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Janet L. Gemmell

Family Attorney at Wilmington, NC

5.0   11 reviews

also known as Cape Fear, Family Law

  • State Years
    Florida - FL 8 years
    North Carolina - NC 24 years
  • Licensed for 8 years
    State FL
    Acquired 2016
    Member in Good Standing No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 24 years
    State NC
    Acquired 1999
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Janet

Learn Janet’s areas of practice.

Practice area

Trying to describe family law attorney Janet L. Gemmell in words is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. She is constantly on the go with cell phone in hand, but her fierce attention to detail and organization keeps her focused on the tasks at hand. Handling complex divorce cases is her passion and the focus of her practice. She works on child custody issues, relocation matters, equitable distribution (or in other words division) of property, and alimony and spousal support representing both Husbands and Wives in divorce proceedings.

In an area of the law that can involve raw emotions and intense conflict, Janet maintains a high level of professionalism and an unwavering focus on the best interests of her clients. She is driven to help her clients see the light at the end of the tunnel and create new relationships out of broken dreams.

After speaking with Janet, it is clear why clients throughout North Carolina seek her out for guidance and why opposing counsel refer to her as a “lioness.” She is highly intuitive, intelligent, hard-working, and tenacious with a capital “T.” At the same time, she conveys a genuine sense of compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, and whenever possible, humor.

At home, Janet enjoys her family–her husband, a four-dog posse, and her teenage step-daughter, an accomplished equestrian. Horse competitions happily fill her weekends, but she still loves travel and adventure, like the time she learned to surf in Hawaii, or the time she was stung by a sting ray and learned the best way to treat it was with scalding hot water. Janet once found excitement in Jamaica by jumping off a three-story cliff into the ocean. She probably smiled her infectious smile through it all.

Focusing on Positive Outcomes, Not Billable Hours

Keeping with Janet’s own style and her belief that all individuals going through the challenges of divorce should have access to quality, effective representation without unduly burdensome costs, Cape Fear Family Law adopted a different approach to fees. Rather than bill clients by the hour, Janet decided her firm would charge clients a flat rate.  This different style of charging fees allows the attorneys to focus on doing the best possible job and obtaining positive outcomes for the firm’s clients rather than focusing on billable hours. Other attorneys in the market have since jumped on the bandwagon to charge flat fees.

A Family Law Specialist 

After graduating cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a B.A. in just under three years and earning her law degree from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, Janet began her professional law career with the Law Offices of Timothy C. Morris.  Next she practiced with large scale tobacco litigation with the firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem. She then joined the prestigious Rosen Law Firm the day before 9/11 in 2001. In 2007, Janet opened her own practice, Cape Fear Family Law, which continues to grow with hand-selected attorneys, paralegals, and assistants. In addition to being admitted to practice in North Carolina, she recently passed the bar exam in Florida.

Janet is one of only three Board Certified Family Law Specialists in the Tri-County area, which means she is certified by the State Bar for her special knowledge, skill and proficiency in family law. A lifelong learner, Janet likes to share her knowledge and insights at Continuing Legal Education conferences, free seminars for residents and in local schools.

Always in a hurry to get things done, Janet graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in three years.

Somehow Janet managed to find time during those three years to participate in the North Carolina Student Legislature.  When one of her bills was passed in the real North Carolina Legislature, however, there was nothing “student” about it!

Janet was selected in 1999 as one of a three person team to represent Campbell University School of Law at the National Christian Legal Society would you like an internship where you watch the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne jump out of planes at Fort Bragg?  Janet did exactly this.  She also interned in a highly selective program in the United States District Attorney’s Office.  How’s that for diverse?

Janet went the the prestigious Rosen Law Firm from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem, and started to immediately contribute articles on divorce law to local publications, as well as the Rosen Law Firm website. In addition to relocating to her husband’s hometown of Wilmington (where she also gets to enjoy the beach and replay fond memories from college at UNCW), Janet continues to remember her time with the Rosen Law Firm and enjoys the great atmosphere their firm provides.

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Cape Fear Family Law
3807 Peachtree Ave
Suite 103
Wilmington, NC, 28403-6724

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5.0 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Heather | March 9, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Awesome Group
I had a very difficult case considering the father was not willing to negotiate anything. Janet and Waneta jumped right in and did what they do. I’m a very angry person due to the situation and they were able to keep me focused on the big picture. The ladies in this office are the bomb and I would hire them again in a skinny minute.
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Posted by anonymous | December 3, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding attorney
Janet and her team did a wonderful job with my case. Every issue and question was addressed and handled both quickly and thoroughly. She went above and beyond to keep me informed with the latest information regarding my case and was extremely helpful and prepared for my hearing. My wife and I were able to get full custody of my daughter and all of the provisions asked for in my court order were granted. Janet goes above and beyond for all of her clients and made sure that I knew my case and outcome was important to her. Janet and her team were hands down the best and most professional attorneys I have worked with and I highly recommend them to anyone who is going through a divorce, domestic issue, or any other civil issues.
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Posted by Shirley | October 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
If you are in need of a honest, hard-working, dependable, trustworthy, and diligent attorney , look no further. I had to make the hardest decision a parent will have to make and she listened attentively, and heard what I fought not to say, and provided exactly what I needed. She is simply an amazing attorney that has the heart for God's people. Thank you once again for being there in such a time of need!!!!!
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Posted by Christene | September 14, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Bull dogs
I honestly want to thank you and Amy Bender for being my courage and strength when I had none and fighting for me when I thought all was lost. Because of that, I was able to heal without worry and gain my strength, courage, determination, and independence back. Although they couldnt fight all my battles for me, I could still feel the love and support. They truly have become family. I wouldn't recomend anyone else to storm in like bull dogs and fight for what is right. Thank you for giving me my life back. The Lord gave yall this gift for a reason.
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Response from Janet Gemmell September 19, 2017
Wow Christene - first, I love the reference to bulldogs! Next, you have grown so much through this process and I am so very proud of you! I heard about your recent success and you should be gratified with your own choices and win! Blessings and hope for your future!
Posted by Chris | September 12, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thorough and well-done by Janet Gemmell
Thank you again for everything. I know I have colored outside the recommended lines and have not done the best job of following good advice to the letter. However, I must say the team there at Cape Fear Family Law is terrific. From the time I first met Janet I felt a high level of confidence in her ability. Janet projects competence. Since then – now two plus years later – I have experienced the benefit of Janet handling my case and the oddities that went with it. I am thoroughly impressed with Janet as I believe she is extremely capable in every way. I appreciate the great job and effort put forth by Janet, you and entire team at CFFL.
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Response from Janet Gemmell September 19, 2017
Thanks Chris for the review! Never fear - your coloring (in and outside of the lines) only made it more fun! The anxiety attacks you gave me were minor - only joking!!! You were a great client and we appreciate you!
Posted by Jean | September 1, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Solid Representation
Janet has represented me going on 2 years for custody, visitation, child support, and domestic violence issues. This has been a stressful and emotional time working through these things on a legal and personal level. Janet was there every step of the way to guide, advise and represent me. Janet and her support staff are all highly competent, professional, efficient and available whenever needed. I highly recommend Janet Gemmell as a Family Law attorney.
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Response from Janet Gemmell September 10, 2017
I love hearing that it is not just me, but my support staff that helped you (and will continue until the conflict is FINALLY over)! Keep smiling and know you have a bright future. Thanks for the recommendation!
Posted by Antoinette | September 1, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wonderful Attorney
Janet is currently working with me on issues with my separation and what will eventually become my divorce. She is straightforward and to the point, but always fair and always considering what is in the best interest of her clients. She was recommended to me by my counselor, and I am so glad I followed his advice in hiring her.
Response from Janet Gemmell September 10, 2017
Thanks so much for the great review! I appreciate the kind comments and enjoy working with great clients like you!
Posted by Tom | July 25, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Representation!
Janet represented me several years ago in a divorce case and recently provided consultation to issues related to the same case. She has always been a straight shooter; represented my interests; kept the needs of the dependent children a priority; and always provided me with candid advice. She is very well versed with updated statutes and will help negotiate a fair agreement. She receives my highest recommendation!
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Posted by Susan | November 15, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Awesome Assistance
I spoke with Janet and her team to address a guardianship concern we had for my mother. Janet and her team were helpful, clear and guided us through the steps we would need to take. They even explained the options we had that did not involve using their services. We would highly recommend her for family law matters.
Posted by Lee | November 14, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Complex Custody Battle
We hired Janet to fight a complex custody battle, involving my niece and nephew. From the beginning, Janet told us how hard this case would be but that she believed in our fight. She often warned and prepared us to be disappointed because of the case complexity and the tough Judge we were assigned. When the trial date arrived, Janet was prepared and did a brilliant job. Her closing argument was moving and impressive. Somehow, Janet pulled it off and we won this case and we were all amazed even though we know the correct verdict was given. The Judge commended Janet at least twice on her work during the various proceedings and in the end he said this case was in the top three most complex and difficult cases of his career as an attorney, prosecutor, or judge. To win that kind of case speaks volumes about Janet. She was caring and concerned about all members of my family, as well as being an exceptional lawyer! I would highly recommend her to anyone.
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Posted by Linda | February 1, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional and gets results
My husband and I hired Janet Gemmel in a very complicated custody battle regarding our grandson with special needs . She was very professional compassionate and knowledgeable and was able to walk us thru this process with confidence ! I would rate her as a excellent attorney for family law and would recommend her to others knowing that she could represent them well!!
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  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.4 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Cape Fear Family Law Center
  • 2007 - Present
  • Associate
  • Rosen Law Firm
  • 2001 - 2007
  • Associate
  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
  • 2000 - 2001
  • Associate
  • Law Offices of Timothy C. Morris
  • 1999 - 2000
View all work experience


  • Campbell University
  • Doctor of Law (J.D.)
  • 1999
  • University of North Carolina At Wilmington
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • 1996

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Burger v. Smith (776 S.E. 2d 886 - NC App., 2015)
  • The court found him to be a fit father and granted him unsupervised joint custody on all holidays each year, summer, and he could visit in NC, Canada, or Africa!


  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2010 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2017
  • Board Certified Specialist - Family Law
  • North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • 2013

Speaking Engagements

View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (7)
Given (17)
Endorse Janet
Family Attorney | Sep 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. We have worked as co-counsel on a difficult same-sex custody and grandparent rights case and have been opposing counsel in a myriad of cases in and out of the courtroom. Janet is honest, forth-coming, responsive, ethical, responsible, intelligent, compassionate and runs a cost-effective law practice. Janet educates and empowers her clients to make decisions based on legal advice and does not force their decisions. Good and frank communication assists her with solving legal problems to create results."
Family Attorney | Sep 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Sep 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Janet is an outstanding addition to the legal community. She is well versed in her field, a zealous advocate for her clients and a formidable opponent. Janet is an honorable attorney that I enjoy working with."
Family Attorney | Sep 19
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Janet is a top-notch family law attorney. Her courtroom skills are some of the best I've ever seen. She is effortlessly clever and never misses a beat. Her experience and knowledge in this area of law makes her the colleague to whom we ask the hardest questions. She has a unique way of solving problems that helps her clients achieve the best outcome in the end. Just meeting with Janet will make you feel like you've really got a star on your side and you'll be so much more confident about your case."
Family Attorney | Sep 19
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Janet's legal mind is second to none. She puts intense thought and effort into all of her cases because she understands what is on the line. She is very professional and works hard to make sure she is always at the cutting edge of her field of law. I highly endorse her for all things family law related."
Family Attorney | Jun 16
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Janet is a very groovy lady. She works hard for her clients and concerns herself with their entire matter. She is reasonable while still being a zealous advocate and knows the law very well."
Family Attorney | May 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Janet is a fierce advocate for her clients.  I have witnessed many cases where she has zealously defended her clients position and taken the opposing side to task.  She truly is a specialist in her field. I would highly recommend Janet Gemmell and her firm for any family law related matter."
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