Office of Dispute Resolution Services

Local Court Rule
68.8 Custody/Visitation Mediation

68.8.1 The Family Court encourages the amicable resolution of custody and visitation issues through mediation as a method of focusing the attention of the parties on the best interest of the child. In every dissolution of marriage, legal separation or paternity action in which there are contested issues of custody and/or visitation, the parties (except for the State of Missouri) shall complete mediation, as provided in Supreme Court Rule 88.02-88.08 and this rule, prior to the filing of a motion for trial setting. Any motion for trial setting shall include an averment that mediation has been completed, or that there are no contested issues regarding custody or visitation of minor children, or that the case has been excluded or exempted from mandatory mediation as provided by this rule.

68.8.2 Parties may arrange for mediation privately, may apply to the court for an order of mediation, or may request services through the Family Court mediation program by contacting the Director of Office of Dispute Resolution Services to determine eligibility. To insure that mediation is available to all parties, regardless of financial standing; the Family Court Mediation Program shall provide services based on the income of the parties in accordance with guidelines established by the Office of Dispute Resolution Services and approved by the court en banc. Parties seeking to participate in the Family Court Mediation Program shall submit income information to the administrator of the Office of Dispute Resolution Services on the form designated for that purpose. Intake procedures performed by the Office of Dispute Resolution Services to screen parties for mediation and to arrange for the delivery of services, with the exception of reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect, shall be considered part of the mediation proceedings and treated as confidential under Supreme Court rule 88.08.

68.8.3 The Family Court Office of Dispute Resolution Services shall maintain a copy of The Missouri Bar Dispute Resolution Neutrals List and a list of mediators who are currently contracting to provide services through Family Court sponsored mediation programs who meet the qualifications under Supreme Court Rule 88.05. The lists shall be made available to all parties upon request.

68.8.4 Any party, upon the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date responsive pleadings are due on the original petition or upon the expiration of sixty (60) days from the date of service when no responsive pleading is required, may file a motion requesting the Court to order mediation in the matter. Movant may name a mediator in the request. Each party may petition the Court to disqualify one mediator without stating cause within fifteen (15) days of the designation of the mediator. Thereafter disqualification of a mediator shall be for cause shown. If the parties are unable to agree on a mediator, the court will appoint a mediator. The mediator shall advise the Court of any fact bearing upon a conflict of interest or bias, or any other facts that would be reason for his or her disqualification. If the Court disqualifies a mediator, an order shall be entered naming a qualified replacement. Nothing shall limit a mediator's ability to refuse assignment of any mediation under this rule.

68.8.5 Some cases may be inappropriate for mediation, which may include those with a history of child abuse or neglect or domestic violence. The Court appointed mediator, and the Office of Dispute Resolution Services in the case of matters participating in the court sponsored mediation program, shall screen the parties prior to conducting mediation sessions. If the case is deemed inappropriate for mediation, the mediator or program director shall immediately file the Notice of Mediation Compliance form with the Court.

68.8.6 Any party may request the court to waive the mediation requirement for good cause shown. "Good cause" may be established by specific averments showing that the case is not suitable for mediation, or at the request of any party, the court may refer the case for screening to determine the appropriateness of mediation. Screening procedures performed by the Office of Dispute Resolution Services shall be confidential pursuant to Supreme Court rule 88.08. The pre-screening report shall indicate only whether mediation is or is not appropriate.

68.8.7 A mediator assigned to provide services in a case by the court or a court-sponsored program shall give the parties and their counsel of record advance notice in writing of the time and place of the initial mediation session. Any mediation beyond the initial two hours shall proceed by mutual agreement of the parties. Counsel for any party may attend the mediation sessions, but shall first notify the mediator and all counsel of record of his or her intent to attend. If counsel for any party desires to attend after receipt of such notice, but is unavailable on the scheduled date, the mediation shall be rescheduled at a time convenient to all parties and counsel. Counsel and clients may communicate privately at any time during the mediation process. The guardian ad litem for a minor child, if one has been appointed, shall be considered a party to the proceeding and may participate as a party in the mediation process. The mediator shall provide the Court and counsel of record with a copy of the Notice of Mediation Compliance signed by the mediator at the termination of mediation.

68.8.8 The confidentiality provisions of Rule 88.08 shall apply to mediations undertaken to comply with this rule. Any mediator who is required by statute or program guidelines to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect shall so advise the parties and counsel in writing upon appointment. Except for the completion of the Notice of Compliance, the mediator shall make no other disclosures of a confidential nature during or at the conclusion of mediation without the consent of all participants. The identity of the party who terminates mediation shall not be disclosed.

Rent and Possession Mediation

Mediation Available

In the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Clay County, Missouri
Division VII

MEDIATION is available in Rent and Possession Cases

Mediation is a court approved alternative for settling your case without a trial. Mediation provides an opportunity to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. Agreements may result in dismissal of the case, short-term monitoring or entry of an agreed judgment.

“Mediation” is a confidential process in which a mediator assists people to communicate and negotiate effectively as they explore options for resolving their dispute.

Mediation helps when …

you need to resolve a dispute about how to calculate the claim,
you are interested in continuing the tenancy as long as appropriate arrangements are made, or
you want to explore unique options for resolving your dispute.

For more information or to arrange mediation contact:

Dr. Teri Hargrave, MS, GRCT
Director Dispute Resolution & Family Court Programs

Restorative Justice

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a process to involve those who have a stake in a specific offense, to the extent possible, to collectively identify and address the harms, needs and obligations in order to heal and put things right. (Howard Zehr, 2002)

Guiding Questions of Restorative Justice

Who has been harmed?
What are their needs?
Who has a stake in this situation?
Who is obligated to repair the harm?

How is it appropriate, involving stakeholders, to put things right?

Benefits of Restorative Justice

Since 1997 our programs result in greater victim satisfaction, lower re-offenses, increased rate of restitution paid and community service performed, all at a reasonable cost. Services are funded by Clay County and a Juvenile Court Diversion grant from the Missouri Division of Youth Services.

Restorative Justice in Missouri

Approximately one-third of the juvenile courts in Missouri incorporate some restorative principles into their practices. Restorative programs are very successful in reducing recidivism rates (re-offenses). Victims are much more satisfied participating in a restorative justice process, in part because offenders who engage in a restorative justice program are very likely to honor the restitution arrangements they make with their victims (90 to 95% compliance in Clay County). Victims find the process fair, and appreciate having an opportunity to explain the impact of the crime to the offender.

Contact Information

Clay County Juvenile Office

Programs in Clay County

Community Justice Boards

A Community Justice Board offers the community the opportunity to have an active role in discussing the harm caused by crime and finding a just way to repair the harm. When a victim is unable to directly address an offender, the volunteers serving on the Community Justice Board speak on the victim's behalf.

Boards meet with juvenile officers, offenders, and their parents or guardians to discuss what happened, how individual victims and the community were affected by the offense, and to develop a plan to make things right. In most cases victim and offender are restored as members of the community, crime is decreased, and recurring harm is avoided.

To Become a CJB Volunteer

Volunteers complete an application and background check, and receive training on board policy and procedures. Volunteers determine how often they wish to participate. For more information please contact us.

Respect Program: Victim Dialogue with Offenders

Crime victims have rights under Missouri's state constitution, including notification about the status of a case, and information about their options for collecting restitution, including the Missouri Crime Victims Compensation Fund. Respect helps crime victims to get answers to questions they have about the offense and to seek restitution. A juvenile offender who is willing to take responsibility may then be referred for further screening and a possible meeting with the victim to discuss the harm and how to make things right. These sessions are conducted in safe settings monitored by trained mediators. Restitution arrangements are monitored until completed.

C.A.R.E. Community Service and Restitution Endeavor

This program allows juvenile offenders referred by a juvenile officer to earn money through community service that is paid toward the restitution owed to a crime victim. Several area nonprofit thrift stores are partners in C.A.R.E.