Hayes was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina and graduated from James Kenan High School in 1998. Hayes attended Hampden-Sydney College in Central Virginia where he met his future wife Emily.
A graduate of Campbell University School of Law, Hayes was active in the Honor Court and was elected Cheif Justice of the Honor Court his 3L year.
Hayes and Emily reside in Duplin County with their son Miller. In his spare time Hayes can be found running the backroads of Duplin County. He also enjoys fishing and hunting.