About Us

Shelby Duffy Benton
NC State Bar Certified Specialist in Family Law

Shelby Duffy Benton


Mrs. Benton is a 1982 graduate of NCSU with a degree in Political Science/Criminal Justice and a 1985 graduate of Campbell University School of Law. She has practiced in Wayne County, NC since 1985. From 1985 to 1995 she practiced Criminal and Family Law. In 1995 she became certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the NC State Bar and has remained so certified since that time. Since 1995 she has focused her practice on Family Law. She is also certified as a Family and Financial Mediator.

Professional Activities

Mrs. Benton is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars for fellow attorneys in the family law field. In the past, she has served as the President of the Wayne County Bar Association and the Eighth Judicial District Bar Association. She is a member of the Eighth Judicial District Family Court Advisory Board. She served as the Chair of the Family Law Council for the NC Bar Association for the 2009-2010 year. She is currently serving a three-year term on the NC Bar Association’s Board of Governors (2010-2013). She is the State Bar Counselor for the 8th Judicial District and serves on the State Bar Ethics Committee.

Professional Honors

Mrs. Benton has been rated for the past 17 years with an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell (1996-2013). She has been listed in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 North Carolina Super Lawyers. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Top 50 Woman Lawyers in NC by North Carolina Super Lawyers. Business North Carolina Magazine named her among the Legal Elite in North Carolina in Family Law in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Best Lawyers in America have included her for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for the specialty of family law. In 2012, she was recognized by the NC Bar Association for her service to her community and the legal profession with a Citizen Lawyer Award. NC Lawyers Weekly honored her with a 2012 Women of Justice Award. In 2013, Best Lawyers have named her the Best Lawyer for the Raleigh Region in Family Law. Benton Family Law is priveledged to have such an accomplished attorney to lead the firm.

Community Activities

In addition to being active at the state and local levels in the family law field Mrs. Benton has been active in her local community. She has served on a number of boards and advisory committees concerning public education over the past 15 years. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army. She is an active member and Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro. She co-chairs Teens and Attorneys Partnership for Success of Wayne County (TAPS-WC) which is a partnership between Communities In Schools, the Wayne County Public Schools and the Wayne County Bar Association. TAPS-WC has just completed the 2013 High School Mock Trial Competition during which 6 County High Schools (60 students) and 25 attorneys worked together to educate students about the court system.

  • Domestic Law
  • Counselor of Law
  • NC State Bar Certified Specialist in Family Law


Annette Phelps
NC State Bar Certified Paralegal

Annette L. Phelps

Benton Family Law is complemented by a dedicated staff. Annette Phelps has served as Mrs. Benton’s paralegal for twenty-eight years. She has over thirty years experience in the legal field and is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with an Associates Degree in Business Administration. Ms. Phelps is currently a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and serves that association by being on the council of the Paralegal Division and is a Law Management Section Liaison for the Paralegal Division. She is active in her community through supporting various local organizations that include the County Animal Response Team and the Wayne County Humane Society. Ms. Phelps will be the one working closely with clients while their case is actively pending.


  • Domestic Law
  • NC State Bar Certified Paralegal


Stephanie Crawford
Legal Assistant

Stephanie D. Crawford

Stephanie Crawford acts as Benton Family Law’s receptionist and legal assistant and has over thirteen years experience with the firm. She is usually the first person you talk to when you call or visit our office. Mrs. Crawford is very active in her church and participates in a signing team with her church that also performs signing songs at various other churches throughout her community. We are a very close working group and feel this complements our abilities to make clients feel at ease.


  • Legal Assistant
Copyright © 2013 Benton Family Law