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EFFECTIVE September 1st, 2021

new child custody mediation mandate

If you live in St. Louis County you might have heard about the new child custody mediation mandate that went into effect on September 1st, 2021. This mandate has made big changes to how parents have to approach the delicate issues of child custody. The good news is that BLG Law is officially certified to handle your custody mediation case with the same care & expertise we provide for any of your family law needs.

Before you ask the judge to make a decision about custody of your children, effective September 1, 2021, St. Louis County has mandated you will need to participate in 2 hours of custody mediation, to see if you can get the situation resolved between the two of you.

Many other counties in Missouri already have a custody mediation requirement, and it is a statewide rule in Illinois. Studies have shown that the parents are usually the best equipped to come up with a custody plan for their kids, and they are often able to do this with the assistance of a neutral mediator.  If you and your children’s other parent can work together to accomplish this, it will expedite your case, and save you thousands in attorney fees. Our team is more than happy to help you facilitate your custody mediation in compliance with the mandate.

Below is the mandatory custody mediation rule for St. Louis County.

If you are filing a case in St. Louis County in which custody will be contested, please read it carefully, and make sure that your attorney is well-versed in it as well.


Mediation is defined as a confidential process in which a neutral facilitates settlement discussions between litigants. The neutral has no authority to make a decision or impose a settlement upon the litigants. The neutral focuses the attention of the litigants upon their needs and interests, rather than upon rights and positions. Settlement is entirely voluntary and, in the absence of settlement, the litigants do not lose their rights to a trial.

All litigants who have not reached an agreement on custody and visitation issues as evidenced by a signed and filed parenting plan are required to use mediation. The parties shall participate, in good faith, in a minimum of two hours of mediation.

This rule may be complied with as follows:

  • Litigants may jointly and voluntarily agree upon a mediator who is on the St. Louis County Family Court approved mediator list to conduct confidential mediation;
  • The Court may order litigants to mediation with a mediator on the St. Louis County Court approved mediator list to conduct confidential mediation; OR
  • Litigants may be ordered to work with Domestic Relations Services in St. Louis County Family Court for the purposes of screening and evaluation of their parenting plan. The use of Domestic Relations Services is not confidential.

You can read all of the details on the new St. Louis County Custody Mediation Mandate in our latest blog post here. At BLG Law we can handle your custody mediation needs & are more than happy to discuss your case or the details of the mandate to best assist you.

The bottom line of this mandate is that couples are the best people to make decisions on how the custody of their children is handled in a divorce, paternity case, or separation and should make every effort to do so in a fair & accommodating way. In the event that an amicable settlement cannot be reached via mediation, the couple can then take their case to trial.

If you’re in need of a child custody mediator in St. Louis County - BLG Law is here to help.

Give us a call at 314-725-7600 or fill out the form below & we will get back to you to discuss your case further!

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