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Circuit Court to Begin Charging Fees for Family Division Services - note to MLSC grantees
To MLSC Grantees - FYI:
Based on the August 15 email below regarding the Baltimore County Circuit Court, we contacted AOC for clarification. Please share with your staff and pro bono attorneys.
AOC informed us that there is a rule in place to allow for waivers for low-income clients if the particular court is assessing fees for family services. Pursuant to the guidelines, the Court should provide you with the motion form for a family services fee waiver (see p 16 at link below). Income guidelines are the same as MLSC’s.
From the Jurisdictional Grant Guidelines for FY12:
b. Fee Waivers
Each Circuit Court Jurisdictional Grantee shall provide litigants the opportunity to request a waiver of fees for any court-ordered or voluntary service provided through the court. The court may also offer a sliding scale arrangement to low income litigants, if they charge a fee. Even if a sliding scale fee is charged, however, the court must offer a complete fee waiver in appropriate cases.
Each Circuit Court Jurisdictional Grantee must follow the Fee Collection and Waiver Guidelines provided in Appendix A of this document.
See the whole document at:
Circuit Court to Begin Charging Fees for Family Division Services
The Circuit Court for Baltimore County has always prided itself on not charging fees for any of the Family Division services it offers. The main reason for not charging has always been to not burden parties and families with additional costs when going through a divorce or child access dispute. Over the past few years, however, the Court’s funding for Family Division services from the State judiciary has been significantly reduced. Rather than eliminate or greatly reduce some of these mandatory, necessary and desired Family Division services, the Court has decided to begin charging a modest fee that offsets some of the costs of these services.
Beginning October 3, 2011, the Court will begin charging the following fees for services:
· Co-Parent Education Classes: $35 per person;
· Child Access Mediation: $100 per person, per case;
· Child Access Home Study: $100 per Home Study, split between the parties;
· Child Access Evaluations, which may include an Evaluation Conference: $ 450 per case,
split between the parties;
· Adoption Investigations: $100 per case;
· Adoption Interviews only: $50 per case;
· Supervised Visitation Orientation Fee: $30 per person for each orientation; and
· Monitored Exchange Orientation Fee: $30 per person for each orientation.
Family Division fees will be expected to be paid at the time of the Master’s Scheduling/Settlement Conference, when most services are routinely ordered, but not later than when the service is provided. The Court is working with Baltimore County to have the ability to accept credit/debit cards. Checks and money orders made payable to Baltimore County will also be accepted, but the Court will not accept cash payments. A party seeking a waiver of any fees listed above will need to file a Motion for Waiver of Family Services Fees and Supporting Affidavit, which may be obtained from the Family Law Administrator or at Clerk’s Office.
P Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Doris D. Barnes
Doris D. Barnes, Executive Director
Baltimore County Bar Association
100 County Courts Building
401 Bosley Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
410-337-9103 - Telephone
443-465-7581 - Cell
410-823-3418 - Facsimile