What Types Of Family Law Cases Are The Courts Currently Hearing?

Court Case Hearings

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the District of Columbia and Maryland courts had to move operations online, delay hearings, extend deadlines and make adjustments for the safety of the community. In response to recent COVID-19 developments, the courts have decided to modify and expand their operating protocols and procedures.

Furthermore, the Maryland courts have decided to move forward with its reopening plan and reopen in phases. As of Monday April 26, 2021, the Maryland Judiciary courts entered Phase V of its phased reopening plan, allowing all courts to resume full operations, including jury trials. Beginning April 26, 2021, the following courts are fully operational: District Court, District Court Commissioners, Circuit Courts, Court of Special Appeals, and the Court of Appeals. Remote proceedings will continue in specific locations and are subject to change moving forward.

The District of Columbia courts have decided to expand the types and numbers of cases it will hear through May 20, 2021. According to the Honorable Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring’s March 31, 2021 Order, the Family Court is currently hearing the following types of family law cases:

  • Adoption
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Family Treatment Court
  • Neglect
  • Mental health
  • Mental habilitation
  • Juvenile

These cases and the Marriage Bureau will be heard remotely. The following specific orders will not be suspended, tolled and extended during this period without further order of the court:

  1. Abuse and Neglect Cases and Related Matters: Neglect, adoption, termination of parental rights, and guardianship cases will continue to operate under Superior Court rules unless the assigned judge makes changes. Deadlines for Adoptions and Safe Family Act (ASFA) will remain the same. Adoption petitions and pleadings may be filed remotely.
  2. Domestic Relation Cases: Those involved should comply with procedural rules, such as filing of motions and oppositions, unless the assigned judge makes changes. Deadlines in orders issued before March 20, 2020 are extended. All deadlines in orders on or after March 20, 2020 remain the same.
  3. Mental Habilitation Cases: Counsel and parties will continue to file Updated Status Reports, and to any possible extent, will file Respondents Reports on Informed Consent for Voluntary Commitment and Substitute Decision Maker Reports.

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer Today

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the way we operate and these changes can be difficult to navigate. If you or someone you know is dealing with a family law case, including divorce, child support or child custody, it is important to contact an experienced family law attorney that can help you understand these developments and how they may impact your case. Contact us today to learn more about the specifics of your case.