Family Financial Settlement Program

Established to assist separating couples in resolving financial disputes.


The Family Financial Settlement Program was established to assist separating couples in resolving financial disputes. Couples ordered to the program will likely be required to participate in mediation. During mediation, they will sit down with their attorneys and a mediator to discuss issues of property and debt division, child support and alimony and to consider ways to resolve these issues.

Learn more about the program

Family Financial Settlement Brochure

Program Eligibility

G.S. 7A-38.4A provides that any district court judge may order a mediated settlement conference or other authorized settlement procedure in any action pending in that district for equitable distribution, alimony, child or post-separation support, or claims arising out of contracts between the parties under G.S. 52-10. G.S. 52-10.1 or Chapter 52B of the General Statutes. Once a settlement procedure is ordered, the parties and their counsel must attend unless excused by the court.

Parties who have been victims of domestic violence may be excused by the court from physically attending or participating in a mediated settlement conference or other settlement procedure.

Information for Parties without AttorneysIf you will be participating in a mediation without an attorney, please be aware that, while the mediator will do his or her best to ensure a civil and full discussion of the issues, s/he cannot give legal advice to anyone participating in the conference.

Family Financial Mediation Guide: Parties Not Represented by Attorneys

Program Rules

The Rules Implementing Settlement Procedures in Equitable Distribution and Other Family Financial Cases (FFS Rules) were first adopted by the Supreme Court in 1998, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.4. (later revised as N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.4A). The FFS Rules provide a menu of dispute resolution alternatives designed to expedite settlement of family financial matters, including cases involving claims for equitable distribution, alimony, and child support. The parties, in consultation with their attorneys, are given an opportunity to select from: mediated settlement (mediation), neutral evaluation, judicial settlement conference (if available in the district), and any other procedure authorized under local rule in the judicial district in which the case is pending. The default procedure, in the event parties do not select one of the menu options, is "mediated settlement". Anyone with questions about the FFS Rules may contact the Commission's office. The FFS Rules were amended on August 25, 2021, with an effective date of October 1, 2021.

More Information

Find a Mediator

When two parties can’t come to an agreement on a particular conflict, a mediator can help provide assistance.


Dispute Resolution Commission
PO Box 2448
Raleigh, NC 27602Telephone(919) 890-1415