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This notice is intended to address administrative policies for Family Division cases in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.

Postponements and Modifications of Scheduling Orders

It is the policy of this Court to resolve family law disputes without unnecessary delay or undue waste of the time and other resources of the Court, the litigants and other case participants. Although it may be necessary or appropriate to postpone a hearing or court event, such requests should be based upon a showing of good cause and made well in advance of any scheduled court deadline or event.

The Court disfavors requests for postponement on the day of a hearing or trial, or any request for postponement or for modification of a scheduling order that delays the resolution of the matter beyond 12 months from the date of filing, which is the case time standard that applies to domestic proceedings, other than complaints for limited divorce.

Rulings

If the Family Division Coordinating Judge is not available, postponement and scheduling requests shall be referred to the Administrative Judge.

Administrative Postponements

While the Court seeks to reach all cases on the assigned trial date, that objective cannot always be met. However on the assigned trial date, the case is often in the optimal posture to settle or to narrow contested issues. Therefore, if the case cannot be assigned for hearing on the morning it is set for trial, counsel and clients will be required to appear for a follow-up settlement conference before a settlement court judge, a retired judge or a judge in the family law rotation. If the case:

  • Can be resolved—In whole or in part, the settlement will be placed on the record.
  • Cannot be resolved—And a judge or magistrate becomes available that day, the case will be assigned to proceed.
  • Is not fully resolved and cannot be reached on the assigned trial date—An agreed date will be reset for the merits hearing.

Whenever possible, cases that have been administratively postponed will be given priority on the follow-up hearing date.

Settlement Conferences

All contested divorce, custody and visitation matters, including those before the Court on a request for modification, will be scheduled for a conference in Settlement Court. The date of the conference will be set at the scheduling conference or when the initial Scheduling Order is issued.

Ex Parte and Emergency Hearings

Requests for ex parte relief and requests for an emergency hearing should be filed as separate matters, as they are processed and decided under a different mechanism. Both are forms of extraordinary relief and should, therefore, be employed only in matters where a risk or threat of serious harm or injury exists.

Strike Appearance of Counsel

Absent a showing of some compelling circumstance, a Motion to Strike Appearance of Counsel will not be granted:

  • Within a 14-day period before an assigned settlement conference or hearing date unless accompanied by the entry of appearance of another attorney. 
  • During a period when counsel is responsible to submit a draft Order to the Court based upon a prior hearing or ruling.

Counsel are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 2-132(b) the Court may deny the motion if withdrawal of the appearance would cause unduly delay, prejudice or injustice.”

Waiver of Family Services Fees

Any request to waive a family service fee must be made in writing and accompanied by a current Financial Affidavit of the party making the request. Requests for waiver shall be filed with the Civil Division in the Clerk’s Office, directed to Richard Abbott for review, and ruled upon by the Administrative Judge.

Rescind Orders for Family Division Services

If Family Division Services, such as a Child Access Evaluation, Home Study or Investigation, are ordered through the Family Support Services Office (FSSO) and a party fails to comply with the Order, either by not contacting or responding to the FSSO or by failing to appear at scheduled appointments, the FSSO staff will first attempt to contact all parties or their attorneys to try and resolve the issue. If this attempt fails, the Family Law Administrator will prepare an Order to Rescind Court Ordered Family Support Service, indicate the reason why the Service is being rescinded, and present the Order to the Family Division Coordinating Judge. If the Order is signed, any pending Child Access Evaluation Conference will also be vacated.

Notification of Pending Out-of-State Custody Cases

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) requires parties and attorneys to provide notice to the Court whenever there is a related child custody case pending in another state.  If a party is aware that an action has been filed or is pending in another state, the party or their counsel must notify the Family Law Administrator in writing and provide:

  • The name of the state and court where the action is pending
  • The court’s phone number (if known)
  • The name of the judge or other court official handling the matter.

Advance Hearing Dates for Settled Cases

If a case has been settled in advance of an assigned trial or settlement conference date and parties wish to advance the date to finalize the matter, they may contact Civil Assignment at 410-887-2660. The matter will be promptly set for hearing before a Family Magistrate or in settlement court, Criminal Misdemeanor Case Processing.

Additional Policies

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Contact

Office of the Jury Commissioner

County Courts Building
401 Bosley Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204

Hours:

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone:

410-887-3596

Daily Call-in Numbers

The call-in numbers can be heard by calling 410-887-4390 after 4:30 p.m. on the day before your scheduled date.

410-887-4390

 
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