Articles Posted in Mediation

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As a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 1mediationMissouri 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.

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1covid19-300x154In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the direction to increase social distancing, on April 17th, 2020 the Supreme Court of Missouri entered an Order extending its previous prohibition on in-person court appearances through May 15th, 2020.   With the exponential increase in the number of the COVID-19 cases in Missouri, and the previous extension of the closure, we can anticipate the possibility that  this Order will be extended past May 15th, 2020.  This can cause even greater uncertainty for those who are involved with the legal system.    The following is a response to frequently asked questions from non-lawyers regarding their cases, that will hopefully reduce some of that uncertainty:

Does the prohibition on court appearances mean that my case will be starting over?

No. Your case will not be dismissed as a result of the Missouri Supreme Court Order of March 22, 2020.  The prohibition is only applicable to most personal appearances at the court house.    All work and judicial orders, including any previously completed of discovery  and interim judicial orders, entered  prior to the closure of Missouri courthouses remain in effect as part of your on-going matter.   Unless otherwise extended, previous deadlines established by prior court order, Missouri Supreme Court Rule or statute for matters such as the filing of responsive pleadings, the filing of motions and the answering of discovery remain in effect.

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scalesofjustice.jpgMy Ex is pushing me to go to mediation to resolve our dispute. Should I do it?” This is an increasingly common question for Missouri family law practitioners. The answer to this question can only be reached once you have a clear understanding of the process and whether your circumstances are a good fit for mediation.
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