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Melissa J. Avery

Of Counsel

Melissa J. Avery has been practicing Family Law for over 25 years and has distinguished herself both locally and nationally as a premier family law attorney. Divorce and related family law matters have the potential to touch all areas of one’s life, including finances, parenting, and property. With so much at stake in any family law matter, it is crucial to choose a lawyer with the requisite experience, knowledge and legal skill to resolve your issues with the best possible outcome. Melissa has served a wide range of clients throughout central Indiana in matters involving dissolution of marriage, high net worth divorce, custody, visitation, child support, alimony, business valuation in divorce, property division, divorce and retirement benefits, adoption law, paternity, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She provides her clients with knowledgeable and compassionate advice. Melissa has the ability to discreetly resolve even the most complex cases involving businesses and other high-value assets and has been widely recognized for her family law accomplishments.

While litigation is the best course of action for achieving an outcome in the client’s best interest in many cases, Melissa is also well versed in means of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and the emerging practice of collaborative law. Resolving issues in such a manner can potentially reduce the financial and time commitment, as well as the emotional toll, for clients in divorce and other family law cases.

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Professional Associations and Distinctions

  • AV® Rated – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America (Family Law) 2015-Present
  • Family Law Certification Board – Certified Family Law Specialist
  • Named Indiana Super Lawyer, 2005-Present
  • Named as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Indiana, 2018-2019
  • Named as one of the Top 25 Female Lawyers in Indiana, 2007-2015; 2017-Present
  • Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders, 2007-Present
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 2005-Present
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • Fellow, 2006-Present
    • Admissions Committee, 2019-Present
    • National Test Committee, 2019-Present
    • Finance Committee, 2017-Present
    • Board of Governors, 2011-2017
    • CLE Committee 2016-2017
    • Program Chair, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 2011-2012
    • Impact of Special Needs Children Committee, 2013-2015
    • Legislation Committee, 2013
    • Membership Committee, 2014-2015
    • Webinar Committee, 2014-2015
  • International Academy of Family Lawyers
    • Fellow, 2011-Present
  • American Bar Association Family Law Section
    • Financial Officer Designee, 2019-2020
    • Chair, 2018-2019
    • Chair Elect, 2017
    • Vice Chair, 2016
    • Diversity Committee Co-Chair, 2016
    • Secretary, 2015
    • Strategic Planning Committee Chair, 2015
    • Co-Chair, Sponsorship Committee, 2014-2015
    • Continuing Legal Education Co-Chair, 2011-2014
    • Council Member, 2005-2014, 2016-Present
    • Finance Committee, 2010-2016
    • By-Laws Committee, 2013-2016
    • Chair, Marital Property Committee, 2007-2010
    • Chair, Long Range Planning Committee, 2010-2011
  • American Bar Association
    • House of Delegates, Indiana State Delegate, 2018-Present
    • Fellow, 2011-Present
  • Indiana State Bar Association
    • Chair, Family & Juvenile Law Section, 2011-2013
    • Board of Governors, 2009-2011
    • Fellow, 2002-Present
    • Co-Chair, Judicial Improvement Committee, 2002-2004
  • Indianapolis Bar Association
    • Bench Bar Planning Committee, 2017-2018
    • Director, Judicial Evaluation Political Evaluation Committee, 2011
    • Distinguished Senior Fellow, 2011-Present
    • Fellow, 2005-Present
    • Chair, Family Law Section, 2002
    • Delegate, Indiana State Bar Association House of Delegates, 2001-Present
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Marion County Family Law Rules Committee, 2000-2010
  • Sagamore American Inn of Court, 2001-2002

Bar Admissions

  • Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana


  • Ohio University, B.S., 1991
  • Capital University School of Law, J.D., 1994

Civic Organizations and Volunteerism

  • Eucharistic Minister, Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2013-Present
  • CASA-Child Advocates, 2015-Present
  • Vice Chair of Leadership Development, Early Learning, Indiana, 2012-2014
  • Director, Board of Directors, Early Learning, Indiana, 2011-2017
  • Official, USA Swimming, 2011-2015
  • Member, Strategic Planning Committee, Early Learning, 2011-2015
  • Member, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, Options Class X, 2010
  • Mentor, Indiana State Bar Association Mentor Match Program, 2008-2010
  • Preschool Religious Education Teacher, Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2006-2009

Seminars & Speaking Events

  • Speaker, “How to Prepare Witnesses for Direct and Cross Examination at Trial and How to Get Around the Hearsay Objection in Custody Cases”, West Virginia State Bar Association Family Law Seminar, 2019
  • Speaker, “How to Prepare Witnesses for Direct and Cross Examination at Trial and How to Get Around the Hearsay Objection in Custody Cases”, Iowa State Bar Association Family Law Seminar, 2018
  • Speaker, “CME for Family Mediators”, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, 2018
  • Speaker, “Public Access to Court Records”, Indianapolis Bench Bar Conference, 2018
  • Producer, “Family Law: Custoday Evaluation Essentials”, Indianapolis Bench Bar Conference, 2018
  • Speaker, “Family Law Advanced Round Table”, Indianapolis Bar Association, 2018
  • Speaker, “Family Law Institute”, ICLEF, 2017
  • Speaker, “Hot Tips in Custody and Parenting Time Cases”, ABA Family Law Section, Spring Meeting, 2015
  • Speaker, “Hey 19!  How Changes to the Emancipation Age Will Effect Child Support In Indiana”, ISBA Family Law Section, 2012
  • Author, “A View From the Chair” Family Matters, Newsletter of the Indiana State Bar Association Family & Juvenile Law Section, June 2012
  • Fact Checker, “Family Law in the Fifty States 2010-2011”, Family Law Quarterly, Winter 2012
  • Speaker, “Not With My Stuff, Hot Issues With The Modern Family”, IBA Bench Bar Conference, 2012
  • Producer, “Same Sex Marriage in North America- A Look At Where We Are Eight Years On”, ABA Annual Meeting, 2011
  • Speaker, “Developing Skills in the Practice of Law”, ICLEF, 2011
  • Producer, “Making a List and Checking it Twice, It’s not Just for Santa Clause”, ABA Family Law Section Fall Meeting, 2010
  • Speaker, “Do You Have What it Takes – Family Law Practice”, AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference, 2010
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in Family Law”, AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference, 2010
  • Author, “The Marital Residence and Other Black Holes: Dealing with Real Estate in Divorce”, Res Gestae, October 2009
  • Producer, “Divorce: Taking the “Family” Out of the Family Business”, ABA Family Law Section Fall Meeting, 2009
  • Speaker, “Machiavellian Negotiation and Mediation Techniques”, AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference, 2009
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in Family Law”, AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference, 2009
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