Important Information & Tips for Family Law and Divorce in Maryland During the Coronavirus Pandemic
There have been many pressing concerns and changes to our daily lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For individuals beginning the process of divorce, or in need of a hearing or motion for any number of other family law matters, the pandemic put everything on pause.
As the country continues with the endeavor of reopening, it’s important to take a look at some of the frequently asked questions we’ve seen from our clients, and provide as much up to date information and resources as we can to help guide you through the process.
Is the court currently open?
Yes. The Montgomery County Circuit Court, which is responsible for local family law cases and proceedings, is currently in Phase II of its five-phase reopening, with a limited number of services available, and an emphasis on remote hearings.
Currently, matters such as case rescheduling, along with mediations, protective orders, and non-emergency guardianships are being handled.
What are the future phases of Montgomery County Circuit Court’s reopening?
- Phase III (July 30-August 30): Additional services include pendente lite hearings, adoptions, child support, settlement hearings, and court-ordered mediation.
- Phase IV (August 31-October 4): In-person hearings and trials for family law proceedings will resume as needed.
- Phase V (October 5th onwards): At this point the courts are considered fully open and operational.
Are there more divorce cases as a result of the pandemic?
It’s difficult to gauge numbers in real time, but there are certainly increased risk factors involved. The many, many stressors of this period of time have increased the likelihood of arguments, not to mention the chances of physical and emotional abuse, while also forcing some individuals to reevaluate their lives.
What the court system certainly has seen and can be verified is a backlog of cases. This is due to their closure for a 3-month period, which has forced many existing cases to be pushed back, followed by a rush of new cases being filed.
Are you conducting virtual meetings?
Yes, our office is conducting virtual consultations, meetings, and even mediation sessions. We’re committed to helping our clients stay safe and stay healthy, and we’ll continue to stay on top of the latest developments and changes as the pandemic continues.
Where can I find more information?
Visit the homepage of the Montgomery County, Maryland Circuit Court.
Two specific documents of interest include the full reopening plan (PDF), and the progressive resumption of judiciary operations order (PDF).
For more information or to schedule your own appointment, feel free to call us at 240.395.1418.