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The Trial Process

While each case is different, the usual case that becomes a lawsuit involving marital property, custody and child support, and perhaps alimony, takes about a year if it is tried in court. At least, that is the goal of family court. There are several phases of litigation.

In North Carolina, a document called a complaint generates the lawsuit. Once it is filed and served on the other party, he or she will generally have 30 days to file an answer and any counterclaims. If he or she files a request at the courthouse for additional time within the thirty day period, the court will permit additional time. The party who filed the complaint will then generally have up to 60 days to file a reply to the counterclaims, assuming an extension of time was filed.

The court requires child custody mediation in all custody cases, which often leads to a custody agreement. Court hearings for temporary matters, such as temporary child support, are usually scheduled for a date that falls 2 or 3 months after the date the complaint is filed.

Next is family financial mediation, which the court requires before any hearings on permanent relief are scheduled to be tried by a judge in the courtroom. If the case is not resolved by mediation, there are many strategic things that can take time, such as depositions, appraisals and discovery. The trial itself will often take several days, and after that, the entry of the order may take a month or two.

Working With Your Attorney


Life Span of a Typical Case  Why Does Court Take So Long?
The Trial: A Chaotic Experience When Will the Judge Make a Ruling in my Case?
Attorney’s Fees Appeals: Fine Tooth Comb and Your Case
Alternatives to Court  Third Parties in Family Law Cases
Your Case – Too Much of a Good Thing? Pleading the Fifth Amendment
Hired Guns: Expert Witnesses How Do We Serve My Ex if We Can’t Find My Ex?
 All About Depositions Differences Between Court and Mediation
Crime of Perjury What is Family Court?

Court Orders:

Nuts and Bolts of Court Orders Ex Parte Orders: When Will I Have My Day in Court?
Enforcing Orders in Family Law Cases Is Your Custody Order Out of Date?
Contempt of Court  How a Contract Becomes a Court Order: Incorporation
When Will the Judge Make a Ruling? Should You Settle or Let the Judge Decide?
Can’t We Pick a Date of Separation? Spousal Privilege in Civil Cases
Pleading the Fifth Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Custody Order Out of Date? Time to Change Your Child Support Order?
The Spirit of the Law: Enforcing Orders

Privacy Rights:

Discovery – Interrogatories & Request for Production of Documents 
Discovery – Protective Orders
Anatomy of Subpoenas
Quashing Subpoenas
Medical Records in Family Law Cases
Credit Card Peekaboo: Can Your Ex Look at Your Credit Report
Can We Close the Courtroom When I Testify?





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