D. Melissa Averett
Certified NC Family Law Specialist
Melissa Averett has been practicing as a family law attorney in Orange and Chatham Counties since 1998. She has earned a reputation for fighting passionately to protect her clients’ rights, while at the same time working to keep their costs reasonable.
Guiding clients through some of the most traumatic chapters in their life, a divorce, custody battle or probate after the death of a loved one, is a position of intimacy and trust. It’s an honor to be chosen for that role.”
Melissa is currently the only Family Law Specialist primarily practicing in Chatham County. Melissa has conducted workshops, continuing legal education seminars, and given talks on family law related topics. She is also qualified to testify as an expert witness on the subject of domestic violence.
Melissa received her undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1986 and worked several years as a 911 telecommunicator before deciding to become a family law attorney. She attended the NCCU School of Law Evening Program, starting Averett Law Offices (now Averett Family Law) after she graduated.
In 2000, Melissa founded the non-profit law firm Domestic Violence Civil Legal Services, Inc. (DVC), and served as its director. Over the course of DVC’s 8-year history, Melissa represented several thousand indigent domestic violence victims in family law cases. She has a passion for helping victims get monetary damages from their abusers in civil court and is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.
When she’s not at work, Melissa can be found crocheting, weaving on her floor loom, and trying to keep the cats from covering all her yarn and crafts in fur, usually unsuccessfully.
Justin P. Nichols
Attorney Justin Nichols practices family, personal injury, and criminal law in Chatham, Orange, Durham, and Wake Counties. He joined Averett Family Law in 2012, after practicing in the fields of personal injury defense, workers’ compensation, and complex construction litigation.
Justin has extensive experience in the courtroom litigating cases, as well as helping clients negotiate out-of-court settlements. He has handled cases before state administrative agencies, the state superior and district courts, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the federal district court.
Justin graduated cum laude from Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, and received a B.A. in Legal Studies from the State University of New York. He has been admitted to practice in the North Carolina state courts, and in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Justin is also a member of the District 15B Bar Association, and the North Carolina Bar Association.
Alex French, the newest member of the Averett Family Law Team, joined the firm in early 2018 as an associate in the firm’s family law and probate practices. As a father, former educator, and child of divorced parents Alex understands the complexities involved in important life transitions. You can trust Alex to understand your perspective and your case and be a zealous advocate for your interests and your values.
As an attorney, intern, and student Alex has experience with a wide variety of family law matters ranging from same-sex divorce and breach of contract cases to pro-bono domestic violence and custody cases. Alex has previously represented clients in drafting surrogacy agreements, complex property distribution cases, same sex divorce, as well as child custody, child support, equitable distribution, alimony and divorce.
Alex grew up in Winston-Salem and is a triple tarheel. He taught high school in Durham and Winston-Salem. He won the Chancellor’s Merit Award upon applying to the UNC School of Law. In his second year he acquired a passion for family law and spent his third year working for the UNC Domestic and Sexual violence clinic.
On the weekends you can find Alex reading and spending time with his family. Alex, a devoted father of two, is also an avid hiker and skeet shooter and loves to drag his family on day hikes when the weather is nice.