Request for Emergency or Expedited Relief

Family Law Assistance Program Hours
The Family Services Office at the courthouse offers the Family Law Assistance Program every Wednesday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; intake begins at 8:30 a.m. The Family Law Assistance Program provides the opportunity to speak with an attorney free of charge. They cannot represent you but can give you some procedural guidance in your case.

Review the Rules
Please review the following Maryland Rules in order to request emergency of expedited relief:

  • Maryland Rule 1-204. Motion to Shorten or Extend Time Requirements
  • Maryland Rule 1-351. Order Upon Ex Parte Application Prohibited – Exceptions

Filing Requirements
Requests for emergency relief or ex parte relief must be verified and filed in writing at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. The opposing party must be given 24 hours notice, unless the case falls under a valid exception pursuant to the Maryland Rules. Motions for Emergency Relief will not be granted unless a pleading for permanent relief has been filed at the same time or prior to the Emergency Motion.

Failure to comply with the Maryland Rules, provide all required information, or provide proper service may result in the emergency request being denied. 

Review Process
Once the pleadings have been filed they will be reviewed by the Magistrate or a Circuit Court Judge for an initial determination of whether, based upon the information in the pleadings, an emergency exists. Typical emergencies involve child abuse or neglect with a sufficient showing that there is an imminent risk of substantial and immediate physical harm to a child or party.

You will be notified of the Court’s decision as to whether any immediate action will be taken within 24 business hours of filing. The emergency hearing will be scheduled by the Court at the earliest possible time.

Determining an Emergency
If the Court determines from the pleadings that an emergency may exist, it will be the practice to have the parties and counsel appear for a brief hearing on the issue of whether or not there is an emergency and what if any action the Court should take. If the Court does not find it to be an emergency the Court may treat it as a request for expedited relief and the case will thereafter continue in the normal course.

Filing for Expedited Relief
A party or counsel can file a motion for expedited relief if the facts of the case do not rise to the standard for emergency relief. These issues would typically involve unreasonable deprivation of visitation for an extended period of time, financial hardship to one party, inability to enroll a child in school, and inability to provide medical care. In these cases, the Court may schedule a conference call, a scheduling conference or a hearing depending on the circumstances.

In situations where the case is new and a request for emergency or expedited relief has been requested, the Clerk’s Office shall issue a summons for the underlying request for permanent relief. The emergency request will be reviewed as outlined above.

Motion to Shorten Time
Please read Maryland Rule 1-204. If you are requesting ex parte relief, the rule must be complied with and the pleadings must contain the facts required by the rule. Failure to follow the rules will result in the Motion being ruled upon after the response time has run.