What is Family Court?
The first Family Court sites were established in North Carolina in 1999. In fact, Durham was one of the first three courts to test the idea. Family Court is an extension of the District Court Judges’ Office. With Family Court, judges and staff focus on enacting procedures and local rules to help create a user-friendly court system that avoids delay. Family Court staff works to put court and community resources together, to help coordinate your case through the legal process. Your family, the people with whom you will have a life-long relationship, is the focus of this court. Family Court brings a new way of doing business to your Court. Some key features are listed below:
Who are the staff members of Family Court?
- One judge assigned to one family;
- More opportunities to resolve conflicts before trial;
- Solve problems in less time;
- Courteous and knowledgeable staff;
- Court services designed to meet your needs;
- Information and connections to community resources;
- Stronger support in finding your own resources.
See "Staff for Family Court"
page for more detailed staff information.
What Do I Need to Know?
Why is Family Court Helpful?
- The Durham Family Court Office is located on the sixth floor of the Durham County Courthouse, which is at 510 South Dillard Street, Durham, NC 27701.
- The Family Court Office is open from 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. Monday through Friday.
- When filing a new domestic case (such as divorce, custody or equitable distribution), arrive before 4:30pm to ensure enough time to process the paperwork.
- You will be assigned a Case Coordinator based on your assigned judge. Your assigned Case Coordinator will be your Family Court contact person for questions about your case.
- As Judicial Branch employees, Family Court staff members are not allowed to give legal advice, but they can help you locate legal services or give information about our Family Court Rules.
- Family Court staff members cannot interpret court orders or help you fill out court forms.
- Family Court staff members cannot give messages or information to the judge assigned to your case.
- The only cost to use Family Court services is the cost of filing your case.
- Family Court provides that your family will have one person, your Case Coordinator, who will help you navigate the system.
- Your Case Coordinator will coordinate court events in an effort to reduce the number of times you must come to court to resolve your issues.
- Your Case Coordinator will also make sure that your case is moving from event to event in a timely way.
- While you will always be able to have your "day in court", your Case Coordinator will work with you and your attorney to give you every opportunity to use other forms of resolving problems, such as mediation.
- Your Case Coordinator will be able to assist you with referrals to services within the community that may also be of help to you.