Missouri courts have a state-wide set of court rules which all Missouri courts, attorneys, and litigants follow. Each Missouri jurisdiction also adopts Its own local rules which apply both to lawyers and their clients. Local rules often vary from court to court.
St. Louis County Local Rule 68 sets out certain requirements and restrictions for family court proceedings, such as dissolutions of marriage, legal separations, paternity actions, custody and support actions, grandparent visitation actions, and motions to modify. These rules influence the way these cases are filed and handled. Family law practitioners who regularly practice in St. Louis County are familiar with Rule 68 and make many of the requirements laid out in the rule a part of their internal process and handling of the matter. While much of Rule 68 guides attorneys in technical procedures, Rule 68.3 speaks more directly to the clients as it imposes requirements for litigants.
Local Rule 68.3 is titled “Automatic Family Court Order.” It goes into effect immediately upon the filing of the petition that begins the case and restricts the parties’ behavior as a means of minimizing conflict and describing expectations for the parties in how they treat each other and their children. These include:
- No harassment
- No hiding or damaging property
- Maintaining medical, dental, vision, and auto insurance
- Not relocating or denying custody of the children
- Maintaining household payments and utilities
- Restricting the use of certain accounts, including bank and retirement accounts
- Not incurring excessive debt
Violations of Local Rule 68.3 can result in penalties enforced by the court.