MARYLAND MASTERS SYSTEM
If you have a family law case in the state of Maryland that involves child custody, visitation, support or alimony, you will likely have to appear before a master. Masters originate from an old tradition when they were originally appointed to act as assistants to the English kings. Today, a master is a hearing officer who takes testimony and makes preliminary rulings and determination.
Their recommendations are then submitted to a Judge to be approved or rejected. If neither party takes exceptions to the ruling of the master then a judge will pass an order ratifying the recommendations. Masters also hear uncontested divorces subject to the final signing of a divorce decree by a Judge. Keep in mind masters are not judges but their functions are very similar yet a judge has the final say as to what the master recommends.
There are two different types of masters: standing and special masters.
- Standing masters are appointed by a majority of the judges of the particular circuit court and may serve either full or part time. A standing master may not continue to serve after reaching 70 years of age.
- Special masters are appointed for a particular case and the court may specify or limit their powers.
Masters will be automatically referred for uncontested divorce, annulment, alimony, support of dependents, modification of alimony and custody or any other domestic cases. The master will need to hold a hearing and receive evidence. He or she will also need to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend hearing, administer oaths to witnesses, decide whether evidence is admissible, convene or adjourn a hearing and recommend any conclusions of law. After the hearing and the parties are notified of the proposal, the parties must agree. It’s also a great idea to consult an experienced attorney who can help you with any domestic issue you may have.
CONTACT MARYLAND FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY FOR HELP
The Burton Law Firm understands how family law issues can affect you and your life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of divorce & family law cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak with a Maryland family law attorney at The Burton Firm.
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Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of family law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.