I love practicing law. Guiding clients through the stress and upheaval of divorce, a custody battle or the aftermath of a death in the family is position of trust that I take seriously. Drafting an amicable separation agreement, or completing an adoption efficiently with as little drama as possible is equally important. I have been a NC Certified Family Law Specialist since 2009. My law firm handles divorce, custody, child support, alimony, property division, grandparents' rights, domestic violence, tort claims and personal injury, prenuptial and separation agreements, estate planning and administration in Chatham, Orange and Durham counties.
- Family Law
- Domestic Violence
- Estate Planning
- Personal Injury
- Credit Cards Accepted
- North Carolina
- English: Spoken, Written
- Managing Attorney
- Averett Family Law
- - Current
- Family Law firm representing clients in cases involving divorce, custody, probate, estate planning and personal injury
- Founder and Executive Director
- DVC Legal Services, Inc.
- Non profit law firm representing indigent domestic violence victims in Orange and Chatham County, NC
- North Carolina Central University School of Law
- J.D. (1998)
- Honors: Magna cum laude
- North Carolina State Bar
- NC Bar Domestic Violence Committee
- Activities: Draft and recommend changes to NC statutes on domestic violence
- Judicial District 15B bar - Orange and Chatham County
- - Current
- NC Bar Association
- - Current
- Domestic Violence Primer, NC State Bar Paralegal CLE, Cary, NC
- Child Support: When Can You Deviate from the Guidelines?, NC Justice Academy CLE, Cary, NC
- Representing Clients Seeking DVPOS and No Contact Orders, NC Centtral University School of Law CLE, Durham, NC
- Child Custody and Domestic Violences, Law to the People Cle, Rlaeigh, NC
- Obtaining Civil Domestic Violence Protection Orders in NC with Professor Deria Hayes, Law to the People CLE, Durham, NC
- Chapter 50B and 50C, Family Violence & Rape Crisis Services of Chatham County Advocacy Training, Chatham County, NC
- Draftting Effective Court Orders, Law to the People CLE, Raleigh, NC
- DV Orders for Minors, Lunch and Learn for Legal Aid, Raleigh, NC
- Spousal Support Guidelines, JAM Family Law Conference, Hoi An, Vietnam
- Australian Family Law Conference
- Tort Claims in Family Law Cases, NC Annual Family Law Meeting, Charleston, SC
- NC Family Bar
- Every Sperm Is Sacred: Regulating Commerical Surrogacy, JAM Family Law Conference, Hoi An, Vietnam
- Australian Family Law
- Tort Claims in Family Law Cases, DUrham, NC
- Durham Family Bar
- Trauma Informed Legal Representation, Australian and Maltese Family Law Conference, Malta
- NC Family Law Specialist
- NC State Bar
- Averett Family Law Blog
- Melissa Averett Certified as Member of The Lawyers of Distinction
11 October 2019
- Chapel Hill Attorney Speaks at Family Law Conference in Malta
27 August 2019
- Can My Ex Take Our Child Out of the Country Without My Permission?
20 August 2019
- New Process Document Explains DVPO Cases Involving Minors
2 July 2019
- Marital Property vs. Separate Property
10 June 2019
- What is an Inventory Affidavit?
10 June 2019
- 2018 Averett Family Law visits Hoi An, Vietnam
23 September 2018
- N.C. Annual Family Law Conference in Charleston SC (May 2018)
12 August 2018
- Melissa Averett Recognized by the 2018 Super Lawyers
11 March 2018
- Q. My cousin is 28 and she has a 12 year old daughter that will be 13 years old this year. To myself and my other family
- A: No a 13 year old does not get to decide where she wants to live. Think about it... if that were the case she could live with a boyfriend. Getting guardianship, termination of parental rights and adoption or even custody of a child who has a biological parent requires proving to a court, by clear and convincing evidence, that mom, and bio dad, are both unfit to be parents. The standard for unfitness is very high and involves proving severe physical or sexual abuse of the child by a parent, or extreme incurable mental health issues on the part of the parent, or complete physical and financial abandonment of the child for at least 6 months, and a few other situations. The relevant statute is NCGS 7B-1111. Plus prove that you have a substantial relationship with the child, i.e. the child has lived with you or you have acted as a parent to the child. You need to discuss your options with a family law attorney local to where the child lives who has experience with third party custody cases.
- Q. Can a court order be issued for child support if mother is not US citizen and lives abroad with a US citizen child?
- A: Yes, but the proceedings need to be filed where he lives so it can be enforceable against him in his jurisdiction.
- Q. How does someone go about getting custody or visitation for their child that they haven’t seen in 2years?
- A: He needs to hire an experienced family law attorney in the jurisdiction where the child lives and take mom to court.
- Q. My friend's elderly mother is being abused by her husband. What type of attorney does she need? Thank you.
- A: She needs a family law/divorce attorney with experience in domestic violence issues, who practices in the county where she lives or where her husband lives.
- Q. what county are you required to file for custody of a child in nc
- A: The county where a case is filed is referred to as 'venue'. Venue is proper where the plaintiff, the defendant or the child lives, or where most of the evidence and witnesses are. But filing in a county does not have proper venue is not grounds to dismiss the case, it's just grounds to move the case to a county that has proper venue. So, you can file in any county, but if the other side objects, the court will move the case to a more appropriate county.
- Q. If me and my wife at the time agreed to leave the child. Who is 10yrs old my pension which cost me $900 a month. Now we
- A: No, sorry. Since you have no legal obligation to the support a child after your death, it cannot be considered child support.
- Q. Why was my court ordered child support and paternity test not enough for me to inherit from my dad in North Carolin?
- A: Because your father evidently did not file to legitimate you, and did not include you in a will. Establishing paternity and recognizing a child as a legitimate heir are two different legal processes. Filing an action to legitimate a child establishes paternity, but establishing paternity does not legitimate a child. Here is an article on the subject. https://civil.sog.unc.edu/legitimation-versus-paternity-whats-the-difference/
- Q. Why does CS hold my Children's Payments, one day the payments be on time, then the next they want get anything for weeks
- A: what do you mean by holding the payments? Are you saying that the father is paying on time and child support is not sending it to you? Child support of course can't send you money if he's not paying it to them.
- Q. where do i find the form that i need to fill out for change of venue for a closed custody case?
- A: There are no forms for that. But you may be able to find an attorney to draft it for you, and tell you how to file it with the court, serve it on the other party, schedule the hearing, and then conduct the hearing yourself. Or just hire an attorney to handle it for you.