As a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Missouri and the requirement that citizens practice social distancing to combat the spread of the virus, by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, every courthouse in Missouri is closed to in-person hearings, with few exceptions. As of the time of this blog, the order extends through May 15, 2020.
As most litigants experience, our court system’s ability to react to and address issues in a contested dissolution or custody matter can be slow, under the best of circumstances. With the disruption of dockets and the cancellation of hearings that will need to be reset, it is not difficult to anticipate further delay once the prohibition is lifted and those cases that were delayed are reintegrated into the court’s calendar.
An alternative to the normal litigation process that can shorten the time until the conclusion of your divorce or custody matter is the process of Mediation, which can take place either prior to filing your case or after your case has been filed. The authority of resolving legal disputes and specifically family law matters through the use of mediation is established both by statute and by the rules of Supreme Court of Missouri.