Published April 2, 2020 by Marc Emden

During this time, all Courts in Maryland have changed the way they are handling these cases. It does not mean they will not issue restraining orders. It means that once you obtain your initial order (Interim), courts may not hold another hearing until May 4th or May 5th, unless absolutely necessary.

Your lawyer or you can still obtain an emergency hearing before May 4 or May 5, under the right circumstances!

Here is the new court order:

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s March 25, 2020 Administrative Order Extending the Length of the Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency:

1. All new protective, peace and extreme risk protective order petitions will be handled by commissioners.

2. All new Interim Orders will have a corresponding Temporary Hearing scheduled for May 4, 2020 or May 5, 2020, unless otherwise ordered by an Administrative Judge, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge.

3. Interim Orders will remain in effect until action is taken by the Court.

4. The commissioners shall provide a notice with all paperwork to petitioners and respondents advising them that the court may contact them with a different hearing date.

5. Administrative Judges, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge, have the discretion to review each Interim Order with special attention paid to those Interim Protective Orders that have at issue: (1) orders to vacate the home; (2) the granting or denial of custody of any child; (3) a firearm. After review, and if a hearing is determined to be necessary, any Temporary Order hearings should be set within seven (7) days of the Interim Order.

6. Commissioners are encouraged to request as much contact information from the parties as possible as any temporary hearings may occur remotely via video, audio or electronic means.

7. Staff will notify the parties of any scheduled hearing date through any means available.

8. If the courts continue to function only on a limited basis as of May 4, 2020, further advice will be given.