Understanding Family Cases

Legal Reference

Maryland Rules of Procedure, Title 9. Family Law Actions, Chapter 200; Maryland Code: Family Law Article

What types of family cases does the Circuit Court handle?

Family Law is the general term for the various actions related to marital relationships and relationships between parents and children. The Family Department of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County handles filings of the following family law cases (click on the link to learn more about each type of case):

Family Division Services

LOCATION:  South Tower, 1st Floor, Rm 1500

HOURS:  Monday-Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm

PHONE:  240-777-9079

Family Department

LOCATION:  South Tower, 1st Floor, Rm 1460

HOURS:  Monday-Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm

PHONE:  240-777-9426

General instructions on family-related cases (PDF) are available from the Maryland Judiciary

Forms may be found under the individual family case links to the left or under the Forms page.

Not understanding all this terminology? Visit the glossary.

Next Steps After Starting a Family Case

When you have considered all the topics involving family cases, and you or your attorney has taken steps to file a family case, the opposing party (the party you "served") will have to file an Answer in order for the case to proceed.

Once the served party files an Answer, the case will proceed as either a contested matter or an uncontested matter. If the parties are unable to agree on some or all issues, the case is considered contested, and any unresolved issues must be resolved by the court. The case is considered uncontested if the parties are able to cooperate and agree on all issues outside of court by submitting the necessary signed paperwork for the court's signature.

Even in contested cases, the parties can voluntarily resolve all their issues through mediation or settlement. At an early stage of proceedings, the Court assesses the case and determines which services offered at the Court are appropriate and establishes the case schedule.

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, in which a mediator assists parties in reaching a resolution before trial. If mediation is ordered by the court, the ADR coordinator will assign a mediator from the court-approved roster of ADR mediators. Mediators assigned to a case by the ADR coordinator must charge the “court rate” for the mediation. Parties and counsel may also select their own mediator from the court-approved roster of ADR mediators. If the parties select a mediator on their own, the mediator may charge the parties his/her hourly rate for the mediation. Custody and Access Mediation helps parties to create their own custody and access plan on behalf of their children.

If a settlement is reached, the Settlement Agreement is provided to a judge at a hearing. The judge will ask a few factual questions and confirm that each party understood and chose to sign the agreement. If the judge approves the agreement, he/she gives the parties a decree that shows what they agreed to.

If the judge does not approve the agreement, or if the parties do not reach an agreement, the case will go to trial. At trial, attorneys present evidence and arguments for each side, and the judge decides the unresolved issues.

Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Guidelines for Family Cases

DCM is characterized by the early differentiation of cases entering the justice system in terms of the nature and extent of judicial/justice system resources they will require. Each case is assigned to the appropriate case track that allows for the performance of pretrial tasks and allocates the appropriate level of judicial and other system resources, minimizing processing delays. Established mechanisms avoid multiple court appearances and assure the timely provision of resources for the expeditious processing and resolution of cases on each track.

There are 5 tracks in family cases, including Track 0. Tracks are numeric categories assigned to each case that drive how dates are scheduled and time standards are met.

For more information, visit the What are DCM Tracks? page.

Download the Family DCM Plan (PDF)

Download the Administrative Order pertaining to Amending the Family Differentiated Case Management Plan (PDF)

Who Manages My Case?

Case managers in Family Division Services monitor the progress of family cases to ensure that cases are receiving the appropriate resources, filings are in a proper posture for scheduled hearings, and unresolved issues that might prevent a case from moving forward are identified. They act as liaisons between the judges, attorneys, and service providers. Each case is permanently assigned to a case manager to ensure continuity from initial case filing through post-judgment actions.

The case managers and their contact information are listed below:

  # Case Manager Name Phone
  1 General number 240-777-9075
  2 Diana Olsen,
Supervising Case Manager
  3 Mary Roesser 240-777-9063
  4 Amanda Barrett 240-777-9062
  5 Corey Magill 240-777-9172
  6 Migdalia Harnly 240-777-9064

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