If you are considering representing yourself in a Missouri family court matter, this alert is being released to simply make you, as a court user, aware of a potential concern. Please follow up with your own research and make your own decisions. Clerks are NOT allowed to give legal advice and this announcement should not be taken as such.
In 2008, the Supreme Court of Missouri created the Committee on Access to Family Courts (CAFC). Since its inception, CAFC members have worked diligently to insure access to justice in family courts throughout Missouri by drafting and approving statewide forms, educational materials, a self-help test, and much more, all in an effort to help individuals self-represent in certain family/domestic court matters.
Recently circuit clerks, across the State of Missouri, have seen an increase of pro se filers who claim to have paid a third party company, typically an online company, considerable sums of money, for the same, or ever so slightly altered versions of the same, documents currently available through the State's website free of charge.
Per local court rule, Pro Se filers must use the official CAFC created, and Supreme Court approved, forms in Scott County. Unapproved forms often result in delayed cases and have, upon occasion, even resulted in the dismissal of newly filed cases. If that's not enough to concern you, consider thi, the filing fees cannot be refunded just because a case is dismissed.
Please do your homework before purchasing online family court forms. To better serve you, please check out the link below to see if information is available for your situation. As always, if you are unsure, seek the advice of legal counsel for direction and assistance.
Christy M. Hency, Scott County Circuit Clerk