Room 109 Courthouse East
111 North Calvert Street
Hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday
The Family Division, located in what is commonly known as ‘the old Post Office building’ is comprised of several departments including Guardianships and Trusts, Paternity, Domestic and Child Support. Our goal is to provide service with integrity to the community and the Baltimore City circuit court. Our division is committed to the processing and management of all guardianship/trusts, paternity, child support and domestic matters with integrity, sensitivity and timeliness. The following tabs will direct you to related services and resources available through the Family Division.
- Administration / Judges & Magistrates
- Anatomy of a Family Division Case
- Case Flow Chart
- Self-Represented Litigant Project
- Parent Education and Mediation Services
- Domestic Violence Assistance
- Emergency Hearings
- Postponement Policy
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I file for a Protective Order?
First you must determine whether you need a Protective Order or a Peace Order. Find more information here.
You can get a Protective Order from either the District Court (1400 East North Avenue) or the Circuit Court during regular court hours (8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday). If you need help while the court is closed, you can obtain an Interim Protective Order from a Commissioner. Visit Domestic Violence Assistance for more information.
Peace Orders can only be issued by the District Court (during court hours) or Commissioner’s office (when the court is closed).
- Can I represent myself in court?
If your case is very complex with many issues (property, pensions, etc.) you should consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to obtain free counsel, based on your income and the availability of attorneys. Visit Resources page for more information.
If you decide to represent yourself (proceed pro se), form pleadings are obtainable at the courthouse or on-line (link to forms page). There is also limited assistance offered through the Pro Se Litigation Project.
- How can I get an emergency hearing?
While your case is pending, there may be situations that merit a quick hearing to address something temporarily until the case is ready to go before a Judge of Magistrate. Emergency Hearings
- Should I bring my child to court with me?
To talk to the Judge. Conversations between children and judicial officials are formal proceedings and must be conducted in a particular manner. If a Judge or Magistrate wishes to speak to your child, you will be notified well in advance. Otherwise, children are not allowed in the courtroom.
Children’s Waiting Room. The court is able to provide space for a limited number of children to play while parents are in court. The children’s waiting room is open from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm. PLEASE NOTE: Children checked into the room can only be released to the person who checked them in, unless a Judge or Magistrate provides direct notification that someone else is allowed to take the child. The staff of the Children’s Waiting Room do not feed children or provide drinks, except water. The staff will only allow children to consume snacks and beverages provided by their own parents.
- How should I act when I come to court?
A courtroom is a serious place, and what happens there can have a profound effect on your life. Consequently, it is extremely important that you be on your best behavior in the courtroom. Some general guidelines for how to act include:
- Be on time. In fact, arrive early, if possible. Have information with you about where you are scheduled to be.
- Dress in tidy, clean clothing. Do not wear shorts, tank tops, clothing with inappropriate language printed on it, or revealing clothing. Remember, you want your appearance to let the Judge or Magistrate know that you are serious about your case.
- Take a seat in the courtroom and wait quietly for the clerk to call your name.
- Do not eat, drink, or chew gum.
- TURN OFF your cell phone and all other electronic devices.
- Call the Judge, “Your Honor.”
- Call the Magistrate, “Magistrate.”
- Use respectful language when addressing the Judge, Magistrate, all court staff, and the other party. NEVER use foul or abusive language.
- Do not interrupt the Judge or other party when they are speaking. You will be given your chance to speak.
- What is parenting education and do I have to go?
- What is mediation?
- What is a custody evalution?
- What is a substance abuse evaluation?
- How do I change my court date?
Moving a case forward. The Family Division of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City is one of the busiest courts in Maryland. Cases are set on the first date available. Therefore, it is generally impossible to move a court date forward. If exigent circumstances exist however, you can file a Motion asking for an earlier date with the Clerk’s office in room 109 of Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert Street. You can also come to Postponement Court at 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Please report to room 108 in Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert Street, no later than 3:45 pm. PLEASE NOTE: the other party in your case must be available by telephone.
- Can people at the court help me?
Clerks and other employees of the court can help you with the following:
- General information about where you can obtain court forms;
- General information about rules and procedures; and
- Public information in court records.
The attorneys in the Self-Represented Litigant Project office may also be able to offer limited assistance.
Clerks and other employees of the court are not allowed to give you legal advice. Legal advice is information about any of the following topics:
- Which form or procedure it would be better to use;
- Which words to use when filling out a form; and
- Suggestions about what you “should do.”
Clerks and other employees of the court are not allowed to make recommendations about specific groups or attorneys that may be able to help you, except for non-profits.