Ana’s experience includes working in private practice and courthouses. Ana also has experience in all aspects of legal office administration, including assisting attorney’s in preparing for trials, depositions, preparing and serving discovery and heavy translating with attorney/client meetings and highly confidential documents. Soon after graduating Brentwood High School in New York, Ana traveled to Guatemala City where she took advantage of being there for the summer and attended the summer semester and took the legal courses that were offered in The University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. She graduated from Southern California Regional Occupation Center with certifications in Legal Occupations, Microsoft Office Applications and in Veterinary Science. Ana is also a Notary Public and she holds a Human Resources Certificate from CPCC.
Ana is a big animal lover and has volunteered with Whiskers and Tails where she fostered homeless dogs and helped them find forever homes. She has also volunteered in animal shelters and hopes to continue giving back to the animal community. Ana is also a foodie and enjoys cooking and trying new recipes. She looks forward one day to having her own vegetable and herb garden. When she is not in the office giving her all to our clients, she is out hiking or attending Zumba classes. She looks forward to getting back to painting, which is one of her passions and also kickboxing as well. Ana is a true adventurer. Ana used her move from California to North Carolina into a special road trip and stopped at two of the seven wonders of the United States including the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. She brings all that energy and enthusiasm to our office when she deals with our clients and opposing counsel. Ana’s diverse experience in the legal field makes her a great addition to the McIlveen Family Law Firm.
Kimberlee Gibbs – Paralegal to Sean McIlveen
Kimberlee has a passion for books and blogging. She enjoys spending her free time in used bookstores hunting for the perfect novel and enjoys reviewing all types of books on her blog. She loves to spend time with her family, her dog Avery, and friends. She hopes to visit England and Russia sometime in the near future and enjoys learning about European history. Kimberlee has an in-depth appreciation of the arts and enjoys catching Broadway shows and visiting museums. She has a passion for life and loves learning new things.
Kimberlee grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated from high school in 2004, where she was editor of the school yearbook and served as a reporter for the school newspaper. She soon learned that she had a passion for research and writing and felt that becoming a paralegal was the right career for her. She graduated from King’s College in December 2007 and immediately began working in a family law firm. She loves family law because it is so diverse and she enjoys helping people who are experiencing a difficult time in their lives.
As a child of divorce, she feels that she can use her experiences to help others through a time of transition. She is versatile and devoted to making sure clients feel that they have someone who can help guide them and to answer their questions at every step of the process. Kimberlee understands that every case is unique and is committed to making every client feel that she is devoted to their case.
When Kimberlee is not at work, she enjoys dancing, Zumba, relaxing with a good book and watching British television. She is also committed to living a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle and loves to explore new ways to cook and prepare foods.
Carrie Hromada, Paralegal to Theresa Viera, Anna Carpenter, & Kristen Leonard
Carrie was born in the small town of Sharon, Pennsylvania and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of 10. She now resides in Lake Wylie, South Carolina with her husband, Jeremy, their two daughters and two dogs. As Carrie and her Husband have just gotten married in May 2013, they understand the difficulties, but mostly the joys of blending a family.
Carrie graduated from Central Piedmont Community College with her A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Technology and has over 5 years of paralegal experience. Carrie is dedicated and hard-working and will work diligently on your case. She understands the complexity of your case and although it may be an emotional roller coaster ride, know that she will be there to not only support the attorney handling your case, but you as well. She enjoys working in family law, because she is passionate about helping others and is willing to be someone to lean on in a time of need.
She has enjoyed volunteering with Hands on Charlotte for a couple years and has enjoyed sharing this opportunity with her daughter. They have gone bowling with adults and teens with special needs and volunteered with events in uptown Charlotte. Carrie is excited that she works with such a charitable company and is looking forward to continue to give back to the community with the McIlveen Family Law Firm. Carrie also enjoys cheering on her husband, a city fireman, and the rest of the Charlotte Cobras Football team, whom are all public safety employees. They are one of the teams in the National Public Safety Football League that play for a charity of their choosing. This past season, they raised money for another fireman with leukemia to help with the medical bills.
When not at work, Carrie loves to spend time with her family and friends and going to festivals, watching movies or seeing a concert. She loves going to the beach, the lake and camping. Carrie also enjoys reading, Zumba, Pilates and is going to train for her very first half marathon. She enjoys watching The Carolina Panthers and New York Giants football teams and cheering on her beloved New York Yankees.
Grecia “Grace” Quintanilla-Soto, Accounting Specialist
Grace is a city girl born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She comes from a mixture of families, her mother being Salvadorian and her father from Honduras. Grace is bilingual fluent in Spanish and English.
During her teenage years, Grace became an outdoor adventures girl. Every weekend she would go mountain climbing, camp out in the woods, and enjoy the beautiful beach. As a single mother to her two wonderful children Jeyson and Anthony, her free time activities include playing soccer and watching cartoons with her kids. Grace graduated High School in 2007 at Crescenta Valley High School in Glendale, CA. Some doubted that Grace would be able to meet her goal of graduating high school and going on to get a degree. Grace not only graduated from high school, she also took college equivalency classes to prove her skills to everyone who doubted her. She became a Certified Notary Public in 2013. Because of her devotion to her children, Grace put her education on hold, but that hasn’t stopped her from planning out her future goals.
Grace started her career at the firm as a Client Concierge but had a passion for finance that was quickly recognized by the firm. Through hard work and perseverance, Grace completed her finance certifications at CPCC and moved into the Accounting Specialist position. As a child of divorced parents and a former victim of domestic violence, Grace has a deep understanding of what people experience when going through a divorce. Her life experiences have left a mark on her but also made her into a strong, responsible, mature woman and mother. Grace is very excited to work at our Firm, but most of all, she is exited to help others who are experiencing what she has been through in the past.
During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her boys, family, and friends. She enjoys going out for walks, dancing, playing soccer with her sons and tying out different food from different countries. When Grace is not in the office taking care of our clients, you will find her making plans with her children to go on a trip and spending as much time as possible with them.
Stephanie Duty, Client Concierge
Stephanie was born in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. Growing up there, she loved the outdoors and enjoyed the wonders of nature. She was raised by both parents, who were married for 42 years, and she is the middle child of five siblings. Stephanie graduated from Iaeger High School in 2000. She attended Bluefield State College and pursued a bachelor’s degree in Social Science.
While attending college, Stephanie worked for a small jewelry store. This position allowed Stephanie to find her passion for customer service. She moved to Abingdon, Virginia where she worked for the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator. Stephanie was able to meet several dignitaries and saw how the local government made a difference in the community by helping small businesses grow into larger companies. She was inspired by seeing an idea turn into a community changing resource that employed hundreds. In 2014, Stephanie decided to make the move to Charlotte to pursue her career and personal life goals. The knowledge she gained throughout her career has made her a great fit for the team. Stephanie applies all of her skills that she obtained as a receptionist and recruiter to provide excellent service to our clients.
In her down time, Stephanie has revived her childhood love of the outdoors; camping and hiking the mountains of the Carolinas has become a weekend routine. She enjoys watching a movie on a Friday night or going for a walk in her neighborhood. She has been exploring the area and loves discovering the local shops and eateries that Charlotte has to offer. Stephanie believes when you come from a big family you share everything and that is what has made her into such a kind and compassionate person. She continues to follow her passion of helping people and being involved in her local community.
Kathryn Pritchard, Client Concierge
Katie was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She grew up loving dogs and always knew she would have one of her own someday. She now owns a beautiful golden retriever named Rajah. She enjoys taking him on car rides and spoils him with treats. She received her certification in Pet CPR and first aid while working at a dog daycare and boarding.
She moved to Charlotte to attend undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology, accompanied by a minor in Criminal Justice, and graduated cum laude in just three years. While attending UNC-Charlotte she was an active member of the Delta Kappa chapter of Chi Omega Fraternity and Psi Chi International Honors Society. As a Chi Omega alumna, she still keeps in contact with many of her sisters.
She has previous legal receptionist experience; however, she struggled to find her passion in traffic law. Being raised by a single mother, Katie experienced the difficulties of growing up in a split family. This emotionally demanding situation fostered a close relationship with her mother and taught her the importance of perseverance. Katie decided she wanted to have the opportunity to provide support and guidance to others going through a similar, and very familiar, life change. She shares the passion for educating to empower clients with each of her team members. Katie is ecstatic to be a part of the McIlveen Family Law team and looks forward to continuing to grow within the firm.
Silvia Ayala, Client Concierge
Silvia was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. Silvia was very grateful to have been raised by fun, loving and supporting parents. Growing up in a Hispanic household, Silvia learned to communicate very well in English and in Spanish. As the oldest sibling, she has tried to set a good example for her two younger sisters. In the summer of 2006, she and her family relocated to Gastonia, North Carolina. Due to the move, she had to leave her all-girl Catholic high-school and finish her high school career at Ashbrook High School. In 2009, Silvia graduated with her Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies. Silvia decided to continue her education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2014, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. While in college, Silvia was an active member of the Mock Trial team and served as the secretary and vice president. She plans to further her education by coming a certified North Carolina Notary Public; additionally she plans to study diligently to take the LSAT and attend law school.
Prior to working at McIlveen Family Law, Silvia had five years of experience working as a personal injury and medical malpractice paralegal. She is familiar with legal terminology, different computer programs, and legal documentation. She enjoys helping the clients and tries to help them understand the process of their case. Based on her work experience, she knows what the clients are going through and she tries to help them with anything she can.
In the summer of 2014, Silvia’s fiancé, Joshua, proposed at Holden Beach. They are now planning a wedding as well as the arrival of their first child. During her spare time, Silvia enjoys traveling, hiking, bike-riding and fishing. She is a huge sports fan of the New York Giants and Yankees, but she also supports the local teams like the Charlotte Knights and Checkers; as well as the Gastonia Grizzlies. Additionally, she loves to learn, bake, read fictional novels, try new restaurants and spend time with her family. Silvia is also active in her church and involved in community and charity work.
Danielle Lowery, Marketing Assistant
Danielle was born and raised in Gastonia, NC. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Psychology and in 2013 she completed a MBA in Marketing. Although she is just getting started with her career, Danielle has over five years of marketing experience and has worked in several industries including transportation, finance, and the non-profit sector. She has had the opportunity to work with small businesses as well as nationally known brands. From event planning to creating and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns, Danielle considers herself to be versatile and well-rounded in her marketing skills.
In her spare time, Danielle enjoys shopping, spending time with family and friends, and learning new things. She is the oldest of three and loves spending time with her younger brothers. Danielle is an active member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Incorporated and regularly volunteers with Girl Scout councils in Charlotte and Gastonia. She also enjoys volunteering with her church’s kitchen ministry. In between the time she intends to return to school for a doctorate degree, she plans to pursue her hobbies and explore her creative side by obtaining a cosmetology license. Danielle is an avid believer in pursuing opportunities to learn and expanding yourself personally and professionally.
She thoroughly enjoys challenges and actively pursues ways to invest in herself so she may be a help to others. Danielle is extremely passionate about marketing and strives to ensure it shows in her work. A strong believer in education, she enjoys gaining knowledge in her field and using it to provide a better experience for our current and future clients. Danielle looks forward to assisting the firm reach new heights.
Keramilah Dagnachew, Legal Secretary
Keramilah was born and raised in Jacksonville, NC. She comes from a family of six which has made her very family oriented. With two older sisters and one younger brother, Keramilah has grown up constantly competing with not only her siblings but also on sports teams. Although she enjoys playing all sports and was a varsity letterman every year in high school and college, her favorite sport is soccer. Keramilah followed in her eldest sister’s footsteps by accepting a scholarship to play with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke women’s soccer team.
Attending UNC-Pembroke allowed Keramilah to continue her love of the game of soccer while she earned a degree in Criminal Justice. While attending school she was an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. This is when Keramilah met her fiancé, Michael. Keramilah and Michael were both captains for the UNC-Pembroke soccer teams and share a mutual passion for the sport. After graduation, Keramilah and Michael moved to Charlotte where they continue to play soccer on a co-ed team. They are also actively planning a Spring 2015 wedding.
Before working at McIlveen Family Law Firm, Keramilah was a store manager at a high-end retail store. She managed three assistant managers and up to 75 associates. As she frequently traveled to help out sister stores, Keramilah learned the importance of great communication and staying organized. She is also very attentive and dependable. She knows that clients are going through a very hard time and wants to be able to comfort them by reassuring the clients she is working diligently on their case.
Keramilah is privileged to have grown up in a family with married parents and is grateful for the wonderful example of love her parents have shared over the years. She is learning a lot about divorce and blended families the more she spends time with her fiancé’s family. She wants to use this experience to help others. Keramilah is dedicated to helping her clients have the smoothest transition possible.