COVID-19 Protocols for Family Court in St. Louis County

St. Louis County’s Family Courts Division issued new protocols for the handling of hearings, orders and more. These provisions remain in effect until at least May 1, 2020 in accordance with the recent Missouri Supreme Court Order; they may be amended at any time.

Other courts in the region may be following similar orders and guidelines. If you need immediate assistance with any of the matters below, please contact us at 314-449-8830.

Child Custody, Visitation and Parenting Time

Any valid Court Order regarding child custody, visitation and parenting time remains in effect and can be enforced.

If compliance with the Order poses a danger–such as a household member known to have been exposed to COVID-19–then the child’s co-parents are encouraged to work together to make other arrangements. Those arrangements should include make-up time in the future for whichever parent has less time with their child now. The court states that “failure to exercise prudent caution may be grounds for a temporary restraining order.”

If parents cannot agree, there are legal options; however, until a new agreement or court order is worked out, parents still need to safely comply with existing court orders. A parent may be held in contempt for failure or refusal to comply with a custody and visitation order. Modification of custody, a fine or monetary sanction, or imprisonment could result.

In-Person Hearings

In accordance with state orders, any Family Court proceedings conducted in-person shall be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers and others who are necessary, as determined by the presiding judge.

Anyone attending an in-person hearing will be required to fill out a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken upon arrival. No one who has a fever will be let in. Attendees should also wear a protective face mask, per CDC guidelines.

Supervised Visitation, Domestic Relations Services and the Exchange Center

All supervised visits have been suspended until May 1 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Supervised exchanges of custody may continue as scheduled, and families are encouraged to use their default location, which is agreed upon or listed in the court order. Please check the court’s website for more information.

Online Parent Education Class

Due to the pandemic, the court has suspended the requirement to complete in-person parent education programs. For now, parents may complete an on-line program called “Missouri Extension Online, Focus with Kids” to temporarily satisfy the requirement.

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

Ex parte orders of protection remain in effect until the next court date. Anyone who has a case on the Adult Abuse docket will be notified of the court date. If you need to file for an Order of Protection, go here. Check our recent blog on Domestic Violence for helpful information and resources.

With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today for any questions or to set up a consultation.