SB 0174 Family Court Hearings
Committee:CIVILR Number:L0615.14T
Last Action:07/06/95 - Signed by Governor
Title:CCS/HS/HCS/SS#2/SCS/SB 174
Effective Date:August 28, 1995
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Current Bill Summary

CCS/HS/HCS/SS#2/SCS/SB 174 - This act specifies that the child welfare policy of the state is that which is in the best interests of the child. The Division of Family Services (DFS) shall forward all reports received as alleged child abuse cases to appropriate staff personnel for determination whether an investigation or the family assessment and services approach should be used to respond to the allegation. DFS shall develop protocols to insure the well being and safety of the child. This is taken from SB 286 and is also contained in CCS/SCS/HCS/HBs 232 & 485.

When a child is taken into custody under Section 211.031.1(1), the juvenile court or family court shall notify the parties of the right to a protective custody hearing in writing. Upon the request by any party, the court shall hold a hearing within three days of the request. The court may receive testimony relevant to the necessity of detaining the child out of the custody of the parents, guardian or custodian. Prior to a voluntary dismissal of any petition filed under Section 211.091, RSMo, in the juvenile court, the juvenile officer must assess the impact of such dismissal on the best interests of the child and act to minimize any negative impact.

Neither child custody nor visitation may be awarded to a parent who has been convicted of a sexual offense under Chapter 566, RSMo, or where the child is the victim of incest.


This act makes several changes relating to orders of protection. In making child custody awards where there is evidence that both parents have engaged in abusive behavior, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem when a custodial parent alleges that visitation with the other parent will damage the child. Child support and maintenance orders may be ordered by the court consistent with Chapter 452, RSMo.

Orders of protection provisions shall terminate upon dissolution of marriage except for: (1) those that enjoin the respondent from abusing, molesting, stalking, disturbing the peace of the petitioner; (2) those which require the respondent to participate in a court-approved counseling program; or (3) enjoin the respondent from entering the dwelling unit of the petitioner, unless the respondent is awarded possession of the dwelling unit. The court clerk shall notify the guardian ad litem of his appointment and provide him with a copy of the petition for the order of protection.

The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or a court appointed special advocate for the child upon entering an ex parte order for protection when it is alleged that visitation with the noncustodial parent will damage the child. A guardian ad litem, a special advocate, or the parties may motion for modification of any order of protection. If the allegations would allow for jurisdiction under the juvenile law, the court may direct DFS to conduct an investigation and provide services. A second full order of protection may be renewed for a period of 180 days upon motion by either party or the guardian ad litem. The total time for consecutive orders of protection originating from the original petition may not exceed 18 months. Ex parte orders of protection shall be personally served at least three days prior to such hearing. Failure to serve a respondent with an order of full protection shall not invalidate such an order.

Circuit court clerks shall explain to litigants the procedures for filing all forms. The clerk shall perform all duties related to these provisions without cost to the litigants.

By July 1, 1996, the child support guidelines shall address how to calculate child support in cases where joint physical custody results in the child spending about the same amount of time with each parent.

In cases where the child support rights have been assigned to the state of Missouri or the state is performing support enforcement services, findings rendered by the Family Court Commissioner shall become final when adopted by judicial order.

This act also changes the stalking law to protect children. An interim committee is established to review child visitation and child support statutes. See CCS/SCS/HCS/HB's 232 & 485.