After filing for divorce, an Order and Notice of a Scheduling Conference/Hearing is issued by the given Maryland court. This is a mandatory hearing whereby both parties and their counsel must attend. Often times, people think that the Magistrate will hear the merits of their case at this hearing. However, that is not what happens.
What to Expect from Your Scheduling Conference
In Maryland, the scheduling conference is a hearing where the parties or counsel advise the court of the current status of the case. The Magistrate will then set all future filing deadlines and court dates during this time. As such, it is imperative that you attend with your schedule/agenda because once the dates are set by the court, it is incredibly difficult to get a date changed. Therefore, if you have intentions of retaining a divorce attorney, I recommend doing so before the scheduling conference so that the attorney can ensure his/her availability on the proposed dates. If you fail to attend the scheduling conference, the case won’t necessarily be dismissed, but you will not be given another opportunity to set a date and you will be required to meet the deadlines as set forth by the court.
For many, the scheduling conference is the first time the parties meet and have the opportunity to discuss reaching an interim agreement addressing:
If you are represented by counsel, you should meet with your attorney prior to the conference to discuss any immediate issues that can possibly be negotiated.
Depending on the county, many times the parties are ordered to immediately meet with a court facilitator who will assist you in trying to resolve any immediate issues, such as a visitation access schedule or payment of support or expenses. Your scheduling conference is not a hearing where your entire case will be decided, but it is a hearing that gives the parties the first opportunity to reach an agreement to avoid further litigation. The family law attorneys at Andalman & Flynn have experience in Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Howard counties and can provide county-specific information for clients in those areas.
Need Legal Assistance with a Divorce Case in Maryland?
If you are going through a divorce in Maryland or seeking custody and have questions, please contact attorney Amanda Vann at 301-563-6685 or [email protected]. You can also fill out an online contact form directly from our website, and we will get back to you to set up a consultation. We have office locations in Silver Spring and Rockville, MD, positioned near the court for your convenience.