Maryland Courts

Family Law Administration

Courthouse Annex
55 North Court Street, Suite 208
Westminster, Maryland 21157
Telephone: 410-386-2751
Fax: 410-751-5339

General Information

The Family Law Administration is the location of several services available to assist the Courts, litigants, and attorneys in handling many types of domestic matters relating to families and children in the Court system. This Department was created to ensure that court cases are handled in a way that has a positive effect on the families involved. The services provided include:

  • Referrals to other agencies
  • Self-help information, both legal and non-legal, regarding family issues
  • Free limited legal assistance at the Courthouse Family Advice Clinic (Wednesdays 4-7 PM)
  • Referrals and information regarding ways to solve conflict (i.e., mediation)
  • Referrals, information and assistance in domestic violence or emergency evaluation matters
  • Referrals, information and intake appointments for visitation services
  • Court ordered assessments (custody evaluations/home studies/ specific issue evaluations)
  • General information regarding the court process

Family Law Personnel

Family Law Administrator - The Administrator develops and supervises many programs assisting families in the court system. The Administrator can often answer questions about the Court process in a particular case, i.e. the next step to expect, the status of your case and where you can go to get help. The Administrator also reviews, before filing, emergency requests in domestic cases. The Administrator, Powel Welliver Esq., can be reached at 410-386-2401 or emailed at pwelliver@ccg.carr.org.

Deputy Family Law Administrator - The Deputy Family Law Administrator reviews all domestic cases filed and prepares orders referring litigants to mediation, and/or parent education classes. The Deputy also assists in grant writing and management, office and personnel management, assists counsel and unrepresented parties in finding resources and reaching consent orders in domestic violence cases. The Deputy, Debra L Sheppard Esq., can be reached at 410-386-2736 or emailed at dsheppard@ccg.carr.org.

Visitation Services Coordinator - The VS Coordinator administers the Carroll County Visitation Center. With a court order or written agreement and after formal individual interviews with The Coordinator, the parties use The Center for supervised visitations or for monitored exchanges of the children for visitation elsewhere. There is a minimal cost for these services. The VS Coordinator is available during business hours for consultations regarding visitation plans or for locating services in other jurisdictions. An appointment is recommended. The VS Coordinator, Casey Staubs, can be reached at 410-386-2735 or emailed at cstaubs@ccg.carr.org

ADR Practitioner - The ADR Practitioner is an attorney mediator and facilitator who is available for same day alternative dispute resolution services in all civil matters, including Orphans Court and Guardianship matters. Nathan Hoyle is available to answer any questions regarding this program at (410) 386-2402 or nhoyle@ccg.carr.org.

Domestic Navigator - The domestic case navigator will provide legal information and referrals, such as assist in completing legal forms by explaining what is required and reviewing for completion, assist by explaining the legal process and what happens at each stage, providing information about outside resources, and explaining the other services that can be provided within the court system. Please feel free to contact the Domestic Case Navigator to ask questions or schedule an appointment at 410-386-2734 or email at kwmiller@ccg.carr.org

Administrative Assistant - The Administrative Assistant provides general information to the public and helps refer litigants to the appropriate staff person. The Administrative Assistant can be reached at 410-386-2751 or emailed at gmorningstar@ccg.carr.org.

Resources

Custody Evaluations - The Court may order a full or limited custody evaluation assigned to an independent evaluator. There is a cost for these evaluations that is determined by the extent of the investigation. For further information, please call 410-386-2401 or email pwelliver@ccg.carr.org

Domestic Violence Program - Located within Family Law Administration offices, the POARP (Protective Order Advocacy and Representation Project) assists victims of domestic violence. The POARP Legal Advocate helps petitioners fill out and file petitions for protective orders and related documents for both Circuit and District Courts. The Advocate also assists in explaining the process and referring petitioners to appropriate services when necessary, such as crisis workers, counseling, and shelter. No appointment is necessary and assistance is given on first come, first serve basis. There is also a POARP attorney on staff to provide representation for eligible victims at protective order hearings. Appointments are necessary to meet with the attorney. POARP is grant funded through the Woman’s Law Center of MD and the House of Ruth and serves all of Carroll County. For further information, please contact the Legal Advocate at 410-386-2440 or emailed at cmack@ccg.carr.org.

Courthouse Family Law Advice Clinic - An attorney experienced in family law is available on Tuesdays from 4 pm- 7 pm and Thursdays from 9 am -noon to assist in the completion of family law forms and/or to provide limited legal advice on the following topics: divorce, separation, custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of marital property, mediation, name change, guardianship, domestic violence, contempts, and emergency evaluations. Service is provided on a first come first serve basis and is limited to persons below a certain income level who are not represented by an attorney. The forms are also available in the Civil Clerk’s Office and on the internet at www.courts.state.md.us/family/forms/index.html.

Children’s Waiting Room - The brightly painted and decorated room is available for use by children who come to the courthouse with an adult on court business. The room is supplied with books, games, toys, a portable crib, and a TV (with Cable access) and a VCR with children’s videos. There is no staff assigned to this area, so children under the age of eight must supervised by an adult in the room.

Conference Room - This room can accommodate meetings for a group of up to six people. The room is available for appropriate meetings, mediations, attorney-client conferences, etc. with permission by the Family Law Administration.

Legal Resources - Family Law Clinic, forms, and more.

Additional information - see the Maryland Department of Family Administration website.