Meredith Laughridge Cross: Standing in Her Client’s Shoes

Meredith Laughridge Cross

Meredith Cross’ days are busy juggling three kids with her husband and practicing family law as a partner at Raleigh-based Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC. Being a parent gives her insight into the day-to-day issues her clients face.

“I understand many of the difficulties they are facing. I know the law and have courtroom experience, which helps me to provide perspective, manage expectations, and guide my clients through this difficult process,” said Cross.

PARENTING COORDINATOR

As a board-certified family law specialist, Cross’ practice primarily focuses on domestic issues such as custody, child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution.

In her role as a parenting coordinator, Cross helps parents resolve disputes, improve communications, and navigate difficult co-parenting decisions. She can address major and minor decisions, without additional litigation, so long as it falls within the scope of her appointment.

Cross’ law practice also includes domestic violence cases. Since the onset of the pandemic, she has seen a significant increase in her own domestic violence caseload as well as the number of domestic violence cases in general.

“Domestic violence does not discriminate. Over the years, I have represented both men and women. In these cases, if the court determines an order of protection is required, it issues a domestic violence protective order or DVPO. This is a civil order, which provides protection from someone with whom you’ve had a personal relationship, dated, lived, or had a child,” explained Cross.

“Custody can also be addressed as a part of the DVPO. Although the DVPO itself is a civil order, the violation of it is a class A-1 misdemeanor,” warns Cross.

“While it is unfortunate that these domestic violence cases have increased since the pandemic began, my experience in this field has allowed my clients to navigate these difficult situations by providing them with the resources and transparency they need.”

HELPING IN DIFFICULT TIMES

“From a young age, I have always had a drive to help and serve others,” said Cross. “I find great satisfaction in helping people.”

Growing up, she assisted her parents with her older brother, Christopher, who is profoundly and severely disabled. “It gave me a different perspective growing up and helping with him.”

Community service has remained a constant in Cross’ life. Initially, she volunteered at the local animal shelter and as a candy striper. Later in high school, she became the president of ASTRA, a girls’ community service club. While attending Wake Forest University, she volunteered with Big Brother Big Sister, organized blood drives, and participated in philanthropy through her sorority.

After college, Cross worked at a family law firm in South Carolina, quickly transitioning from intern to runner to paralegal. Cross earned her Juris Doctor from Campbell Law School in 2008 and joint Gailor Hunt in 2009.

Since graduation, Cross has continued her volunteer work. She presently sits on the Wake County Bar Association’s Public Service Committee, of which she is a former chair and co-chair. In 2015, Cross received the Wake County Bar Association’s Spotlight on Professionalism Award for her work with Raleigh’s Healing Transitions.

I’M ABOUT THE ‘WHY’

“I advocate for my clients, whether negotiating a settlement or litigating in a courtroom. In addition, I ensure my clients understand the law and how it affects their case. Having open lines of communication and managing expectations are essential. Explaining why a case must proceed a certain way or why the court made a particular ruling is very important and can help parties manage their expectations during an already difficult time. In general, people need to know what is going to happen and why it is going to happen,” explains Cross. “To that end, I actively encourage settlement wherever possible in cases. In my experience, those individuals who have actively participated in the resolution of their case often achieve a greater level of satisfaction with the overall outcome of their case.”

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