Sheila Passenant is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Passenant has a strong background representing children in high conflict custody cases as well as abuse and neglect situations. She is a Parent Coordinator and a Certified Permanency Mediator. Ms. Passenant created and coordinated the Legal Representation Project for United Family Services Victim Assistance and successfully increased the pro bono representation of domestic violence victims, including the elderly and children. Ms. Passenant also served on the MCB Fee Dispute Resolution Committee from 2013-2015, the Domestic Violence Legislative Committee for North Carolina from 2009-2011 and the NC Bar Candidate Committee from 2011-present. In addition, Ms. Passenant regularly serves as a National Alliance on Mental Illness group facilitator which is an organization that helps support family members of those suffering from mental illness. Ms. Passenant is an experienced litigator and has spent the majority of her career in the courtroom. Ms. Passenant successfully resolves the majority of her client’s family law issues through mediation and the collaborative law process. When settlement is not possible, Ms. Passenant is a passionate advocate for her clients and uses her many years of courtroom experience to fight for what is fair and equitable. Ms. Passenant is the youngest of eleven children and she is a twin. She is married, has four adult children and two dogs.

Areas of Practice

  • Family Law
  • Separation and Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Equitable Distribution
  • Alimony
  • Collaborative Law
  • Parent Coordination
  • Private Guardian Ad Litem
  • Domestic Violence
  • Guardianship
  • Adoption
  • Termination of Parental Rights

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Board Certified Family Law Specialist
  • NC DRC Certified Family Financial Mediator
  • Certified Parent Coordinator

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1989
  • New York, 1989
  • North Carolina, 1999
  • South Carolina, 2017
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2000
  • Supreme Court of New York, 1999


  • Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York
    • J.D. – 1989
  • University of Scranton, Pennsylvania
    • B.A. magna cum laude – 1985
    • Major: English and Philosophy

Published Works

  • Hague Convention Case published opinion, Miller v. Miller, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, North Carolina, 2000
  • Created, Organized and Compiled a Training Manual for The Legal Representation Project


  • Presenter and Coordinator, United Family Services Domestic Violence Legal Representation Project Pro Bono Attorney Program
  • Presenter and Staff Attorney, Council for Children’s Rights(formerly Children’s Law Center) Custody Advocate Program Pro Bono Attorney Program
  • Organized and Compiled a Training Manual for “Family Law Boot Camp” CLE program

Honors and Awards

  • 2009 Recipient of the Women’s Impact Fund Grant on behalf of the Legal Representation Project
  • 2012 Commitment to Justice Award, Safe Alliance-Sheila Passenant
  • 2013 Commitment to Justice Award, Safe Alliance- Sheila Passenant
  • 2014 Commitment to Justice Award, Safe Alliance-Sheila Passenant
  • 2015 Commitment to Justice Award, Safe Alliance-Sheila Passenant and Kristen Shearin
  • 2015 MCB Panel Member of the Year, Lawyer Referral Service-Sheila Passenant
  • 2016 Commitment to Justice Award, Safe Alliance-Sheila Passenant and Ali Miller
  • 2016 Legal Elite-Sheila Passenant
  • 2017 Outstanding Firm Pro Bono Service Award from the Council for Children’s Rights

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Member, Domestic Violence Committee
  • Parent Coordinator Committee, Member
  • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • Mecklenburg County Bar, Fee Dispute Committee
  • Mecklenburg County Collaborative Law Group
  • North Carolina State Bar, Candidate Review Committee
  • North Carolina Bar Pro Bono Activities Committee, 2013 – 2014
  • American Bar Association Family Law Specialty Group

Pro Bono Activities

  • Guardian Ad Litem for the Council for Children’s Rights, Volunteer
  • Safe Alliance Pro Bono Attorney
  • Carolina Foster Kids Association, Board of Directors
  • Ronald McDonald House, Volunteer
  • Volunteer NAMI, Group Facilitator

Sheila G. Passenant




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