This is the second in a series of articles on representing yourself in Wake County Family Court. In Part 1 I gave a general overview.
Today we will talk about some very important rules…. the Wake County Local Rules. I have watched many pro se litigants and very few seem to take the time to study the rules. It’s a tired statement but true: you can’t expect to win the game if you don’t know the rules.
The local rules in Wake County for family law cases are built around the concept of a family court system that Wake County adopted some years ago. The family court system is designed to increase efficiency, cause cases to go through the system faster, and set up rules about a range of issues from the beginning to the end of a case.
A close reading of the Wake County Local Rules will show you what each stage of the court process looks like. The rules define what must happen before court such as the exchange of certain documents and affidavits. They also explain how continuances are dealt with, the role of the case coordinators, and many other details are in the local rules such as the length of certain temporary hearings such as temporary child custody and temporary child support.
If you decide to represent yourself, I strongly urge you to create a notebook that you will keep for the sole purpose of having one place to go to for the local rules related to your case. Use a three-ring binder and put a copy of the local rules in it.
Examine what claims are in your case and study the rules on each claim carefully and take notes and put those notes in the notebook too. In a later article I will cover where you can find the law for your claim or defenses, and you should take notes and put that in your notebook too.
Scott Allen is a family law attorney with over eighteen years of experience in all areas of divorce practice in North Carolina.