The cost of going to court in North Carolina has gone up as of July 1st.
There are some significant changes to the costs of family law cases in particular.
The cost of filing a family law action is now $150.00.
Whereas the extension of a Summons used to be free, it will now cost $15.00.
The additional fee for an absolute divorce will remain at $75.00.
In the past, filing a motion after the lawsuit was filed was free. Now, there will be a $20.00 charge for every motion filed in an open family lawsuit. There are exceptions for some child support enforcement actions and for motions to enforce or modify domestic violence protective orders.
However the biggest change is that now counterclaims (claims by a defendant against a plaintiff) and cross-claims (claims between two defendants) will cost the same ($150.00) as filing a complaint to begin a lawsuit in family court. Filing counterclaims and cross-claims has historically been free in North Carolina.
That means that filing a divorce action will cost $225.00. And, if your spouse counters with claims for property division, financial support or child custody, it will cost them $150.00. That’s $375.00 just to get into the courthouse!
So, the cost of court is rising. And, given the deep budget cuts in North Carolina, it seems obvious that the expense of resolving disputes in court will continue to rise.
The rising cost of court is yet another reason that resolving family law issues through collaborative divorce or mediation makes so much sense.