Thousands of trials and other family law hearings have been postponed throughout Maryland due to the pandemic. What will happen next?
The short answer is that it all depends on where your case is pending.
Courts are working hard with only skeleton crew staffing to begin the process of rescheduling the one day trials and one month trials that were postponed when courts closed down due to the COVID-19 crisis.
When courts reopen, those cases will be rescheduled, but don’t expect them all to occur. There will be double-booking, triple-booking, or worse as the courts will hope that many of the cases will settle without a trial. Many courts are stepping up their mediation and settlement conference programs for exactly that purpose.
Now, let’s take a look at the finances related to the postponement of trials. If your case was trial ready and then postponed, it will cost you more money for your family law attorney to prepare for that trial to occur. Supplements to documents must be filed and financial statements need to be updated. Interrogatories may need to be supplemented, as well.
It is a necessary but expensive mess.
It also provides a great opportunity to use mediation to resolve as many issues as you can without the need for trial.
There is also the simple reality that many of us no longer have the money we had before the pandemic began. Aside from losing money in the stock markets, many of us lost jobs or had to use assets or retirement funds to keep the family afloat.
And when your trial date does come back up again, if there are older cases, your trial will be postponed again. You need to understand why. There is a general rule that requires cases to go to trial within a certain period of time. That rule has been suspended for now, allowing judges to create years of backlogged trials. Years.
The moral of this story is that the best way to avoid these additional fees is to find a dispute resolution process and stay with it.
Of course, speaking an experienced divorce attorney is always the best place to start. SIEGELLAW can help you navigate the postponement of trials and other hearings. Call us at (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.