Missouri Family Court

A guide to Missouri Family Court from the experienced attorneys at Masterson Law. Find out everything you need to know about the Missouri court system from a trusted Springfield family law attorney here.

Family Court Missouri

This Court has exclusive, original jurisdiction in most Missouri family law matters involving marriage, child custody, abortion, adult abuse and neglect, and other related matters.

Read on to learn more about the specific situations handled by the Court and how the courts vary by location. For more information or specific court questions, reach out to Masterson Law, your trusted attorney.

Court Records: Main Information

In 1961, the State Legislature passed a law called the Public Records Law. When the legislature enacted Public Records Law, it declared that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state. This law was permitted with the most recent changes in 2006 and ensures the disclosure of court documents, including court records. court records can be accessed by contacting your local circuit court.

The Court in Missouri: Circuit Courts

The court covers a wide range of related matters, which are handled by local circuit courts. Circuit Courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases and are generally organized into divisions based on case types, such as Family Court, Municipal Court,  Juvenile Court, Probate Court, Small Claims Court, Associate Circuit, and Traffic Court.

Family Court Kansas City MO

Kansas City, MO is located in Jackson County, which is part of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court.

Court in KCMO

In Jackson County, there are three locations where Missouri family law matters may be heard. One location is downtown in Kansas City, MO. The Family Justice Center, which handles juvenile matters, is also located in Kansas City. Another location is in Independence, MO, but families residing in Kansas City may still be called to this court.

The Court in Kansas City MO

In Kansas City, family law matters such as divorce, paternity, contempt, motions to modify, child custody, and related cases are often heard at the downtown and Independence locations. Juvenile matters are heard at the Justice Center.

MO Family Court: County by County Guide

In MO, court matters are handled at the county level by the circuit courts.

Jackson County Family Court

In Jackson County, MO, court matters are handled by the 16th Judicial Circuit Court. According to their website, the 16th Circuit Court’s Court Services “operates programs to meet the diverse needs of youth, families, and the community. Through these programs, Court personnel aim to provide youth and families with new ways to cope, experience their potential, and assist youth in abstaining from delinquent behavior. Habilitation and rehabilitative services include: clear expectations and provide assistance in developing abilities to make good choices; recognize and experience individual potential; and opportunities to develop academic, vocational, and life skills.”

These services are provided in addition to standard family law court services.

Clay County Family Court

Clay County court services are handled by the 7th Judicial Circuit Court. The Clay County family court building is located in Liberty, MO. This court covers all family law matters typically assigned to This Court.

Family Court St Louis County MO

St. Louis County, MO, is serviced by the 21st Judicial Circuit. This Court has been serving the citizens of St. Louis County since 1993. The Court exclusively hears family law cases involving children and families, and functions under the principle of “one family – one Judge”. This means that all family law matters involving a specific family are assigned to the Judge or Commissioner when possible, bringing continuity and consistency to the judicial procedure.

St Louis County Family Court

In addition to hearing family law cases, the St. Louis Court provides numerous support services for those coming to this Court’s attention. These services include individual and group counseling services, parent education courses, probationary services, and restitution programs.

St Louis City Family Court

Families residing in St. Louis City, MO, are serviced by the 22nd Circuit Court. The Family Court legislation that was enacted after the 1993 Legislative Session provides for jurisdiction over legal separations, all divorce actions, child custody, adoptions, juvenile proceedings, adult abuse, and changes of title.

If you need family law assistance with any of these court matters, reach out to experienced custody lawyers at Masterson Law.

MO Dept of Child Support Enforcement

Missouri’s Child Support program began under an executive order in 1977, and on August 15, 1986, a statute established what we know today as the Missouri Child Support laws. Child Services has the duty of managing the Child Support program pursuant to Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act and Chapter 454 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

The responsibilities of this support program include establishing paternity, distributing support collections, reviewing and initiating modification of support orders, establishing child and medical support orders, and monitoring and enforcing compliance with the support orders.

Child Service clients come from several resources. When a parent receives Temporary Assistance or MO HealthNet advantages, a referral is made to the Child Support program. Child Support groups on behalf of households receiving public assistance eliminate dependence on assistance programs but reimburse the jurisdiction for the benefits provided to these families.

MO Family Services

In addition to the aforementioned court, Missouri provides a number of services to families. This includes temporary assistance programs like food stamps, children’s health insurance programs, child support enforcement, adoption, and foster care services. The Family Support Division in Missouri supports a mission to lead the nation in building the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to secure and sustain healthy, safe and productive lives.

Going Through a Divorce in Missouri

A divorce can be overwhelming, stressful, as well as expensive for everyone involved, especially if there are child custody issues. Couples do not need to have a specific reason why they don’t want to stay married (like adultery or abuse).

If couples agree on all matters, and the court only has to process the paperwork and finalize the process, that is called an uncontested divorce. On the other hand, when couples can’t agree on issues like custody of their children or division of assets, that is a contested divorce. This type requires more time to resolve all the issues the couple does not agree on, making the whole process more expensive.

To get legally divorced in Missouri, you have to file a petition in court. But, you can participate in mediation or use a collaborative process that will allow you to reach an agreement on all issues.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer For Divorce Proceedings?

When you start divorce proceedings, you shouldn’t wait long to hire a lawyer. Waiting for a long time may result in the destruction of evidence or the creation of negative evidence. If you have children, complicated financial dealings, or other issues – that may complicate the divorce as well.

Choose a trusted and highly-rated law firm that can be there for you during the tough times. Masterson Law provides aggressive and compassionate help during your divorce case or other family law legal issues.

Summer Masterson-Goethals has made a career of providing tenacious advocacy for her clients during a divorce in Missouri. Sher directly handles all cases and will be your point of contact and partner throughout the entire process.

Summer Masterson-Goethals can help you navigate all these decisions whenever you are mentally ready to proceed. Contact Masterson Law for free case consultation or any information you may need during your divorce proceedings.

For more questions on family law in Missouri, contact a trusted Springfield attorney.


Summer Masterson-Goethals
Consumer and family lawyer, former legal aid attorney and Missouri Bar Leadership Academy member, Springfield Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree. Site Map

Masterson Law
3030 E. Battlefield, Suite A
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 522-1280