Family court litigants frequently interact with one or more of the following local offices, programs, or services:
Access & Visitation Program
The Access and Visitation Program is a resource for non-custodial parents to seek access to and visitation with their children. There are five access and visitation coordinators in six judicial districts that work directly with non-custodial parents who want to have visitation with their children but have limited or no contact with them. The coordinators assist non-custodial parents to support and facilitate the non-custodial parents' access to their children. The coordinators accomplish this by making referrals, offering assistance with mediation services (private or through the court via the Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program), counseling, parent education and visitation enforcement services, or what is commonly referred to as supervised visitation. Learn more about this statewide program.
Child Support Enforcement
Child Support Enforcement (CSE) works to ensure that both parents are responsible for the financial support of their children to the best of their ability. CSE may be able to assist you with your child support claims. Contact CSE directly to learn more. See also Child Support Resources.
The Custody Mediation Program provides an alternative method to resolve disputes involving custody and visitation. During mediation, parties engage in conversation with each other and a professionally-trained impartial third party to attempt to reach a Parenting Agreement. Unless good cause is shown, mediation is mandatory for all custody and visitation matters. Learn more about this statewide program.
Department of Social Services (DSS)
Preparation for employment, Work First and independent living skills to youth in foster care, homeless or parenting youth, pregnancy or parenting youth, domestic violence, if it relates to child abuse, neglect or dependency, financial assistance child protective services, emergency assistance, food stamps, daycare assistance, Medicaid, counseling, mentoring for foster care, job shadowing and unpaid work experience.
Durham County Clerk’s Office
The Durham County Clerk’s Office handles all legal filings. It is also the official record-keeper. The clerk’s office can provide litigants with copies of documents from court files and/or hearing transcripts..
Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
The Durham County Guardian Ad Litem Program provides trained independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system and to work towards a plan that ensures that these children are in a safe permanent home. Learn more about this statewide program.
Family Financial Settlement (FFS)
The Family Financial Settlement mediation program is a mandatory alternative dispute resolution program designed to resolve property and financial issues between parties without a trial in court.
Parent education class focuses on the impact of a custody dispute on the children and provides tips to help parents communicate with and help their children through the process. Family court staff conducts a one-hour parent education overview in conjunction with the court-scheduled custody mediation orientation.
A parenting coordinator is a court-appointed, licensed professional with special training, such as an attorney, psychologist or social worker, who may be appointed in certain circumstances to work with parents involved in a custody dispute. By helping parents work together to carry out their custody and visitation plan, conflict between parents can be reduced. The Family Court Administrator keeps a list of local parenting coordinators.