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James W. Lea III

James W. Lea III

Wilmington, North Carolina
877-867-5053 (Toll Free)

James W. Lea III, Lea, practices exclusively in the area of family law and has done so for most of his over 30 year career in law. Mr. Lea has served on the North Carolina Bar Association Family Council, a selected group of family lawyers that sets policy and recommends changes to family law on behalf of the North Carolina Bar Association. He was selected to serve on the North Carolina Bar Association Committee on Mediation and Arbitration in family law cases and has spoken at numerous seminars sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association on issues relating to family law. Mr. Lea has been included in the Martindale Hubbells (the National Lawyers Rating Service) Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America.

Mr. Lea has extensive experience in the practice of family law, having handled all aspects of this area of the law, including but not limited to, child custody and child support, post separation support and alimony, equitable distribution and termination of parental rights. Mr. Lea has gained extensive knowledge in the intricacies of equitable distribution, including but not limited to the valuation of small closely held corporations, division and evaluation of pensions and other complex property issues that arise in family law litigation. He has handled cases involving millions of dollars worth of assets as well as dealing with the difficult emotional issues that are inevitable in marital break-ups.

Mr. Lea has an experienced and extremely talented legal staff that have been with him for many years and have also gained extensive knowledge in dealing with family law issues. His staff includes Kathy Bodge, Candy Peterson and Donna Bateman, experienced paralegals in the area of family law. All of his staff members have assigned duties in processing a domestic case and have gained extensive knowledge in their areas of expertise. The firm prides itself on the organizational aspects of processing family law cases but takes more pride in the sensitivity, care and compassion in which we handle extremely difficult period of time for our clients. We like our clients to feel as if they are with a second family during this emotionally difficult time and do everything possible to quickly and promptly meet the needs and concerns of our individual clients.

Mr. Lea has been married for twenty-five years, has one son, and has been extensively involved in the Wilmington community. He has served as President of the New Hanover County Bar Association, on the Board of Trustees for Cape Fear Community College, is a Past Chairman of the New Hanover County Democratic Party, and has served on boards of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, YMCA and Residents of Old Wilmington as well as numerous other community activities. He is a well known and respected member, not only of the legal community, but the community as a whole in Wilmington.

Areas of Practice

  • Child Support
  • Custody & Visitation
  • Divorce
  • Domestic and Family Law
  • Class Actions/Complex Civil Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1980
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina, 1981
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit


  • Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Buies Creek, North Carolina
    • J.D. - 1980
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • B.A. - 1976
    • Honors: Honor Roll
    • Major: Psychology

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • New Hanover County Bar Association, Secretary-Treasurer
  • New Hanover County Bar Association, President Elect, 1991
  • New Hanover County Bar Association, President, 1992
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Family Law Council, Member
  • North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Member, Political Action Committee, 1987 - 1988
  • National Academy of Trial Lawyers
US News Best Lawyers BEST LAW FIRMS 2013 Super Lawyers James W.Lea, III | AV Click to Play | AV Preeminent | Martindale-Hubbell | Lawyer Ratings Client Distinction Award | James W.Lea, Esq. | 2013
Awards, Honors and Recognition
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