First and foremost we hope that you, your family and loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this crisis. Next we wanted to keep you informed with a Q&A:
Maryland Courts are closed – What does this mean?
It has just been announced that the Maryland Courts are closed through June 5, 2020. This is an extension from the prior closure through May 1, 2020.
Certain “emergency” matters may still be heard by the Court at the discretion of the Administrative Judge, including domestic violence protective orders, family law emergencies, and temporary restraining orders.
The Court will decide whether the emergency matter must be heard in person, may be heard remotely/electronically or can be resolved without a hearing.
For existing cases, if you have a hearing between now and June 5th it will be postponed and the Court will be sending a notice for a new court date. In fact, the various Courts have already begun sending out notices for rescheduled hearings for late May, June and thereafter.
Also for existing cases, pleadings, motions, discovery requests, etc. can still be filed. There may be some delay with docketing but these matters may still be filed.
For new cases, these can still be filed with the Court. There may be some delay in processing the new case filing but it will be accepted and docketed.
Our offices are still open – What does that mean?
For current clients, your case will continue to managed by your team and you will be regularly updated by email and phone calls. Client meetings will continue to take place via teleconference and video conference.
For new clients, initial client consults will take place via video conference. This can be arranged with any lap top or smart phone through a free video conferencing service. This new approach has been working very well and is the ultimate social distancing.
For mediation clients and mediation matters, our mediation sessions will also take place via video conference. We have been quite successful in utilizing the technology to create virtual conference rooms, arranging entire group sessions as well as break-out meetings with the mediator and each party and their attorney separately.
Documents can be exchanged/provided electronically as always but arrangements can also be made for drop off at our Rockville or Frederick office as necessary.
What happens next?
We will have to evaluate after June 5, 2020 when the Courts will either re-open or an additional extension will be implemented.
Take care and be safe,
Wise Family Law Division