Finding the Best Way Forward

for Any Family Law Dispute

COVID-19 Announcement

To our valued clients:

We hope this email finds you healthy and safe. We are still here for you and are continuing to work on your case. Please read this email carefully and feel free to reach out to us in the event you need clarity or further information regarding Montgomery County’s continued plan for reopening courts.

On June 8, 2020, Montgomery County Circuit Court entered phase two of a five-phased reopening course. It is anticipated, at this time, full resumption of court activities will take place by October 5, 2020. With that said, Judges throughout the state have authority to adjust phases or retreat from a later phase to an earlier phase, consistent with state of the COVID-19 situation in a particular jurisdiction.

The court is asking for patience while trying to reset family law cases after being shut down for three months, with the exception of emergency matters. Hundreds of trials need to be reset. Cases that had trials set after June 29, 2020, will remain on the docket IF they can be heard remotely. In person trials will not be heard until phase four, beginning August 31, 2020. Priority will be given to cases that had earlier trial dates, but there may be situations where, due to the anticipated length of a particular trial, it cannot be set with priority.

The court is encouraging parties to use court-facilitated options for resolution of cases such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve cases. In family cases, mediation of contested divorce and custody cases will continue with the assistance of senior (retired) judges and trained (attorney) mediators. Until further notice, almost all mediating is being done remotely. Rest assured, you will be consulted by your attorney if ADR or mediation applies to your case.

Supervised visitations are being conducted remotely and co-parent classes have been moved to an online platform. Custody evaluations will also be conducted remotely until further notice. Parties referred for a mediation intake will be contacted by the court and intake will be over the phone. Lawyer referral and kid’s spot remain closed.

Per the terms of the June 3, 2020 court order, the use of remote platforms to conduct court proceedings is encouraged and preferred in order to reduce courthouse traffic and to ensure everyone’s safety. Scheduling, settlement status conferences, and uncontested hearings will be heard via telephone or videoconferencing. Further, there may be civil and family law contested matters that can be heard remotely, as well. Remote proceedings have proved to be effective and useful during the COVID-19 emergency and continued use of this technology will be in place until at least October 5, 2020.

We understand how difficult this time may be for you and that patience is running thin in all aspects of life. We are here for you. Please feel free to reach out to us if needed.

Lastly, for your convenience, below, please find a general summation of the Montgomery County Circuit Court Reopening Plan.


Phases of Reopening:


Phase 1: March 16, 2020 – June 5, 2020


Phase 2: June 8, 2020 – July 19, 2020

  • Scheduling and status hearings beginning June 22 remotely whenever possible.
  • Domestic violence protective orders will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Domestic violence, peace and extreme risk protective orders will he heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Exceptions hearings not involving testimony will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Uncontested divorces and other uncontested matters will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Mediations will begin during the week of June 8 in divorce and custody matters.

Phase 3: July 20, 2020 – August 30, 2020

  • Temporary Domestic Violence Petitions will be heard in-person.
  • Motions requiring testimony will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Pendente lite hearings will resume with a three-hour time limit in every case, will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Contempts will be heard in-person.
  • Establishment of child support (MCOCSE) will be heard in-person, in staggered time slots.
  • Settlement hearings will be heard remotely whenever possible.
  • Court-ordered Mediations will be heard remotely whenever possible.

Phase 4: August 31, 2020 – October 4, 2020

  • Hearings and trials – the court will be hearing some of these matters in-person, and whenever possible, the court will consider remote hearings.
  • Child support contempt (MCOCSE) will be held in-person, in staggered time slots.

Phase 5: October 5, 2020

  • It is the goal for all courts and services to be fully operational, assuming it is consistent with the health of the courthouse and surrounding community.

Montgomery & Frederick County Family Law Attorneys

Emotions run high in any family law dispute. It is very difficult to keep everything in perspective. Perspective is perhaps the most important thing your lawyer brings to your case. We know that often what you think you want today (full custody, the house, the car, etc.) may not be what will make you the happiest several years from now.

As attorneys, it’s our job to consider your well-being in its entirety. We thoroughly assess your circumstances and then work with you to choose the strategy that fits you best from a full spectrum of dispute resolution options.

The day you call Avery & Upton should be the date your situation starts to improve. To schedule an appointment, call us at 301-762-7644. You can also contact us online, and we’ll get in touch with you.

Our Firm

Lawyers Bruce Avery & Prudence Upton are a father-daughter team with complementary skills: Mr. Avery is a former JAG attorney and a current leader in alternative dispute resolution while Ms. Upton is skilled in adversarial litigation. Each of the attorneys brings something unique to the mix and Avery & Upton’s clients benefit. Together with their team of legal assistants, the lawyers and staff members at Avery & Upton work together on each case. Our clients receive respect, personal attention, and caring service. You will never feel ignored, and you will always know what is happening in your case and why.

Meet Our Attorneys

Bruce E. Avery, Esquire

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Prudence Avery Upton, Esquire

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In Litigation, No One Wins

Emotionally and financially, litigation takes an enormous toll on everyone involved. We do our best to minimize that toll and only take actions on your behalf that don’t make your conflicts worse. Picturing your life after a divorce is not easy at first. There are numerous decisions, and it is difficult to imagine what your life will be like when your family is no longer together. Since 1993, we have been helping clients get through divorce and custody cases while preserving their relationships, dignity, and finances. Please speak with us to learn how we may be able to assist you.

To learn about what you can expect going through your case as a client at Avery & Upton, see the Client Handbook we give each client. 

Every Family Is Different

Our firm represents traditional and nontraditional families from across the world. We have had clients who have come from all religious backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, and social backgrounds. We also represent gay, lesbian, and other nontraditional families. Some of our clients are in families where the parties are married, and some are in families where the parties are not married. We are dedicated to helping families move forward in a productive way.

Serving Montgomery, Frederick, Howard, Garrett & Allegany Counties​

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Hear What Our Clients Say

I can honestly say that choosing them was the best decision I made. The staff is warm and engaging and the atmosphere is laid-back. Prudence is a thoughtful and compassionate attorney who is very meticulous and extremely smart.
Divorce and Custody Client
I am forever grateful for their concern, dedication, and interest in providing me with a positive outcome. I truly felt they cared about me and my children, not just my case.
Divorce and Custody Client

Honors & Awards

We are delighted that all of our attorneys have been selected to the Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers lists for 2020.

Contact Us Today

Whether your case involves the new Maryland child support calculator, a military pension, or another family matter, we encourage you to learn more about our firm, either by exploring this website or by calling us to schedule an initial consultation. You can call us at 301-762-7644 — or you can contact us online anytime. Our office is located in Rockville, Maryland, and we serve clients throughout Montgomery County.

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