Consumer Debt Cases and COVID-19

The COVID-19 emergency has changed how debt collection cases are handled by the courts. This page has information about how your case may be affected.

When will my case be heard?

On December 29, 2021, the courts returned to Phase III operations due to the spread of COVID-19. Phase III operations will run until March 6, 2022. In this phase, District Courts will limit what cases will be set for a hearing. Hearings on debt related matters may be postponed. The court will notify you of a postponement. You may also call the court to check the status of your hearing.

Some, but not all, District Courts will hold hearings on debt cases through Zoom. If this is the case you will be notified by the court. For more information about hearings on Zoom, review the Remote Hearing Toolkit.

How will debt collection cases be handled differently?

Hearings may be held in-person or heard remotely by phone or video conference. If your hearing will be held remotely, instructions will arrive by mail or you may receive a call from the clerk. Call the courthouse right away if you are not able to participate by remote means. General information about remote hearings in the District Courts is available here. Resources for remote participation in court hearings are available in the Remote Hearings Toolkit.

Certain judgments entered by affidavit will be vacated. Judgments will be vacated if there:

If your judgment is vacated the court will schedule a new affidavit judgment date. Notice will be sent by mail. If your address has changed since you were served, notify the court right away. Click here for a list of courts.

Stimulus payments distributed from the federal CARES Act are not subject to garnishments from circuit court or District Court cases. Read Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on garnishment of CARES Act rebates for more information.

Where can I get legal help?

Court Help Centers

Talk with a lawyer for free at the Maryland Court Help Center. Call 410-260-1392 or chat online.

Lawyers at the Maryland Court Help Center can give you advice about your civil case. They may also refer you to where you may find representation for a court hearing. They cannot help you if you are already represented by a lawyer. Read more about the court help centers here.

Free Legal Help in Debt Cases

Talk with a lawyer about your debt collection case. Attorneys can help you negotiate a settlement or file a Notice of Intention to Defend and may refer you to counsel or represent you in court.

Pro Bono Resource Center - 443-273-5200

Maryland Volunteer Lawyer’s Service - 443-451-4083