Most family law cases in North Carolina are heard in district court by a district court judge sitting without a jury.   When a judge hears a case without a jury, the judge decides both how to apply the law to the case and what the facts of the case are.

Exception: Jury Trials for Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation

Although not a typical family law case, claims for alienation of affections and criminal conversation may be heard by a jury if either party makes a timely demand.  In alienation of affections and criminal conversation the jury decides both liability for the claims and the money  damages to award (or not award) to the plaintiff.

Jury Trial for Alimony Cases – Limited Scope

Either party in an alimony case has the right to request a jury trial; however, North Carolina law limits the jury’s involvement to the determination of marital misconduct or fault.  A jury in an alimony case cannot set the amount or duration of the alimony award.

Cases where Jury Trial is Unavailable

A jury trial is absolutely not available in child custody or child support cases or in equitable distribution of property cases; however, one may be demanded in an absolute divorce,  divorce from bed and board and annulment actions.

Family law attorney Scott Allen has litigated cases before judges and juries and has over seventeen years of experience.  If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at