Unified Family Court judges do not rotate or combine their caseloads with other types of civil and criminal cases. They only hear family cases. Because family court judicial appointments are static and not rotating in nature, your family will benefit from having the same judge attend all matters in your divorce or juvenile matter for the lifetime of your case. If you are divorced in Wake County in 2012, the chances are strong any matter needed to be addressed in the next 10 years will be heard by the same judge who handled your divorce. Your Judge in Family Court becomes familiar with your particular issues, and is consequently better able to address your family’s needs.
Not only is this special court structured to resolve family law matters in a timely manner, it promotes creative problem solving within the family by mandating tools like mediation for custody and asset distribution and parent education. Only in the instances where spouses are unable to create resolutions to their family’s unique problems does the court set a trial and enter its own ruling. Still, North Carolina realizes family issues are unique, and gives family court Judges broader discretionary powers, along with specialized training, to best support the family’s future. These broader powers and training are not necessarily available to all district court judges serving in districts which do not have unified family court. These discretionary powers apply to all family matters except child support which has its own set of strict guidelines.