Court’s Role in Family Law Matters

Family Law Cases in the Circuit Court for Maryland fall into one of the following:
• Divorce
• Annulment
• Cases arising from Marital Settlement Agreements
• Alimony
• Custody
• Private paternity
• Child support
• Adoptions
• Guardianship
• Protective Orders and Peace Orders
• Appeals of Peace Orders and Protective Orders from District Court
• Juvenile matters
The DCM office for each circuit court is charged with the task of keeping the cases properly schedule and moving through the system so that there is equal treatment of the all litigants by the Court and timely disposition of each particular matter. This in turn enhances the quality of the litigation process and maintains public confidence in the judicial process as a whole.

One of the main tools the court uses for this process is the Scheduling / Settlement Conference. It is during this conference that the matter can first be settled in part or in whole, or the matter is scheduled out. It is always advisable for the parties to reach agreements in advance of this hearing even if just a stipulated schedule for discovery and discovery responses. If the parties do not agree the Magistrate with determine if the parties need any of the following:
• Educational service (such as co-parenting classes)
• Custody mediation
• Property mediation
• Advanced mediation workshop
• Discovery deadlines
• ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution
• Appointment of an attorney for a minor child
• Custody evaluations
• Psychological evaluations
• Date of a settlement conference or pre-trial conference
• Motions deadlines
• The need and / or date of a Pendente Lite hearing
• Substance abuse assessment
• Any other investigations or Orders that may be needed or necessary to expedite the case
The Scheduling/ Settlement Conference is less formal than other court hearings and may in some counties not even be conducted in a courtroom, however this does not mean that the parties do not need to prepare for it, or conduct themselves accordingly, including dressing properly and using proper edict. For more information check out