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   County / Durham / Courts / Family Court / Court Process  Print  Court Picture
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Court Process
North Carolina has a unified court system, which means that the same laws apply in each county even though each district operates under their own local rules. Many districts have also adopted their own local forms. Below is the legal definition of each court issue:
Absolute Divorce
Alimony & Post Separation Support
Child Custody/Visitation
Modification of Custody/Visitation
Child Support
Modification of Child Support
Contempt
Juvenile Abuse Neglect & Dependency Cases

Absolute Divorce
The legal separation of man and wife, achieved by the judgment or decree of a court, and either totally dissolving the marriage relation, or suspending its effects so far as concerns the cohabitation of the parties. Read the effects of an absolute divorce in N.C.G.S. 50-11.
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Alimony & Post Separation Support ("PSS")
Allowances which husband or wife by court order pays other spouse for maintenance while they are separated, or after they are divorced (permanent alimony), or temporarily, pending a suit for divorce. Generally, it is restricted to money unless otherwise authorized by statute.
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Child Custody/Visitation
The care, control and maintenance of a child which may be awarded by a court to one of the parents as in a divorce or separation proceeding.
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Modification of Custody/Visitation
Changes to the initial or previously court-ordered arrangements for child custody and visitation.
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Child Support
The legal obligation of parents to contribute to the economic maintenance, including education, of their children. Enforceable in both civil and criminal contexts. In a dissolution or custody action, money paid by one parent to another toward the expenses of children of the marriage.
See also Child Support Resources.
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Modification of Child Support
Changes to the initial or previously court-ordered arrangements for child support.
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Contempt ("Show Cause")
The judicial hearing or trial conducted to determine whether one has been in contempt of court (willfully disobeys lawful orders or fails to comply with an undertaking given by the court) and to make an appropriate decision.
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Equitable Distribution (ED) & Interim Distribution
Fairly dividing upon divorce all property legally and beneficially acquired during marriage by husband and wife, or either of them, whether legal title lies in their joint or individual names.
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Juvenile Abuse, Neglect & Dependency ("AND") Cases
When the Department of Social Services (DSS) files a petition alleging abuse, neglect or dependency of a child, these cases are heard in a special juvenile court.
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