You may have tried for months to prevent it. You could have watched it unfold slowly over the years. Or maybe you never saw it coming.

However and whenever it happens, divorce can feel like an earth-shattering life event. The impact is fast and far-reaching and often comes with some unexpected and unforeseen consequences.

In the midst of such an emotionally trying time, it can be quite difficult to focus on the practical matters at hand – child support, custody and the splitting of assets, among others.

The last thing you want to do as you begin to pick up the pieces is make rash decisions regarding your family or finances that can linger long after you have settled into your new life.

Instead, it’s best to turn to a legal professional, who can serve as your voice, your mediator, your strongest ally and most committed advocate when you need it most.

Attorney James W. Lea III, founder of The Lea Schultz Law Firm in Wilmington, has nearly four decades of experience assisting clients with the tough choices that follow even the most amicable of divorces.

As a local and national leader in his field, Jim helps guide individuals in the direction that best suits their situation and needs.

In many instances, what is needed – at least as a first step – is mediation, also referred to as structured negotiation. This alternative to traditional divorce negotiations and court disputes is conducted privately, allowing come to the table to actively reach more personalized agreements instead of letting the courts decide.

Although it may sound less daunting than going before a judge, it is still critical to have the right advisor by your side to ensure you remain in control of the negotiation, rather than the negotiation ending up in control of you.

Equipping yourself with a team that has the skills to fight for your rights and the talent to explain exactly how they are doing it is essential to a great outcome.

Jim and his team – Ryan Schultz and Paige Inman – can walk you through the often confusing procedures and rules and help prepare you for your mediation. They’re there to answer all of your questions and provide solutions tailored to what you are seeking out of the settlement.

They’ll review and analyze information from the opposing counsel, advise on proposed agreements and prepare your divorce papers once a final agreement is reached.

If you are facing a complex divorce – most often, one that involves high-end assets and properties – The Lea Schultz Law Firm is uniquely prepared to navigate finance, tax, real estate and lending laws, knowledge you won’t find at just any divorce firm.

Every divorce is different, but one factor remains true – your relationship with your lawyer can be one of the most important ones you make during what may be the most difficult time in your life.

Through his years of experience, Jim knows these strong relationships lead to more favorable outcomes, so his team at The Lea Schultz Law Firm keeps its caseload small to provide personal attention and build positive rapport.

Going through a divorce can often feel lonely, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the compassion and proven advice from attorneys at The Lea Schultz Law Firm, (910) 239-5990, to request an initial consultation or visit

Jim has been practicing law for 36 years. In 1996, after only 16 years of practicing law, he received an “A preeminent” rating from the country’s most respected lawyer rating service, Martindale Hubbell, an honor earned by only 10 percent of the country’s lawyers. Since that time he has been named a “Super Lawyer,” honored as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” and “preeminent lawyer,” all for over 10 years. He was recently inducted into “Lawyers of Distinction,” limited to the nation’s top 10 percent of lawyers. His firm has been named by US News and World Report as one of the nation’s top law firms for over five years.