With the COVID-19 shutdowns, many people are wondering if they are able to get a Divorce in Maryland While Courts are Closed? The answer is – YES. Good news for those who have contemplated initiating a divorce matter during the COVID-19 shutdowns. You may have noticed that the Courts are operating under restricted procedures, pursuant to Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ Administrative Order filed on March 17, 2020. However, amid the COVID-19 restrictions, the Courts are continuing to accept new filings, including those to initiate divorce proceedings.
A new complaint for divorce may be filed by your attorney electronically through the Maryland Electronic Courts system (MDEC) with the exception of the following counties, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. For the jurisdictions without electronic filing capabilities, designated drop-boxes have been assigned outside of the courthouse for filing pleadings, subject to inclusion of all required documents and fees.
But wait – there’s more. Once the Complaint for Divorce has been filed and accepted by the Court, certain counties in Maryland may be conducting remote scheduling conferences, settlement conferences, and uncontested divorce hearings via telephone and/or video meeting.
What this means is that if you and your spouse are eligible for an uncontested divorce, your case may be able to proceed even while stay-at-home orders remain in place.
The advantage of filing now is, the sooner you file, the sooner you can get in court. The pandemic has caused thousands of hearings to be postponed, therefore once the Courts reopen, you want to make sure you secure your spot in line to be assigned a hearing date.
Additionally, if you and your spouse are considering a divorce and need assistance with coming to agreeable terms for your separation, mediation and collaborative divorce are other options to be considered.
Jacobson Family Law is continuing to conduct virtual mediation for spouses and parents seeking to resolve their differences on issues such as custody, child support, alimony and property division while they remain at home during this unprecedented pandemic.
Jacobson Family Law is also assisting clients in collaborative divorces by conducting client and team-meetings virtually and drafting separation agreements on behalf of clients. Jacobson Family Law offers a full range of expertise in family law resolutions available to help you through the COVID-19 shutdowns. Contact us today to schedule your consultation or mediation.