North Carolina Unified Family Court is a therapeutic court with judges who specialize in the specific and significant issues involving families and juveniles. Unified Family Courts recognize the special stressors inherent to unique family situations result in enhanced complexity of family law cases causing them to crowd our district court dockets. Since it was established in 2006, 13 districts, serving 22 counties and 45% of the population in North Carolina have implemented the Unified Family Courts as it has been so successful in helping to clear dockets by efficiently moving family cases through the system. The result is cases passing through the United Family Court reach a resolution an average of 200 days faster than family cases processed in the District Courts without the Unified Family Court system. In fact, Unified Family Court is so efficient that our Chief District Court Judge, The Honorable Robert B. Rader, said of our state’s dwindling budget supporting therapeutic courts, “To eliminate Family court will be a tremendous, if not devastating, setback to the efficient operation of our civil courts.” When you take into consideration family matters comprise the second highest number of cases filed in North Carolina, topped only by traffic citations, the efficiency of these courts are of paramount importance.
Wake County comprises the 10th Judicial District, and was amongst the first in the state to implement Unified Family Court. Durham county, a part of the 14th Judicial District, also employs the Unified Family Court system. These specialized courts handle cases involving families and children, including both domestic and juvenile cases. Family law matters including domestic violence, child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, equitable distribution, and separation and divorce, as well as juvenile matters such as delinquency, child abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, and adoptions are all addressed in Unified Family Court.