It's hard to answer your question because I don't know what type of case it is. Special proceedings, for example, sometimes require a 20 day answer whereas normal civil proceedings allow 30.
In all likelihood, you need to:
1) File a Motion for Extension of Time to file Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims
2) Provide the Clerk with a draft Order on #1
3) File a Motion for Extension of Time to answer and respond to discovery (if served) such as Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents and Requests for Admissions
4) Provide the Clerk with a draft Order on #3
5) File a Motion for a Continuance of any trial dates to allow you to serve your answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims, your discovery and hire an attorney.
Hire an attorney! Some law offices like ours, will help you prepare 1-5 through "unbundled services" until you can find and hire your own attorney to provide full service.
Disclaimer: Information posted for educational / informational purposes only. No attorney client relationship created through the use of this web site. Information pertains to the State of North Carolina only. See our website, www.RiceFamilyLaw.com for more information.