452.372. 1. When a person files a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation and the custody or visitation of a minor child is involved, the court shall order all parties to the action to attend educational sessions pursuant to section 452.605. Parties to a modification proceeding who previously have attended educational sessions pursuant to section 452.605 may also be required to attend such educational sessions.
2. In cases involving custody or visitation issues, the court may, except for good cause shown or as provided in subsection 3 of this section, order the parties to the action to participate in an alternative dispute resolution program pursuant to supreme court rule to resolve any issues in dispute or may set a hearing on the matter. As used in this section, "good cause" includes, but is not limited to, uncontested custody or temporary physical custody cases, or a finding of domestic violence or abuse as determined by a court with jurisdiction after all parties have received notice and an opportunity to be heard, but does not mean the absence of qualified mediators.
3. Any alternative dispute resolution program ordered by the court pursuant to this section may be paid for by the parties in a proportion to be determined by the court, the cost of which shall be reasonable and customary for the circuit in which the program is ordered, and shall:
(1) Not be binding on the parties;
(2) Not be ordered or used for contempt proceedings;
(3) Not be ordered or utilized for child support issues; and
(4) Not be used to modify a prior order of the court, except by agreement of the parties.
4. Within one hundred twenty days after August 28, 1998, the Missouri supreme court shall have a rule in effect allowing, but not requiring, each circuit to establish an alternative dispute resolution program for proceedings involving issues of custody and temporary physical custody relating to the child.
(L. 1998 S.B. 910)
Missouri General Assembly