People involved in family law cases may find it advantageous to reach agreements providing practical solutions to the issues in their case. Litigants are encouraged to “settle” as many issues as they can and only litigate those issues on which they cannot agree. Mediation is an effective process for negotiating family disputes.
Mediation is a way for people to discuss issues and possible resolution of their family law matter by working with a “mediator” who is trained to help people communicate and negotiate. Mediation is especially helpful when children are involved. Separating parents can work with a mediator to resolve the financial and legal issues, such as child custody, parenting time and child support, without damaging their future ability to coordinate their parenting. More information about mediation is available from the Association of Missouri Mediators.
All judicial circuits are authorized to establish a mediation program for custody and parent access disputes (Supreme Court Rule 88.03). Many circuits have established a local rule requiring mediation. Check with the circuit clerk in the county where your case is pending or will be filed.
Mediators also may be hired privately. The Supreme Court maintains a list of mediators who meet the qualifications to mediate family law cases. The list is available from The Missouri Bar.
The statewide MARCH mediation program offers free mediation for many family law matters (not dissolution).