How Do I?

Frequently we are asked for information regarding who, what, where and how do I questions. Below we have provided information regarding those questions that are most frequently asked.

Visitation Rights Denied

Missouri’s Family Access Act provides relief for parties who have been denied their visitation rights as specified by a judgment of dissolution or other order of the court. This act does not apply to adult abuse cases. You do not need the help of an attorney to file this action; however you must meet the following requirements:
  • You and the person you are filing against must have a court order from Cole County which establishes custody or visitation. The Cole County order must specifically address custody and visitation.
  • The person you are filing against must be a party (e.g. parent of the child or children).
  • The person you are filing against must have violated the specific terms of the Cole County court order by denying or interfering with your visitation rights without good cause.
Forms are provided for your convenience. The circuit clerk’s office may be able to assist in completing these forms. However, your circuit clerk’s office will not provide legal advice. You may need to seek legal counsel if you are unable to complete or understand these forms. Please follow the link to Family Access Forms. See recommended guidelines for filing new civil cases New Case Filing Guidelines (PDF) and motions to modify.

Note: Some forms require a filing fee and/or service fee be included with the filing. For information regarding filing fees please select the local court rule tab on this website and search for fees.

[Back to Top]

Dissolving a Marriage

Following are the steps in a dissolution case with minor children:
  1. Filing of Original Petition
  2. Issuance and service of summons
  3. Court sets the date of hearing
  4. Filing of Original Answer (and possibly a Counter Petition)
  5. Parents attend a parent education program
  6. Mediation to explore areas of agreement and disagreement
  7. Discovery (exchange of information needed for trial)
  8. Pre-trial conference
  9. Trial (may be contested or non-contested hearing)
  10. Entry of Judgment of Dissolution
Effective April 1, 2009, every party not represented by counsel who participates in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage shall use the forms approved by the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Access to Family Courts. Please follow the link Representing Yourself to information and resources for those involved in family law matters. See recommended guidelines for filing new civil cases New Case Filing Guidelines (PDF) and motions to modify.

[Back to Top]

File Small Claims

General Information

The small claims court is a division of the circuit court. The small claims court is a people’s court and was established to help people handle their small cases (claim amount does not exceed $3,000 without an attorney; however, if you feel you cannot adequately represent yourself and protect your own interests, you may retain an attorney to assist you.

Small claims proceedings are informal in nature. You must fill out all required forms and present your own evidence in court. There are specific rules that must be followed if you are to succeed on your claim. A Small Claims Booklet (PDF) was designed to introduce you to many of the rules and to assist you in pursuing your claim in a small claims court.

In Small Claims Court plaintiffs act as their own attorney unless they choose to retain an attorney to represent them. The plaintiff must complete all forms and present their own evidence in court. The Court provides all forms necessary for the filing of a small claims case. They should be filled out by the plaintiff and must be legible, printed in black ink or typed.

If you have additional questions or for further information about local court rules, forms, and fees, please check with the small claims court clerk.

[Back to Top]