Automatic Provisions & PDL Hearings

Custody and Support

Please familiarize yourself with Local Court Rule 68.2. Under our Local Court rule, minimum contact provisions and minimum child support payments are automatically ordered. If child support under Local Court Rule 68.2 is inadequate, you may want to consider filing an affidavit under Local Court Rule 68.5.

PDL Hearings

In order for PDL matters to be heard quickly, both circuit judge and each associate judge with each county have concurrent jurisdiction to hear PDL and discovery matters until the case is set for final trial. This greatly increases your chance of finding a judge to hold your hearing within a short period of time.

Uncontested or Default Matters

Based on statistics, more than 60% of our cases are default or uncontested matters that are better handled in the same way as in a traditional court system.

Scheduling of a Default or Uncontested Hearing

To schedule a default or uncontested hearing contact one of the following individuals for a time that is convenient.
Phelps County: Gaye Lynne Sorrell
Phone: 573.458.6207 or Facsimile: 573.458.6231
Email: gayelynne.sorrell@courts.mo.gov
Maries County: Debbie Stokes
Phone: 573.422.3303 or Facsimile: 573.422.9917
Email: Debbie.Stokes@courts.mo.gov
Pulaski County: Deatte Helms
Phone: 573.774.4784 or Facsimile: 573.774.6673
Email: Deatte.Helms@courts.mo.gov
Texas County: Marci Mosley
Phone: 417.967.3663 or Facsimile: 417.967.4128
Email: Marci.Mosley@courts.mo.gov

Judgment Based on Affidavit

Attorneys who have to travel a significant distance on a case are encouraged to submit their uncontested matter based on Affidavit. See our Local Court Rule 68.11.

Contested Case - Mandatory Discovery

The following documents are required at the time the Petition or Answer is filed:
  1. Proposed Parenting Plan: Required by Local Court Rule 68.03 shall be filed as subsection 7 of §452.310, RSMo.
  2. Statement of Property and Debt: The parties are encouraged to use the form suggested by the Circuit.
  3. Statement of Income and Expense: The parties are encouraged to use the form suggested by the Circuit.
  4. Discovery: Petitioner and Respondent shall furnish answers to the form interrogatories required by Administrative Order Number 4.
  5. The parties are required to exchange information of the following documents under Local Court Rule 68.03
    1. Federal and State income tax returns (including all schedules, W 2, K 1, and 1099 forms) for the preceding three calendar years; and
    2. Pay check stubs or other evidence or wages, salaries or tips for the last six pay periods; and
    3. Any financial statements provided to a lender or prospective lender within the preceding three calendar years.
  6. Complex or Unusual Cases: The circuit understands that additional interrogatories may be necessary. This can be done by agreement of the attorneys, agreement by the parties, or upon order of any judge having jurisdiction over the family law case within the county.

Contested Case - ADR Stage

Within 60 days after an answer is filed, an entry of appearance is filed or an answer is due to be filed, the attorneys and parties, if pro se, will be given a notice requesting them to participate in mediation if the case is not resolved. The notice will give the attorneys several options:
  1. The parties can agree on a mediator and return the form;
  2. Agree that mediation is inappropriate for whatever reason and agree that the matter should be heard by Special Masters (attorneys can designate the date they would like to appear before the Special Masters);
  3. Attorneys can do nothing and the case will be assigned on a rotating basis to one of the M.A.R.C.H. Mediators available in our circuit.
  4. Request that no mandatory ADR take place because of extraordinary circumstances such as reconciliation of the parties, the case is resolved pending filed documentation, one party is on active military duty or similar extraordinary circumstance.
  5. If the Family Court Judge agrees that this case should not be referred to ADR, the Family Court Judge will review the case to make sure all mandatory documents have been filed; appropriate discovery has been completed; and will set the matter for case management conference on the next law day.
  6. After twenty-one days, if the parties have agreed to a mediator the Family Court Coordinator will enter an order of mediation and send the same to the parties and their attorneys. The parties, or their attorneys, are then to contact the mediator within seven days after receipt of the notice. If the parties have selected Special Masters, the Family Court Coordinator will send out a notice requiring the parties and attorneys to appear at a specifically designated time. In most instances it is contemplated that the mediation sessions or Special Masters phase will be completed within sixty days from the time the order of mediation is sent or the notice of Special Masters Session is sent.
  7. At any point in time during the ADR phase, (which by the way we expect 80% of the cases to settle), the parties can proceed to have this matter heard as an uncontested matter.

Contested Case - Case Management and Trial Phase

If the case has not been heard as an uncontested matter, default matter, or contested matter within six months after the answer was filed, the entry of appearance was filed or the answer was due to be filed, the Family Court Judge in each county will set the matter for case management conference and trial setting on the next Circuit Law Day in that county.
  1. Case Management by telephonic or electronic means. Pursuant to the policy statement of the Family Court Improvement Committee (consisting of all attorneys), when all parties consent, attorneys will be encouraged to utilize telephone conference calls to attend the case management conference, resolve pretrial discovery disputes and set the matter for trial. This is particularly true for attorneys whose office is located in a county different from where the case is set for trial.

  2. At the time of the case management conference and setting the matter for trial, the Family Court Judge will confirm that each party has complied with document preparation rules and document exchange rules for the family court. If documents have not been filed the Family Court Judge will make appropriate orders to assure the rules and administrative orders of this Circuit are complied with and that the case can be tried in an expeditious matter.
  3. Determine what issues remain contested after the utilization of available ADR resources within the Circuit.
  4. Determine there are no other foreseeable issues (such as the necessary appointment of a Guardian ad Litem).
  5. Set the matter for trial to a Judge agreed to by the parties. If the parties cannot agree on a trial judge, the matter will be submitted to the Presiding Judge for assignment and the Presiding Judge will also set the trial for a date certain and attorneys and parties will be required to appear on that date with no exceptions.

  6. Note: After the case has been assigned to a Judge for trial, then any last minute discovery issues or emergency issues must be set before that Judge. The case will proceed to trial on the date agreed to and before the Judge agreed to by the parties or will proceed to trial by the date selected by the presiding Judge.
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