Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a night drop box?
No. The Clerk's Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., except for court holidays.
How much does it cost to file a civil complaint?
It costs $135.00 without an attorney and $145.00 with an attorney. Please see Civil for the most frequently asked fee questions.
How do I get a copy of a transcript, and what does it cost?
See Transcripts for information on obtaining a copy of a transcript and the rates that apply.
Is there space at the Court House to take depositions?
No, there is not any space in the Court House for depositions.
Does the Court offer any services for self-represented litigants?
How do I request an interpreter?
Please see Request for Spoken Language Interpreter.
What can I bring to the Court House?
How can I find out what cases are to be heard at the Court House the next day?
Dockets are posted each weekday afternoon between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and list the cases to be heard in the Howard County Circuit Court during the following court day. Please see Dockets.
How do I request a postponement of my hearing?
Please see Postponement Policy Information.
How do I request an expungement of my record?
Expungement is the removal of records from public inspection. Please see Expungement.
What is the recording process for deeds?
All deeds must be submitted to the Howard County Finance Office before they can be recorded. Please see Land Records page for more detailed information.
Who do I call if I have questions about a lien sheet?
Please call 410.313.2389 for questions regarding lien sheets.
How do I obtain my original deed as my mortgage is now paid in full?
Approximately one month after your settlement date, you should have received your original recorded deed. If, however, you have not received your original deed and your mortgage is now paid in full, you need to contact your lawyer or your title company to obtain your original deed. You can only obtain a copy of your deed from Land Records as the Land Records Department does not keep original deeds.
Does the Clerk's Office notarize documents?
No, the Clerk's Office (including the Land Records/License Dept.) does not notarize any documents.
How do I get an authentication of a Howard County Notary Public?
Authentication may be obtained in person or by mail at the Land Records/License Department located at 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia, Maryland and the fee is $1.00 per authentication. Please see Notary Public for more detailed information.
Does the Land Records Department prepare any documents that are to be recorded?
All documents to be recorded must be prepared before they are presented for recording. The Land Records Department does not prepare any documents for recordation.
If I was married in a foreign country, do I need to apply for another marriage license?
No. If you were married in a foreign country, your marriage is recognized by the State of Maryland.
When do I need to apply for a marriage license?
You will need to complete a marriage application at least 48 hours before the marriage ceremony. Marriage licenses are issued Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., except for court holidays. Please see Marriage for more detailed information.
What method can I use to pay for a marriage license or a marriage ceremony?
The Clerk's Office does not accept credit/debit cards. Payment for a marriage license or marriage ceremony is payable in cash only.
How do I obtain a certified copy of my marriage certificate and how much does it cost?
Certified copies cost $5.00 each and may be obtained from the Marriage License Department. Please see Marriage for more detailed information.
Where do I go to obtain a copy of a record of a marriage?
The Land Records/License Department has marriage records dating back to 1908 for marriages that took place in Howard County. Before that date, you can go to the Maryland State Archives. The Howard County Historical Society also has some marriage records.
How do I obtain copies of my divorce papers or if I have any questions regarding divorce?
Please contact the Civil Department at 410.313.3844.
What are the requirements to obtain a business license?
- You will need to register your entity or sole proprietorship with the State Department of Assessments & Taxation (“SDAT”) and obtain a SDAT account number (as issued by the Assessments Office – it begins with a letter)
- Full Name of Entity or individual name (if sole proprietor)
- Registered Trade Name (if applicable)
- Federal Tax ID Number (for entities) or social security number (for sole proprietors)
- Sales & Use Tax Account Number (obtained from the Comptroller's Office) – Construction and Other Businesses that do not sell anything will not need a Sales & Use Tax Number, but must still register with Central Registration
- Location address and Mailing address (if different from location)
- Telephone number
- Worker's Compensation number (Insurance Binder number) if you have employees
- For a trader's license, the amount of inventory in dollars
When are business licenses issued?
Business licenses are issued Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., except for Court holidays. Please see Business Licenses for more detailed information.