Montgomery County has just adopted a number of changes to their local rules regarding divorce matters. Where there are pending claims for equitable distribution, the moving party should file a Motion for Entry of Grounds and Appointment of an Equitable Distribution Master. The moving party will now have to pay a $400 fee at the time the Motion is filed. The Motion should certify that all discovery is complete. A list of all the assets and debts at issue along with their corresponding values must also be included. Finally, the initial pre-hearing statement should be attached including a completed Inventory and Appraisement. Once the Motion and all its required accompaniments are filed, a copy of the same should be served on the other party. A Certificate of Service should then be completed and filed with the court.
The non-moving party has forty-five (45) days from the date of service to file their own pre-hearing statement and Inventory and Appraisement. Similarly, a copy should be served on the moving party and a Certificate of Service should be filed with the court. The non-moving party must also certify that all discovery is complete and include a list of all assets and debts with values as of the date of filing the certification. The failure of either party to comply the Rule may result in sanctions including the disallowance of testimony or introduction of evidence at the time of the equitable distribution proceedings from the party that failed to comply. Where equitable distribution, alimony or counsel fees is not at issue or has settled by agreement and grounds have been established, the moving party can file a praecipe to transmit the record for divorce decree.