Author, attorney, and small business owner Ashley-Nicole Russell was honored as the 2017 Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce during a ceremony on May 1, 2018.

Russell, owner of AN|R Law: A Negotiated Resolution, was recognized for her entrepreneurship and passion for collaborative family law. As a child of divorce, divorcee, and divorce attorney she uses this out-of-court settlement method as a way to help others divorce in a healthy manner. Collaborative law is an alternative dispute resolution that aims to keep families out of the court system. Russell believes that the divorce experience can be much smoother when handled through collaboration rather than litigation. Collaborative Law is also known to be a healthier option for children involved in their parents’ separation and divorce cases.

“Everything within your life is decided when there’s a divorce. Because of that, it’s very important for there to be integrity, compassion and understanding in that area of law. We want to bring our clients from an environment of complete turmoil to a place of peace and help them move forward with their lives and be there for their children at a time when they need them. It’s a beautiful process.” – Ashley-Nicole Russell, Esq.

Russell was the first collaborative divorce attorney in the Greenville area. Since she opened her law firm in 2011 in Uptown Greenville, she’s added additional locations in Raleigh and Beaufort. Due to her efforts in helping hundreds of Eastern North Carolinians divorce in a healthy manner, she is credited with bettering the divorce process in the region. The Greenville – Pitt County Chamber of Commerce noted that one of the reasons she won the Small Business Leader award was because her clients are happy and healthy contributing members of society.

“My clients are not locked in their own mind with fear and stress of a litigious court battle that literally have no end date. Custody battles can go on for ten years, sometimes even longer. If they choose collaborative, they’re not missing work for court dates and they’re not receiving subpoenas for thousands of pages of documents.” – Ashley-Nicole Russell, Esq.

As Russell wrote in her book, The Cure for Divorce Culture, the goal with collaborative law is to keep America productive. The book exposes the myths and stereotypes behind divorce culture and illuminates the cure to incite transformation. Since Russell was named as the 2017 Small Business Leader of the Year, she has made additional strides in her mission to change the way divorce is handled nationwide. Through her book, her podcast, Divorce, Healthy! with Ashley-Nicole Russell, and her social media platforms (@ANRLaw) she is spreading awareness about collaborative divorce and how this method can help families divorce in a better and healthier way. Her message is reaching millions across America and around the world. She’s also a founding member of the North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network which connects people across the state with collaborative law attorneys. Russell is honored that her work and research on divorce culture has been recognized by business leaders and community members in eastern North Carolina.