Family mediation is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to family courts in making decisions regarding family issues.
The Supreme Court of Missouri authorizes all judicial courts to establish a mediation program for custody and parent access disputes (Supreme Court Rule 88). The Supreme Court of Missouri recently expanded the family law issues that courts can authorize mediation for in Rule 88. Effective July 1, 2022, all judicial circuits are authorized to establish a mediation program for contested issues, including, but not limited to, child custody, parenting time, parenting plans, child support, maintenance, and property division, both in domestic relations and paternity cases. Mediation may be conducted in person or by telephone or video conferencing.
St. Louis County has established a local rule requiring mediation. Pursuant to St. Louis County Court Rule, 68.14 effective September 1,2021, “All litigants who have not reached agreement on custody and visitation issues as evidenced by a signed and filed parenting plan are require to use mediation. The parties shall participate, in good faith, in a minimum of two hours of mediation.”
Rocco Erker is a Court Approved Mediator for the Family Courts of St. Louis County, St. Louis City, St. Charles County, and Franklin County.
Mediation is an effective process for negotiating family disputes, especially when children are involved. Parents who mutually make decisions and commit to a plan through mediation are more likely to successfully follow through with it.
FAMILY LAW ISSUES
Dissolution of Marriage
Distribution of Inherited Property
Distribution of Marital Debts & Assets
End of Life
Family Business Succession
Family Real Estate
Guardian ad Litem
Medical Care for a Parent
Modification or Enforcement of Previous Family Court Orders
Parenting Plans / Timesharing
Power of Attorney
Shared Parental Responsibility
Upkeep of Parent’s Home
Wills & Trusts
BENEFITS OF THE FAMILY MEDIATION PROCESS INCLUDE
More informal than court
Less adversarial than litigation
More flexible than the court system
Provides faster resolution
Empowers all parties involved
Puts you in control of the outcome
Fosters positive co-parenting
Peaceful for children and puts children first
Produces creative solutions
Teaches effective communication, listening and collaboration skills that can be carried into the future
Preserves the relationship among family members