Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses The Scheduling Conference
If you or your spouse has filed for divorce in Maryland, one of the next things to take place in the process will be a scheduling conference. The court will send notice about the conference to the divorcing parties; however, many people express great concern when they get the notice -- primarily because they do not know what occurs at such conferences.
The following information is provided to help divorcing individuals learn and understand more about the process. Still, individuals with questions about their specific divorce cases are encouraged to speak with a divorce lawyer as soon as possible to obtain the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Things You Need to Know About the Conference
Scheduling conferences, which are typically used to help determine how a case will proceed, are held in front of a magistrate or judge. The divorcing couple is required to appear for the conference with their counsel, if any (unless the court has excused them). If someone needs to reschedule, the first scheduling conference will be reset without the need for a formal postponement request. However, you should be aware that if this happens, the conference will be held within 30 days of the original conference date -- unless one or both parties object in writing.
In some cases where in-person participation would present a hardship for one or both parties, the scheduling conference may be held by phone. The proceeding will be recorded, along with the testimony of any other individuals who may be participating in the proceeding. Once the conference begins, the magistrate or judge will help the parties reach an agreement with respect to all matters in dispute. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, the judge or magistrate will put the agreement on the record, as well as prepare a written order reflecting the terms of the agreement.
If there are remaining issues in dispute, the judge or magistrate will identify them and fill out a scheduling order to establish filing deadlines, discovery dates and a pre-trial conference. Additionally, if preliminary orders are needed, those will be identified and recommended as well. Such orders may cover things such as attendance at a parenting seminar, visitation/custody mediation or alternative dispute resolution for property-related issues. The parties might also be ordered to obtain psychological evaluations, substance abuse assessments or any other investigations and/or orders the judge or magistrate deems necessary to expedite the case.
Many people believe that their cases will be heard at the scheduling conference; however, that will likely not be the case. In fact, in most cases, a hearing on the merits is not scheduled at all during the conference. Instead, the court attempts to achieve settlements prior to a trial (or during the pre-trial conference). They do this early in the process in an effort to spare everyone any unnecessary delay and expense.
Call For a Free Consultation
Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore & Towson Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.