-

The Special Masters Program

Special Masters Schedule

By: Laura Ginsberg

After two years in operation, the 25th Judicial Circuit's Special Masters Program has proven successful in helping parties and attorneys settle disputed family law cases.

The Special Masters Program provides an avenue in which parties and attorneys can present the contested issues of a family law case to an impartial third party, known as a special master. Eight attorneys have been reelected to serve another two-year term as special masters. They are: from Phelps County, Mark Calvert, Carolyn Buschjost, Kent Robinson, John Beger and Emily Woodward; from Maries County, Dawn Clayton and Al Crump; and from Texas County, Katie Anderson. The special masters were chosen by a vote of attorneys within the 25th Judicial Circuit.

"I'm very pleased to be participating for another two years." said Dawn Clayton, who practices law as a guardian ad litem for the 25th Circuit. "I think the Special Masters Program is an important and successful part of the circuit's family court program."

The Special Masters Program is the first of its kind in the state of Missouri, and was instituted as part of the 25th Judicial Circuit's unified family court program. The goal of the program is to help parties achieve faster, more satisfying solutions to family law cases.

During special masters sessions, which are confidential and held once a month throughout the year, parties and their attorneys have the opportunity to present their case to a team of one male and one female special master. The sessions are less formal than a court hearing, giving parties the opportunity to speak freely, and the special masters a chance to ask questions. At the conclusion of the session, the special masters make recommendations to the parties based on their knowledge and expertise in the area of family law.

The opinions of the special masters provide parties with a more realistic picture of what is likely to happen if their case is taken to trial and decided by a judge.

"People can have unrealistic expectations of what a full-blown trial is going to achieve for them," Clayton said. "I think part of the special masters process is education. Special Masters give the parties an unbiased opinion as to what is likely to happen at trial."

If the parties can negotiate a settlement without going to trial, it leaves the outcome of the case in their hands, which often results in a more satisfying solution for those involved. Avoiding trial also saves the family from going through what can be a long, emotionally taxing and expensive process.

"A trial is long, expensive and undeniably divisive,"said Kent Robinson, attorney at the Rolla firm Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost, P.C.. "Anytime clients are able to sit down at a table and resolve disputes through a negotiation process, there is a greater likelihood that they will reach an agreement that stands the test of time."

Currently, more than 80 percent of cases going before the special masters are resulting in parties settling without going to trial.

"Often, people just want to have their say," said John Beger, attorney with the Rolla firm Beger & Bushie. "With the Special Masters Program, parties can do that in an informal setting with much less expense, and a resolution can be reached that's acceptable to everybody with much less emotional turmoil."

michael kors Black Friday michael kors Black Friday michael kors Black Friday beats by dre cyber monday michael kors black friday michael kors black friday canada goose cyber monday hollister cyber monday lululemon cyber monday canada goose cyber Monday lululemon cyber monday Oakley cyber monday Chanel black friday coach black Friday Prada black friday gucci black friday canada goose cyber Monday michael kors cyber monday uggs black Friday coach black Friday uggs cyber monday lululemon black friday beats by dre black Friday uggs black Friday north face black Friday coach cyber Monday north face black friday coach cyber monday uggs black Friday moncler black friday uggs cyber monday uggs cyber monday true religion cyber monday nike black friday Babyliss black friday uggs cyber monday north face black friday michael kors black friday north face cyber monday michael kors black Friday uggs cyber monday michael kors cyber Monday michael kors black Friday Oakley cyber Monday michael kors cyber Monday uggs cyber monday uggs black friday uggs cyber monday uggs cyber monday michael kors black friday beats by dre cyber Monday kate spade black friday Herve Leger black friday north face cyber monday Babyliss black Friday beats by dre cyber Monday uggs black friday beats by dre black Friday true religion black friday michael kors cyber Monday uggs cyber monday North Face Black Friday uggs black friday canada goose black friday north face cyber monday deals michael kors cyber Monday uggs black friday north face cyber monday Hollister black Friday uggs cyber monday north face cyber monday uggs black friday lululemon cyber monday lululemon cyber monday coach black friday michael kors cyber Monday coach cyber Monday bred 13s uggs cyber Monday beats by dre cyber Monday coach outlet online coach cyber monday michael kors black Friday uggs black Friday michael kors black Friday michael kors cyber monday lululemon black friday michael kors cyber monday canada goose black friday uggs cyber monday uggs cyber monday lululemon cyber monday uggs cyber monday hollister black friday michael kors cyber monday gucci black friday michael kors cyber monday beats by dre cyber Monday beats by dre cyber Monday jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared north face outlet grey toe 13s coach black Friday canada goose cyber monday true religion black friday kate spade black friday kate spade cyber monday true religion black friday true religion cyber monday gucci black friday hollister cyber monday michael kors cyber monday beats by dre black Friday jordan cyber monday north face black Friday