| | Share

Flag of the State of North Carolina

The Guide to North Carolina Court Records


The North Carolina trial court system consists of Superior Courts, District Courts, Business Court, and Family Courts.
 
North Carolina has a unified court system referred to as the General Court of Justice. Superior Courts and District Courts are the trial court divisions of the North Carolina General Court of Justice. The North Carolina Business Court is a specialized court division composed of Superior Court judges that handle complex business and commercial cases. Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but generally handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of District Courts. District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. The North Carolina General Court of Justice has also established Family Court divisions in some District Courts to handle domestic relations, mental health and juvenile cases that would otherwise be heard by Superior or District Courts.

Find court records by county Find court records by town or zip code Find court resources by category Find court records in other states
Please select a North Carolina county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court. Find North Carolina court pages by Town or Zip Code. Select a court record or online resource category below to view all resources at both the statewide and county level. Go to the court records pages for another state.
 


 
Follow onlinesearches on Twitter

North Carolina Superior Courts

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and generally handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of District Courts.

Criminal cases heard by Superior Courts include all felonies, some misdemeanors and lesser-included offenses.

Civil cases heard by Superior Courts include general civil claims with more than $10,000 in dispute, exclusive of interest and costs. Superior Courts also handle cases without financial thresholds, such as certain types of injunctions and requests for declaratory relief, constitutional rights, eminent domain, most administrative agency decisions, adoptions and complex business issues.

Superior Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over proceedings in probate and the administration of estates for decedents. Superior Courts have original jurisdiction over most guardianship cases, but if a Family Court division is in operation in the area, the Family Court division will hear most guardianships.

Family Court divisions operate out of District Courts and typically handle cases involving divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, child neglect, child abuse, termination of parental rights, paternity, abortion consent waivers, guardianships and involuntary commitments. Family Court divisions do not exist in all courts, and when no Family Court division has territorial jurisdiction over a case, the case will be heard in an appropriate division of Superior or District Court.

A Superior Court may have specialized divisions for Adult Drug Treatment Court, Family Drug Treatment Court, and Youth Treatment Court.

The North Carolina Business Court is a specialized court division composed of Superior Court judges that handle complex business cases with significant or complicated issues of corporate or commercial law. The Business Court handles cases for the entire state from three main locations in Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Clerks of Superior Courts handle records for both Superior Courts and District Courts.

North Carolina District Courts

District Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by District Courts include most misdemeanors, most infractions and municipal ordinance violations. District Courts also conduct preliminary hearings for all types of criminal cases and can receive guilty pleas in some felony cases.

Civil cases heard by District Courts include general civil claims for less than $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs. District Courts also handle appeals of county game commission decisions, domestic violence protection cases and requests for civil no-contact orders.

District Courts each have a Small Claims Court division that handles most general civil claims for less than $5000, exclusive of interest and costs. Small Claims Court divisions handle claims for the recovery of money, the recovery of personal property and summary ejectment (eviction).

District Courts also handle domestic relations cases and juvenile matters. Domestic relations cases include divorce, annulment, domestic violence protection, child custody, child support, paternity, equitable distribution of property, alimony and cases related to separation or property settlement agreements between spouses. Juvenile matters include juvenile dependency, child neglect, child abuse, emancipation, termination of parental rights, foster care, judicial consent for abortion, juveniles alleged to be undisciplined and juvenile delinquency.

Some District Courts operate specialized Family Court divisions that handle cases that would otherwise be filed in Superior or District Courts. If a Family Court division exists, most domestic relations, mental health and juvenile cases are heard by the Family Court division. Some juvenile delinquency cases may be transferred to Superior Court for prosecution of the juvenile as an adult.

A District Court may have specialized divisions for Adult Drug Treatment Court, Family Drug Treatment Court, and Youth Treatment Court.

The Clerk of the Superior Court handles record keeping for both the superior court and the district court.

North Carolina Business Court

The North Carolina Business Court is a specialized court division composed of Superior Court judges that handle complex business cases with significant or complicated issues of corporate or commercial law.

Cases generally handled by the Business Court include issues of securities law, antitrust law, State trademark law, most unfair competition laws, intellectual property, the Internet, electronic commerce and biotechnology.

The Business Court handles cases for the entire state from three main locations in Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh.

North Carolina Family Courts

Family Courts are specialized court divisions that exist in some District Courts. These court divisions are currently in a limited pilot phase, and may expand in the future.

Family Court divisions handle domestic relations, mental health and juvenile cases that would otherwise be heard by Superior or District Courts. In areas without Family Court divisions, cases will be heard in the appropriate division of Superior or District Court.

Family Court divisions typically handle domestic relations and juvenile cases, including divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, domestic violence protection, juvenile delinquency, child protection, termination of parental rights, paternity, abortion consent waivers, guardianships and involuntary commitments.

Family Court divisions currently operate in Anson, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cumberland, Durham, Greene, Halifax, Lenoir, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Pender, Pitt, Randolph, Richmond, Stanly, Union, Wake, and Wilson Counties.

North Carolina Drug Treatment Courts

Superior Courts and District Courts may have specialized divisions for Adult Drug Treatment Court, Family Drug Treatment Court and Youth Treatment Court.

Adult Drug Treatment Courts work with eligible repeat offenders. Family Drug Treatment Courts work with eligible parents who risk losing custody of their children due to abuse or neglect. Youth Treatment Courts work with eligible youth in the juvenile justice system. Some Drug Treatment Court divisions have a Mental Health Treatment Court subdivision or component.

These court divisions are currently in a limited pilot phase, and may expand in the future.

Where to find court cases in North Carolina

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in North Carolina.
 

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
CivilSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
General Civil - Unlimited
 Most or all General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 
General Civil - Limited
 Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the District Courts
Small Claims 
 Most or all Small Claims cases can be found in the District Courts
Civil Equity
 Most or all Civil Equity cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 
Complex Commercial
 Most or all Complex Commercial cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 
Foreclosures and Liens
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the District Courts
Real Estate Title and Boundary
 Some Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the District Courts
Landlord / Tenant
 Some Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the District Courts
Ordinance Violations 
 Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the District Courts
Administrative Agency Appeals
 Most or all Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the District Courts
CriminalSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
Felony
 Most or all Felony cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Felony cases can be found in the District Courts
Felony Preliminary Hearings
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the District Courts
Misdemeanors
 Some Misdemeanors cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Misdemeanors cases can be found in the District Courts
Ordinance Violations 
 Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
Juvenile 
 Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the District Courts
Traffic and Infractions 
 Most or all Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the District Courts
Domestic RelationsSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
Divorce 
 Most or all Divorce cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Custody and Visitation 
 Most or all Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Support 
 Most or all Child Support cases can be found in the District Courts
Paternity 
 Most or all Paternity cases can be found in the District Courts
Domestic Violence Protection Order
 Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the District Courts
JuvenileSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
Adoptions
 Some Adoptions cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Adoptions cases can be found in the District Courts
Juvenile Delinquency 
 Most or all Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Abuse and Neglect 
 Most or all Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the District Courts
Termination of Parental Rights 
 Most or all Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the District Courts
Children in Need of Supervision 
 Most or all Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the District Courts
Mental HealthSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
Involuntary Commitments
 Some Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the District Courts
Other Mental Health Cases
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the District Courts
ProbateSuperior CourtsDistrict Courts
Wills & Estates
 Most or all Wills & Estates cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 
Name Changes
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the District Courts
Trusts
 Most or all Trusts cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 
Guardianships and Conservatorships
 Some Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the Superior Courts
 Some Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the District Courts

Note: Some courts in North Carolina are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
 
  Business Court  Family Courts


© Online Searches 2008 - 2014. Your use of this site indicates agreement to the terms of use. - Contact us.
We strive to provide accurate information, however, Courtreference.com is not an official source of information for any court or court clerk.
No legal advice is offered here and this site is not an alternative to competent legal counsel.