In a new draft of the state budget for 2014-2015, the North Carolina House of Representatives has proposed cutting nearly $3 million allocated for family court districts across the state (see page 124). If this budget passes, what would this mean? It could mean a delay (or outright denial) of justice for people litigating their divorce, child custody, property division, and other family-related cases.
Looking at the statistics that prove the efficiency of family courts, only 18.8% of cases in family court districts lasted longer than a year, compared to 51.0% of cases in non-family court districts. The median age of pending cases was 116 days for family court districts, while the median age for cases in non-family court districts was 390 days. In short, the approval of this budget could prove disastrous to litigants across North Carolina, especially since the majority of family court cases involve unrepresented parties.