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Towson Divorce Lawyer | The Scheduling Conference.

Scheduling Conferences in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County 

The Circuit Court for Baltimore County holds scheduling conferences for Divorce and child custody cases pursuant to MD Rule 2-501.1 and the Baltimore County Family Differentiated Case Management Plan. In the Towson County Courts Building, Scheduling Conferences are held on the fifth floor. They are conducted by an experienced Baltimore County Family Law Magistrate. The primary purpose of the scheduling conference, as the name suggests, is to calendar future court events and assign the case to an appropriate track based on the complexity of the mattSettlement Conference. Here are some important pointers about the scheduling conference: 

  • Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent administrative orders modifying policies, unless you reside out-of-state and have obtained permission to appear by telephone or had a divorce with no children, your attendance at the settlement conference was mandatory.
  • During early summer 2020,the Family Law Division of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County began conducting scheduling conferences in some cases by telephone in cases where the mailed notification provides a telephone number and access code.  
  • The notification to appear issued by the Circuit Court for Baltimore County requires parties to bring tax returns and encourages attorneys to contact one another before the Settlement Conference in an effort to determine whether there are any issues that can be resolved at the outset and to encourage dispute resolution on issues like Child Support.
  • The Court will place your case on one of three "tracks" based on complexity and your assigned track determines how long your case will take and how long the attorneys are afforded to gather evidence.
  • You will be asked to complete questions in writing that will determine whether your case will be a court investigation into your home life.
  • You will probably be required to attend Parent Education Classes.  how your case is categorized will determine how many classes you will have to attend.
  • If you have a case with children and without the "red flags" you will be assigned two mediation date through the Office of Family Mediation.

Attendance of the Scheduling Conference is mandatory. Penalties for the failure to attend a scheduling conference include contempt of court, the award of counsel fees in favor of the party who does appear at the scheduling conference, and the dismissal of the case if the Plaintiff fails to appear. On the other hand, the Court is fair and will not find parties who are unable to appear for medical reasons to be in contempt of court.

Temporary Child Custody, Visitation & Child Support.

Wherever Possible, The Court Will Also Attempt To Set Up An Interim Order Concerning Custody/Visitation And Child Support To Create Stability For The Child While The Case Is Pending. This Is Why The Notice Of Scheduling Conference Issued by The Clerk Of The Court Tells Parties To Bring Pay Stubs And Tax Returns?Md. Rule 2-504.1(C) States The Circuit Court For Baltimore County May Issue A Scheduling Order Requiring The Parties To Bring Preliminary Discovery To The Scheduling Conference So They May Productively Participate. In Family Law Cases, This Means The Order Setting The Scheduling Conference Will Probably Require Parties To Bring Pay Stubs And Tax Returns For Purposes Of Temporary Child Support And/Or Temporary Alimony.

Child Custody Screening In The Circuit Court for Baltimore County.

  • If there are child custody issues, the client shall complete a child access screening questionnaire to determine whether a case is "high conflict." The social worker will produce an internal report assessing:
    • Quality of the relationship between parent and child;
    • Quality of the relationship between contesting parties and the ability to co-parent;
    • Ability of each party to parent the child;
    • Mental health needs of the parties;
    • Mental health of the child;
    • Patterns of domestic abuse;
  • If the case is high-conflict, a social worker from Family Support Services will conduct an ind-depth interview to determine whether a Services Plan will be issued, which may include the following:
    • Home investigations/home studies, which allows a court investigator to collect background, inspect the home, and interview the parties; when this process is complete, the investigator will produce a written report.
    • Extended Parent Education Classes;
    • Anger management classes;
    • Supervised visitation or monitored exchanges of minor children;
    • Referrals for drug and alcohol assessments and counseling;

Note: in divorce matters where there are no minor children, attorneys may request the scheduling conference be conducted via telephone conference call to save court time and attorney time.

What Scheduling Conferences Are Not

On the other hand, it is important to remember a few things:

  • The Scheduling Conference is NOT a Merits Trial--do not bring all of your witnesses and exhibits. In Baltimore County, there is typically no hearing at the time of the Scheduling Conference.
  • The Court will not force you to reach an agreement. There will only be an agreement if both parties agree to the terms and want there to be an agreement.
  • How to use the Settlement Conference to advance your case is a strategic decision for the attorney and the client.

Call 410-321-4994 To Meet With Towson Child Custody & Family Law Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.

Please Call (410) 321-4994 during business hours to schedule a free consultation for the purpose of deciding whether you want to retain Amar S. Weisman. The firm does not accept pro bono clients at this time. To retain legal services and advice, you must pay a retainer, See Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is located in the heart of Towson near The Circuit Court For Baltimore County, Towson Town Center, Goucher College and Towson University, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road (MD-146), Second Floor Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen, Abingdon, Baldwin, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Brooklandville, Carney, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Garrison, Glen Arm, Greenspring Valley, Homeland, Hunt Valley, Hydes, the Joppa Road Corridor, Kingsville, Long Green, Lutherville, Middle River, Nottingham, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Perry Hall, Reisterstown, Riderwood, Rodgers Forge, Rosedale, Ruxton, Sparks, Sparrows Point, Stoneleigh, Timonium, Towson, West Towson, White Hall, White Marsh, and the York Road corridor. We have also represented a number of out-of-state clients. The law firm does not guarantee the results in any matter.