Postponements in Family and Civil Cases

If you need to request a postponement due to a documented medical emergency or death of a family member or a postponement in a hearing on a petition for protection from abuse/protective order, please read the "Medical Emergency or Protective Order" section.

Self-represented litigants can utilize the Family Law Self-Help Center or Statewide Self Help Center for legal assistance in filing a motion for postponement, a motion to appear by telephone, a motion to shorten time or other family law matters. Self-represented litigants may, but are not required to, use the forms in the "Forms" section at the end of this document.

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MEDICAL EMERGENCY or PROTECTIVE ORDER

Family Law Case: If you need to request a postponement or permission to appear by telephone due to a documented medical emergency or death of a family member or a postponement of a hearing on a petition for protection from abuse/protective order hearing, please immediately call the Postponement Coordinator at (410) 222-1136.

Please note that for requests to postpone or appear by telephone due to a medical emergency, the Court will request medical documentation specifying that you are unable to attend Court.

Civil Case (not family law): If you need to request a postponement or permission to appear by telephone due to a documented medical emergency or death of a family member, please immediately call the Postponement Coordinator at (410) 222-1285 and press 5.

Please note the Court will request medical documentation specifying that you are unable to attend Court.

REQUEST TO POSTPONE A HEARING

I want to postpone a:

Scheduling Conference

  • If all counsel and unrepresented parties agree to postpone a scheduling conference, they may do so once by conference call with the Assignment Office, (410) 222-1422. The conference call must occur within fifteen (15) days of entry of the Order for Scheduling Conference and the new date shall be no later than thirty (30) days after the original date. If there is availability with the Assignment Office, the parties can also agree to a date earlier than the scheduled date.

  • If all counsel and unrepresented parties do not agree, a motion for postponement must be filed. Please see the section below titled "Other Hearings OR a Scheduling Conference or a Family Law Show Cause Hearing where All Counsel/Unrepresented Parties DO NOT Agree to Postpone" for information.

Show Cause Hearing in a Family Law Case

  • If all counsel and unrepresented parties agree to postpone a show cause hearing in a family law case (set pursuant to a party's petition for contempt), they may do so once by conference call with the Assignment Office, (410) 222-1422. The conference call must occur at least ten (10) days prior to the original show cause hearing. The new date shall be no later than thirty (30) days after the original date. If there is availability with the Assignment Office, the parties can also agree to a date earlier than the scheduled date.

  • If all counsel and unrepresented parties do not agree, a motion for postponement must be filed. Please see the section below titled "Other Hearings OR a Scheduling Conference or a Family Law Show Cause Hearing where All Counsel/Unrepresented Parties DO NOT Agree to Postpone" for information.

  • DCM show cause hearings or other show cause hearings set on the Court's own initiative may NOT be postponed using this procedure. A motion for postponement must be filed in those circumstances. Please see the section below titled "Other Hearings OR a Scheduling Conference or a Family Law Show Cause Hearing where All Counsel/Unrepresented Parties DO NOT Agree to Postpone" for information.

Other Hearings OR a Scheduling Conference or a Family Law Show Cause Hearing where All Counsel/Unrepresented Parties DO NOT Agree to Postpone

  • For family and civil hearings (other than scheduling conferences/family law show cause hearings that meet the guidelines above), a motion for postponement shall be filed in compliance with the Maryland Rules, in particular Rules 2-311 and 2-508. Additionally, the filer must follow the directions that apply to all family and civil motions to postpone. Please see "ALL MOTIONS TO POSTPONE" below for that information.

ALL MOTIONS TO POSTPONE

When to file:

All motions

  • Motions for postponement shall be filed as soon as the need arises. Delays in filing may result in the Court being unable to consider the motion. Please note that even if the other party/counsel agrees to the postponement, a motion received by the Postponement Coordinator less than forty-eight (48) hours prior to a hearing may not be considered by the Court.

  • Paper motions served by mail that are filed less than nineteen (19) days before the hearing must be accompanied by the consent of all counsel/unrepresented parties OR an Order to Shorten Time to Respond. Electronic motions e-filed through the MDEC system and paper motions that are hand delivered must be filed at least sixteen (16) days before the hearing or be accompanied by either the consent of all counsel/unrepresented parties OR an Order to Shorten Time to Respond.

  • Please see "MOTIONS TO SHORTEN TIME" below for information about the procedure to file a motion to shorten time.

  • It is preferred if the individual(s) filing the motion include e-mail address(es), if available. In addition to mailing a copy of the Order, the Court may also send notice of the outcome of the motion via email.

How to file:

All motions

  • Motions to postpone or appear by telephone should be filed as soon as the attorney/party becomes aware of the need to postpone or appear by telephone.

  • If the hearing is ten (10) days or less from the date of filing of the motion, the motion must be “walked through.” This applies both to motions that are e-filed (through MDEC) and motions that are filed in paper. Additionally, this procedure still applies even if all counsel/parties agree to the postponement.

  * Please see below for information on how to "walk through" a motion.

NOTE: Although electronically filed motions to postpone need only be walked through if the hearing is less than ten (10) days away, the filing MUST still comply with the Maryland Rules in regard to the amount of time the opposing party is allowed to respond. Meaning, that the ten (10) day procedure described above will only apply if the motion is joint/consent OR an order shortening time to respond is granted. Motions that are not timely filed to allow all other parties sufficient time to respond, either per Rule or Court order, may not be considered by the Court.

  • In addition to filing the motion with the Court, copies of the motion must be served on all counsel/unrepresented parties.

Walk Through Procedure for Family Law Motions to Postpone/Requests to Appear by Telephone

Self-Represented Party – In order for a self-represented party to walk through a motion, the party must appear at the Civil Clerk’s Office (room 100) at 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday to file the motion. When the party files the motion, he/she must tell the clerk that the motion needs to be walked through. The party will then proceed to the 2nd floor to meet with Jennifer Cassel regarding the postponement.

*If a self-represented party is a registered MDEC e-filer, the party may follow the instructions for attorneys on how to walk through motions.

Attorney – To walk through a motion, an attorney must first electronically file the motion through the MDEC system. The attorney must then:1) call the Clerk’s Office at (410) 222-1431 or appear in the Clerk’s Office (suite 100) with the envelope number of the electronic filing and 2) meet with Jennifer Cassel Monday to Friday at 1:30 p.m. Her chambers is on the on the 2nd floor.

Walk Through Procedure for Civil (not Family Law) Motions to Postpone/ Requests to Appear by Telephone

Self-Represented Party – In order for a self-represented party to walk through a motion, the party must appear at the Civil Clerk’s Office (room 100) and file the motion. When the party files the motion, he/she must tell the clerk that the motion needs to be walked through the Postponement Coordinator.

*If a self-represented party is a registered MDEC e-filer, the party may follow the instructions for attorneys on how to walk through motions.

Attorney – To walk through a motion, an attorney must first electronically file the motion through the MDEC system. The attorney shall then call the Clerk’s Office at (410) 222-1431 or appear in the Clerk’s Office (suite 100) with the envelope number of the electronic filing. After conferring with the Clerk’s Office, the attorney shall promptly notify the Postponement Coordinator of the filing of the motion and the date of the scheduled hearing.

Joint/Consent Motions

  • For hearings where all counsel and unrepresented parties consent to postpone the hearing, the motion should be titled "Consent Motion to Postpone" or similar. If the motion is joint (meaning that all parties are requesting a postponement), the motion should be entitled "Joint Motion to Postpone" and should include the signatures of all counsel and unrepresented parties. Failure to entitle the motion "Consent" or "Joint" may result in a delay in ruling on the motion.

  • Additionally, persons filing joint/consent motions must follow the instruction in the "When to File" and "How to File" sections under "All Motions to Postpone."

  • If a motion is filed ten (10) days or less prior to a hearing, the motion must still be walked through, even if the motion is a joint/consent motion.

For all motions to postpone, an agreed upon reset date must be included in the motion. This date must be cleared with the opposing counsel/unrepresented party and the Assignment Office, (410) 222-1422. Even if the other party objects to the postponement, a cleared reset date must still be included.

Contested Motions and Motions for which Consent of All Other Counsel/Unrepresented Parties is not Obtained

  • Follow the instructions under "When to File – All Motions" and "How to File – All Motions."

MOTIONS TO SHORTEN TIME TO RESPOND

  • If your motion was mailed eighteen (18) or less days (or hand delivered or served through MDEC fifteen (15) or less days) before your hearing, the Court ordinarily cannot consider the motion before the hearing unless there is an Order to Shorten Time to Respond to your motion. Motions to shorten time must comply with the Maryland Rules, in particular Rules 1-204 and 1-351. The motion to shorten time must be "walked through" in order to be considered.

  • In addition to filing the motion to shorten time with the Court, copies of the motion must be served on all counsel/unrepresented parties.

Self-Represented Party –- In order for a self-represented party to walk through a motion to shorten time, the party must appear at the Civil Clerk's Office (room 100) and file the motion. When the party files the motion, he/she must tell the clerk that the motion is a motion to shorten time that needs to be walked through for ruling to the designated judge.

The party filing the motion to shorten time SHOULD NOT leave the courthouse after filing the motion. The Civil Clerk's Office will forward the motion to the judge for consideration. The party may be asked to wait in the main hallway until further instruction (e.g., the judge may wish to speak to the party and opposing counsel/unrepresented party, the party may receive a copy of the Order ruling on the motion to shorten time, etc.). If the motion is granted, the Court may Order the party to ensure appropriate service of the Order and any other documents as directed by the judge.

Self-represented litigants may, but are not required to, use the motion to shorten time in the "FORMS" section below.

* If a self-represented party is a registered MDEC e-filer, instead of filing the motion to shorten time in the Clerk’s Office, the party will e-file the motion and then appear in the Clerk’s Office with the envelope number. All other instructions indicated above are the same.

Attorney – To walk through a motion, an attorney must first electronically file the motion through the MDEC system. The attorney must then appear in the Civil Clerk's Office (room 100) with the envelope number of the electronic filing. After appearing in the Clerk's Office, the attorney shall appear in the chambers of the designated judge. For motions to shorten time related to family law postponements or family law requests to appear by telephone, the attorney shall appear in the chambers of the Family DCM Judge. For motions to shorten time related to all other filings, the attorney shall appear before the chambers' judge.

If the motion is granted, the attorney shall ensure appropriate service of the Order and any other documents as directed by the judge and ensure that the Postponement Coordinator is promptly notified of the filing of the motion to postpone and the specifics of the order shortening time to respond.

FORMS (for use by Self-Represented Parties)

Motion for Postponement
Motion to Shorten Time