Session Law 1998-202 §25 authorized the Administrative Office of the Courts to establish family courts on a pilot basis following the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission for the Future of Justice and the Courts in North Carolina, Without Favor, Denial or Delay
. In the fall of 1998, the initial task of developing a pilot model was assigned to a group of court officials and professionals acting as a steering/advisory committee to the Chief Justice and the Director of the NCAOC. Their goal was to draft operational guidelines based on the recommendations of the Futures Commission Report. The pilot family courts were intended to bring consistency, efficiency and fairness to the resolution of family matters and to positively impact caseloads in the district court division. In 2000, the Chief Justice created the Family Court Advisory Committee that advises the Chief Justice and the Director of the NCAOC on North Carolina's Family Court program model.
The three original family court pilot sites were District 14 (Durham County), District 20 (Anson, Richmond, Stanly, and Union Counties), and District 26 (Mecklenburg County). By 2001, North Carolina had added five more family court sites: District 12 (Cumberland County), District 6A (Halifax County), District 5 (New Hanover and Pender Counties), District 8 (Wayne, Lenoir and Greene Counties) and District 25 (Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties). In 2004, funds were allocated to implement family court in District 28 (Buncombe County), and in 2005, for implementation in District 10 (Wake County). District 20 split into District 20A (Anson, Stanly and Richmond Counties) and District 20B (Union County) in 2006. Family court was further expanded to District 3A (Pitt County) and District 19B (Montgomery, Moore and Randolph Counties) in 2007. As of 2009, the General Assembly has funded thirteen unified family court districts that serve twenty-two counties and 45% of North Carolina's population (US Census Bureau 2006 population estimates).