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The Basics of Differentiated Case Management Rules in Maryland

Conference roomMaryland state law holds that there are no local case management rules, but in reality, the slightly-different case management rules in various counties throughout the state effectively serve as rules. What is differentiated case management (DCM) and what should you know about DCM in Maryland?

What Is Differentiated Case Management?

Differentiated case management is a technique utilized by Maryland state courts to allocate judicial system resources and adjust case management loads properly. Since every case is different and every situation will take a unique amount of time to be heard and resolved, each case puts a different strain on the courts. As a result, DCM aims to identify cases that utilize fewer resources so that they can be disposed of more quickly (no or not much discovery, etc.). DCM systems are intended to allow courts to prioritize cases based on something other than chronological order.

Local Variations in DCM

While Maryland indicates that there is one universal differentiated case management system for the state, in reality, many courts have slight variations.

Circuit Court for Baltimore County

For family court cases, Baltimore County aims to ensure that 98% of family cases, excluding limited divorce cases, are concluded within 12 months of the filing date. The DCM plan also aims to have 98% of limited divorce cases resolved within 24 months of the filing date. Family cases can follow 3 different resolution tracks. Depending on the case subtype, the track might be defined as early as the scheduling conference. For example, the “Family Expedited” track includes the following subtypes:

  • Uncontested divorce
  • Uncontested or minor child support issues
  • Uncontested or minor child access issues
  • Annulment
  • Defaults
  • Name change
  • Modification of child support or simple visitation issues
  • Contempt petitions
  • IV-D child support establishment and contempt petitions
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Special immigrant status
  • These expedited cases have an expected duration of the answer period plus 120-150 days.

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

In contrast, you can take a look at the Baltimore City DCM for expedited family cases. Expedited cases can include:

  • Uncontested divorce (mutual consent, with no children or no property, PSA without children, PSA with children and a parenting plan)
  • Defaults
  • Uncontested custody establishment or modification
  • Uncontested visitation establishment or modification
  • Child support establishment or modification
  • Contempt (custody, divorce or visitation)

All of these cases have an expected duration of Answer plus 90 days for a total anticipated of 120 days. When going to family court, you should work carefully with your lawyer to know the differentiated case management standards for the city or county you are filing in. Never assume that every Maryland court will uphold the same standards!

Your Family Law Specialist is Lebovitz Law

Lebovitz Law has decades of experience working with couples and families through the divorce process, guardianship process and more. We are experts at creating agreements that resolve alimony, custody and property issues. We can guide you through the entire divorce process, whether you are divorcing by mutual consent or not, and assist with all filings and court dates. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.

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