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Suzanne Alicia Nelson

Family Attorney

4.0   12 reviews
  • Licensed for 21 years
    State NC
    Acquired 2002
    Suspended- Disciplinary No misconduct found

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

About Suzanne

Learn Suzanne’s areas of practice.

I am an experienced trial lawyer with nearly 20,000 hours logged in District and Superior courtrooms throughout North Carolina. I started my practice as a criminal lawyer and later expanded my practice to include civil matters. My current practice focuses primarily on family law matters in Wake and surrounding counties, but I also assist family law clients with wills and other estate planning documents. Any trial attorney worth their hourly fee will tell you that litigating every issue in a matter is a losing proposition because it is very costly and you no longer have control over the outcome. Therefore, I pride myself on negotiating strategically and creatively in mediation prior to litigation in an effort to resolve cases amicably and fairly before resorting to litigation. 


No contact information available for this lawyer


4.0 / 5.0
  12 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | October 23, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Divorce Client
I was referred to Suzanne by a mutual friend from our church. She drafted a separation agreement for my ex-husband and me. The draft agreement was back to us the same week. I just had to fill out a questionnaire and return it first. My husband opted not to hire an attorney. He did consult with an attorney and asked for some changes. Suzanne edited and we signed the agreement less than 3 1/2 weeks from the time I hired her. I was impressed with Suzanne’s attentiveness and professionalism.
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Posted by anonymous | October 16, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Single Father
Attorney Nelson got involved after the mother of my kids moved out of state and enrolled my kids in a school without my consent in a new state. There was a temporary order granting mom temporary custody, and I felt like the judge sided with mom and did not like dads. I hired This lawyer and she took the permanent custody to trial. After the trial in which I felt my attorney did a superb job, the judge gave me primary custody and ordered my kids to be returned to me as soon as school let out. She ordered them to Be enrolled in N.C. school where I live. I am now a proud single dad and the kids still visit their mom on holidays, which is fine. I would hire Ms. Nelson again if I ever needed anything.
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Posted by anonymous | October 7, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Referred to this lawyer by another attorney
Ms. Nelson was professional, knowledgeable, and great in mediation and also in the one hearing we had. She was clearly respected by the judge, the mediator, and the other attorney. My outcome was my ideal outcome and not the minimum I was willing to agree to. I paid all of my bills on time. Ms. Nelson did explain that she would contact me when she needed something in the case and frequent email and phone interactions would drive up the costs in the case. Whenever something happened or was needed in the case she or someone from her office would e-mail very specific instructions or set a phone appointment. She always let me know when there was something that needed to be done and always did what was required. I am not a client who needs a lot of constant contact and hand-holding. Her firm may not have been right for very needy clients who needed constant reassuring unless they were willing to pay her hourly rate.
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Posted by Julie | March 3, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Helping hand
She's a God send and a helping hand during a very difficult time. I can't imagine going through this process with anyone else. I'm very thankful for her expertise.
Response from Suzanne Nelson March 11, 2019
Julie, you are a great client, and I appreciate the opportunity to represent you!
Posted by Tom | February 13, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Why I like my lawyer
Suzanne's knowledge and professionalism helped me through a challenging period in my life. Divorce is not easy but having an attorney of Suzanne's caliber, coaching, guiding and reminding me in being fair made the hard decisions easier. Emotions can get in the way during a divorce but having the right counselor reminding you everything will work out is priceless. If you are thinking about divorce or just need some initial advice of what to expect if you move forward with your decision, I would highly recommend Suzanne and her firm.
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Response from Suzanne Nelson February 20, 2019
Thank you Tom, it is a pleasure to help you through this process.
Posted by Ari | January 30, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great attorney
Legitimized my son. In a quick and timely manner. Finally on the birth certificate. Also going thru w custody, things have gone better then planned. Overall great experience Suzanne is a great attorney.
Posted by anonymous | September 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Great Choice
Suzanne Nelson is a very capable and compassionate attorney who's able to see through the woods to get to the root of legal issues and provides wise counsel surrounding Family Law. She's also an experienced trial attorney and she really shined before the Court presenting my case to a satisfactory conclusion before a jury. One never wants to have to go to Court, but when I had to I was pleased that she represented me and effectively presented my case and interests.
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Posted by anonymous | September 13, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Suzanne Nelson BEST attorney in NORTH CAROLINA!!!
I went through a terrible divorce and if it wasn't for Suzanne Nelson, I don't know how I would have survived it. She is patient, professional, level headed, strategic, and she aggressively fights for her her client's best interest. I was in good hands with Suzanne Nelson; one of the best lawyers I've come across in NC!
Posted by Jeremy | February 15, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Child Custody Case
I hired Ms. Nelson to help me get custody of my daughter. Ms. Nelson fought hard for me and I got custody of my daughter. I was very happy with her services.
Posted by Thomas | October 16, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Tried to withdraw in middle of a hearing/ Disappointing experience
In Apr 2019, I hired Suzanne at the McIlveen Family Law Firm to represent me on my child custody case. I thought she was the right attorney to win me joint custody of my daughter, who I haven't seen in 5+ years. Her agenda consisted of a change of venue, deposing my ex-wife, getting a frivolous restraining order dismissed, and dismissing my motion to appoint a reunification therapist. She also talked about involving a child custody evaluator. All I wanted was for me to have my day in court (custody trial). She charged $6,500 to represent me on child custody/ restraining order dismissal. In June, she charged another $3,500 to represent me on change of venue/ dismissal of reunification therapy motion. She filed everything and set a hearing date for Aug 6. We had other matters pending for later this year. I asked why I was being charged so much ($10k) up front and she said she wanted to make sure there were enough funds for depositions and a child custody evaluator. I noticed she over billed me for some phone calls and other unknown charges. At the end of July, she asked for another $2,500 to appear at the hearing. I became suspicious of how the money was used, so I asked for an accounting of the charges in question, but to no avail. The opposing lawyer filed a motion to dismiss all of Suzanne's filings. At the hearing, the judge denied the change of venue motion and the depositions, but continued the hearing to Aug 23 to rule on whether to appoint reunification therapy. Much to my chagrin, Suzanne asked to withdraw from the case before the hearing was adjourned. The judge denied her request. After court, I asked why she asked to withdraw so early and she said she did so only for the change of venue motion (?). I asked how she was allocating my funds and her response was "That's none of your business." Disgruntled, I visited the law firm to complain about Suzanne's early withdrawal attempt. I also asked for an audit of all billed charges. The next day, she sent me an email saying she was withdrawing entirely from my custody case, even after the judge told her no. She emailed me her order to withdraw and demanded I sign it. I refused. I contacted the State Bar and a liaison tried to contact Suzanne but found out she quit working for the firm. Communication became poor and I was desperate to reach her. The opposing lawyer drafted an order with language that was false and erroneous. I had several objections but needed Suzanne to convey them to the court. She was unresponsive and, consequently, the judge signed the order, making my case even more complex. I hired a new lawyer but was previously turned down by 8 attorneys due to the amount of maintenance my case needed. I have filed a grievance against Suzanne to the State Bar.
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Response from Suzanne Nelson October 22, 2019
The firm I was with demanded I withdraw from your case and the Judge granted my motion. The remainder of your issues can be appropriately addressed with McIlveen Family Law Firm.
Posted by Yolanda | February 8, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Choose Another Attorney
In February of 2018, I entered into an agreement for representation in a custody matter with Ms. Suzanne Nelson and the now defunct Nelson Family Law Firm. The agreement was for legal guidance and representation at a hearing that was rescheduled from the previous year. During the time awaiting the hearing, I requested actions of resolution to conclude the case. Her uninvolved representation has not created any forward movement in my case. Over and over I have represented myself on legal matters without support from this attorney. She did not subpoena witnesses, gather any research outside of court, or advance the case in any way. I have no record of any actions taken on behalf of the case though I have made verbal and written requests for documentation. I tried to terminate this attorney with a written termination letter and she still appeared in court and only sat silently and watched the proceedings. The “wait and see what happens” approach has been the main course of action in my case. I have actually researched, downloaded legal paperwork, completed it, and done my own work on the case. I would like to point out, I am not a licensed attorney and I entered into this agreement in good faith thinking I would have an advocate who would work hard with me to bring this case to a close and that didn’t happen. The situation is the same as it was one year ago. My requests for a written cost of any action taken in this case have not been honored and this attorney has refused to return my retainer. I encourage you, if you are contemplating hiring this attorney. Choose someone else.
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Response from Suzanne Nelson February 8, 2019
I was hired to represent you for your custody case not the other matter you filed by yourself. I have no control over any case that you filed on your own without retaining me.
Posted by Dawn | January 17, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Yet another unethical attorney who cares more about making money than best interest of children
I hired Suzanne to handle a custody issue. At first she was very involved. She seemed to have an understanding that many attorneys dont have. We went to court and settled on a temporary order. After that she fought no longer... The opposing attorney is AWFUL and has a history of doing whatever she wants and interpreting words to suit her. Suzanne did nothing about this. She then stopped communicating completely. I am now in a worse situation then when I hired her and am completely broke. I have attempted unsuccessfully to reach her for months. So sad and so unfair.
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Response from Suzanne Nelson September 3, 2019
Dawn, Unfortunately attorneys do not all work for free. You did not fully retain me for a permanent custody hearing, only the temporary custody.
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  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.8 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • McIlveen Family Law
  • 2018 - 2019
  • Owner
  • Nelson Family Law
  • 2016 - 2018
  • Assistant Public Defender
  • Office Of The Public Defender
  • 2005 - 2015
  • Assistant Public Defender
  • Public Defender's Office Durham North Carolina
  • 2002 - 2015
View all work experience


  • North Carolina Central University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2002
  • University of North Carolina, Asheville
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1998

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Hicks v. Hicks
  • Client Won!
  • Jenicek v. Keaveny
  • Client Won!


  • Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Member
  • 2018 - Present
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2016 - Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • North Carolina Judicial Review Committee
  • Co-chair
  • 2017 - 2017
  • North Carolina Association for Women Attorneys
  • Member
  • 2015 - 2015
  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • Co-chair criminal law section
  • 2006 - 2015
  • Buncombe County Bar Association
  • Attorney Member
  • 2005 - 2015
  • Durham County Bar Association
  • Attorney Member
  • 2002 - 2005
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2019

Speaking Engagements

  • Conference for Attorney's in North Carolina
  • Divorce
  • 2017
  • Conference for Lawyers
  • Child Custody
  • 2016

Attorney endorsements

Received (13)
Given (26)
Endorse Suzanne
Litigation Attorney | Oct 26
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. I have worked on several cases with Ms. Nelson on the opposing side. Every time she was prepared, knowledgeable, and ready to provide her client with the best possible chance of winning. With her as your attorney you can feel comfortable knowing that she will put you in a position to be successful."
Family Attorney | Sep 28
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Suzanne is an experienced practitioner that demonstrates a high level of professionalism in the legal profession and is an effective advocate for her clients. I welcome the opportunity to work with her again on other matters in the future."
Family Attorney | Jan 29
Relationship: Co-worker
"Suzanne is a passionate advocate for her clients. She is extremely intelligent and is able to quickly plan efficient solutions to the legal matters that are presented to her. I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Nov 21
Relationship: Co-worker
"I fully endorse Suzanne Nelson. She is extremely knowledgeable about the law and works diligently to achieve positive outcomes for her clients."
Family Attorney | Nov 20
Relationship: Supervised lawyer
"Suzanne is a talented attorney. She is one of those people who works hard to get her clients great results. I highly recommend Suzanne to anyone who needs a great Raleigh Family Law Attorney."
Child custody Attorney | Sep 27
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer as experienced and knowledgeable."
Family Attorney | Sep 14
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. She is a hard-working and zealous advocate for her clients."
Family Attorney | Sep 12
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"A terrific advocate for her clients."
Unknown Attorney | Sep 12
Relationship: Supervised lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | May 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am impressed with Ms. Nelson's thoughtful advice and answers to legal questions on Avvo. She has an in-depth understanding of the law and an ability to communicate legal concepts clearly and effectively. I endorse this lawyer!"
Family Attorney | Apr 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have worked as opposing counsel in a case with Ms. Nelson. She was a zealous advocate for her client and professional in her work. I would recommend her to anyone needing help with a domestic issue."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 12
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer."
Child custody Attorney | Mar 25
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer."
View more endorsements