Divorcing During the Pandemic: When You Can’t Get Into Court


Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the state of Maryland, the court system is returning to Phase II of the Maryland Judiciary’s reopening plan. Phase II does not permit in-person multi-day trials, and many jurisdictions will not hold multi-day trials remotely. The courts will continue to hear other matters in-person or remotely, but in most jurisdictions all multi-day family law cases must wait until Phase IV of the reopening plan. 

If you are considering filing for divorce or have filed and are waiting to begin the divorce process, you may wonder what your options are. At TNS Family Law, our attorneys understand that it can be frustrating to feel like you cannot move forward with your divorce. However, you do have options!


Divorce Options While The Courts Are Restricted

Here are the options for moving forward with a divorce while the Maryland court system is restricted. Please note that all of these options can be accomplished remotely when necessary to do so.

  1. Settlement Agreements. If you and your spouse agree on all of the major issues of your divorce, you will want to consider a Marital Settlement Agreement. A Marital Settlement Agreement is a path to an uncontested divorce in the state of Maryland. You and your spouse work with your respective family law attorneys to resolve issues regarding your marital property, child support, child custody, alimony, and any other important matters. Once an agreement has been reached, your attorneys will draft the Marital Settlement Agreement and file it along with a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the court. The court will then schedule an Uncontested Divorce Hearing, the agreement will be approved, and your divorce can be finalized.
  2. Mediation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used to finalize your divorce outside of the courtroom. In mediation, both spouses hire a family law attorney to represent them. A certified mediator, typically another attorney or a retired judge, leads the negotiation between the two spouses regarding all important marital issues, like marital property, child custody, child support, and alimony. The goal of mediation is to use the mediator as a middle ground between the two spouses to come to agreements that are in the best interest of the family. The mediator does not make any decisions for the spouses. Instead, the mediator helps the parties reach decisions for themselves. The attorneys representing each spouse ensure that their client’s best interests are considered throughout the mediation process.
  3. Arbitration. Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution that can help spouses resolve their marital issues and finalize their divorce outside of the courtroom. In arbitration, both spouses will hire a family law attorney to represent them through the arbitration process. The arbitrator, typically a retired judge, serves as a neutral third party to hear the case and, ultimately, make the final decisions for each martial issue.
  4. Parent Coordination. Parent Coordination is an excellent option for parents that have a difficult time making shared decisions about their children. Certified Parent Coordinators are required to complete specialized training and continuing education to help parents resolve issues. In a Parent Coordination session, the Parent Coordinator will lead a discussion about specified disagreements and assist the parents in coming to shared decisions. In the event that both parents cannot come to a shared decision, the Parent Coordinator can make the decision on their behalf. Parent Coordinators cannot override court orders, but they are especially helpful when it comes to day-to-day decision making and are a great option for high-conflict couples.


If you have questions about divorcing during the pandemic, please contact Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders, P.A. at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of family law attorneys is here to help guide you.

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