Demystifying the Divorce Process in Maryland: Part 3
For many, divorce or custody cases are the first experience working with an attorney or dealing with the Court. At the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman, we walk our clients through the legal process one step at a time, so they know what to expect.
In this blog series, we will discuss the typical court process in a divorce or custody case in Maryland, in the hopes of demystifying it. In Part 1, we covered how a divorce or custody case gets started and begins the legal process. In Part 2, we discussed what happens leading up to the trial. In Part 3, the final part of this blog series, we explain how divorce is finalized through a settlement conference or trial. If you have any questions, please reach out. Our team is here to help guide and advocate for you.
Step 8: The Settlement Conference
Many divorce or custody cases are scheduled for a Settlement Conference or Pre-Trial Conference before the case is given a trial date. A Settlement Conference is a final opportunity to settle the case outside of a trial. The parties and their attorneys meet with a settlement officer (usually a retired judge, or a volunteer attorney) to try and work together to resolve all issues. In some cases, the parties may be required to complete a joint statement identifying all property at issue and what each side’s position is on custody before the conference.
If all of the issues are resolved and agreed upon in a Settlement Conference, then the case will be closed. The parties will put the agreement on the record and finish up the case shortly thereafter. If the case does not settle, then the case will be assigned a trial date.
Step 9: The Trial
Trial is the final step of a divorce or custody case. A trial is when both parties show up at the Court, call witnesses to testify, present their evidence to a judge, and make a case as to why the relief they requested back in their initial Complaint should be granted.
It should be noted that going to trial is a complicated, lengthy, and time-consuming process. The trial process is not easy to navigate. Your attorney is trained to understand the rules of the trial, knowing what is and is not allowed, and what the laws are regarding your case. Your attorney will help you prepare for trial so you know what to expect and how to present your best self in front of the Court. They will also ensure you have the best argument for your case.
After the arguments are made for each party’s case, the judge will then consider the evidence presented in conjunction with the law to make a ruling.
Judges have wide discretion when it comes to ruling on cases. The judge can grant you and/or the other party the relief requested, or they can come up with a result that neither party asked for. The point is, the judge will make a ruling that they think is most appropriate for the case and in the best interests of everyone involved.
If you are unhappy with the judge’s ruling, there are post-judgment relief options available. You should consult with your attorney to see if there are any post-judgment relief options available for your case and how best to proceed.
Do you have questions about the divorce or custody process in Maryland? Contact Laurie Wasserman at email@example.com or 410-842-1070. The legal team at the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman is here to help guide and advocate for you.
Disclaimer: Opinions and conclusions in these blog posts are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. For legal advice, you should directly consult a lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your matter.
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