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. The state is taking me to court fot child support not the mother how is this or why and what can i do
- A: The state is probably taking you to court for child support because the mother is on public assistance. Under federal law, the state has to do that. So basically other than hiring an attorney to make sure the child support amount is not higher than it would be otherwise, there's nothing you can do to avoid supporting your child.
- Q. Where can I find a “answer to counterclaim” form online to print?
- A: It's called a reply and there is no form. Like the answer,you need to admit or deny each paragraph of the counterclaim..much like the answer you have received. Or hire an attorney.
- Q. I was placed on support two different times and both cases were dropped by her, can she open up another case?
- A: Ask for a DNA test, assuming you were not married to the child's mother. Yes, child support can be brought up at any time before the child's graduation from high school or age of 18, whichever is later.
- Q. I've been separated for 3 years and recently got a divorce. Can I remarry right away?
- A: When you say you "got a divorce," did you go to court, or have an attorney go to court for you to have a judge sign a divorce order? You are divorced as soon as a Judge signs the order saying you are divorced and it's filed with the clerk. If the divorce has been done correctly, you can get married immediately.
- Q. I want to contest the validity or enforcement of a "notice of regristration" what written request should I fill out?
- A: There are no forms for that. You need to hire a lawyer to draft the motion, which has to be based on the legal grounds that the Illinois order is invalid in Illinois, incorrect, or not the current order. So your NC lawyer would either need to consult with an Illinois lawyer (and get an opinion letter that the Illinois order is invalid) so the NC lawyer can then ask NC to not recognize it or you could hire a lawyer in Illinois to contest the underlying order there. In either event, its a short deadline of 20 days to contest the registration, so you need to act quickly.
- Q. Where can I find a request form for interrogatories and production of documents for North Carolina
- A: There is no form. Interrogatories and requests for production of documents are case specific, and subject to a wide variety of rules including the rules of evidence, civil procedure and case law. You should consult with an attorney before proceeding.
- 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.