Family Law Mediation

If you wish to schedule family law mediation with us and you have not been to mediation with us before (for child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support and/or property distribution matters), you must first come to Mediation Orientation. Pre-registration is not required. Child care is not provided during the class. Please make alternative arrangements for your children.

Orientation occurs most Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in our office, with a maximum of 30 people per class. There will be a limited number of appointment slots for mediation sessions following the orientation, on a first-come, first-served basis, based on when the second party arrives. Mediation sessions occur from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

See our upcoming orientation dates.

If both you and the other party arrive on time, attend the entire orientation, and feel ready to proceed to mediation with us, you will be scheduled into a session on a first-come, first-served basis, based on when the second party arrives.

If you don't yet feel ready to proceed into mediation, you may schedule a future session shortly following orientation.

Please arrive at least 20 minutes early (by 8:40 a.m., and no earlier than 8 a.m.) to check in. If you think you may wish to proceed to mediation with us.

If there is an active restraining order in your case and/or you don't feel comfortable being in the same room with the other party for orientation, you may attend a separate orientation session.

Please note that there are several ways to satisfy the requirement for participation in appropriate dispute resolution under Clackamas County Supplementary Local Rule 8.017. Mediation with us is one option.

For more information, please email us at rs@clackamas.us.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Mediation is a method of resolving disputes and reaching agreements. In mediation, the mediator acts as an impartial person who assists the parties in negotiating with one another, offers information, and summarizes in writing any agreements reached by both parties.

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Mediation is one method of resolving disputes. Some people choose mediation because they find it less expensive than litigation. Others wish to resolve issues in a more amicable, non-adversarial way. Current research shows us that children's well-being after divorce is significantly impacted by the degree of conflict between the parents. Mediation can help the parties decrease the conflict between them and work cooperatively for the benefit of the children. Research also indicates that parents are more likely to adhere to agreements arrived at through mediation than imposed by a third party, another reason why some people choose to create a parenting plan through mediation.

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Our Family Law Mediation services assist parties to reach agreements regarding issues such as child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, finances and property division. These services are offered to married and unmarried partners, and to parties who are currently separating or divorcing as well as to those who have post-divorce changes in circumstances. Some people come before they have filed anything in court. Others come after they have filed. Still others come to mediate issues that have arisen since the original order. Most people come to mediation when they recognize that the use of an impartial person may be helpful in resolving the issues between them.

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The confidentiality of our Family Law Mediation services is protected by state law. There are certain limitations to the protection of confidentiality. Staff will review the protections and limitations of confidentiality in the initial appointment, and answer any questions you may have.

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In Clackamas county, parties to a family law action who have a dispute must attempt some kind of appropriate dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation is one way to satisfy this requirement.

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Our highly experienced and professional Family Law Mediators on staff have masters' level education in the law and/or a behavioral science, such as social work or psychology. They have advanced family law mediation training and have completed supervised mediation internships, and meet the requirements of Court-Connected Family Law Mediators under the Chief Justice Order No. 05-028. In addition, the staff attends numerous continuing education trainings each year.

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Our mediators do not make decisions for parties, do not perform child custody evaluations, and do not make recommendations to the court.

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We are committed to client safety. Mediation is helpful for many parties, but is not helpful or appropriate in all circumstances. We are required by law to assess for domestic violence in mediation cases. Staff conducts an initial and ongoing evaluation to determine the presence and degree of domestic violence between the parties, and to take steps to protect the safety of the participants accordingly, up to and including terminating the mediation. Clients are encouraged to share any concerns they have about their own or another person's safety with our staff. Parties with a no contact order arising out of a criminal case may not mediate.

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Each party is scheduled for a 45 minute individual session. During the initial individual appointments, we will work with each person to determine whether mediation is appropriate in their case, and, if so, what additional arrangements are necessary for client safety during the mediation process.

Mediation is not required, but is permitted in these cases if the protected party requests mediation. The restrained party cannot initiate family law mediation. This is also true in the following cases:

  • You have a FAPA restraining order, stalking protective order, sexual abuse protection order, or Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse protective order
  • The protected person requests mediation
  • Mediation is structured to be in compliance with the protective order (e.g. shuttle)
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Mediation meets the needs of most participants. A significant majority (about 75%) of clients who seek our services, and for whom there is an opportunity for agreement (meaning that both parties to the dispute come to mediation and agree to mediate), reach agreement on some or all of the issues between them. In addition, many parties report that through mediation, the level of conflict between them has decreased.

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Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice or legal representation. We encourage all mediation clients to seek the advice of an attorney regarding their individual situation and needs. We also recognize that many parties in family law actions are "pro se," or represent themselves rather than being represented by counsel.

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If you have a family law case pending before the court, you are entitled to two mediation sessions at no charge. Thereafter we charge $125 per hour. Sessions are typically 90 minutes and may be set for two hours under specific circumstances which require more time. Parties share the cost equally, unless you agree to a different cost sharing plan. Some service fees may be waived if you have applied for and been granted a fee waiver by the Clackamas County Circuit Court.

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The number of sessions that clients need varies, depending on the number and complexity of the issues the parties wish to resolve. The average family law mediation case takes under 4 sessions. Very complex cases can take 10 or more sessions, although this is rare.

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If the appointment is a court-ordered domestic relations mediation, all persons other than mediation services personnel, the parties, their counsel and children of the parties shall be excluded from the appointment. If not court-mandated, any third party may participate if consented to by all parties.

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We recognize the importance of being aware of the needs of the children when making plans for the future. We will talk with parents to evaluate their and their children's needs. If both parents agree that it would be beneficial for a child to meet with the mediator directly, such a meeting can be arranged. The mediator does not perform child custody evaluations. Our Family Law Mediators are certified in Child-Inclusive Mediation.

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Yes. We provide mediation in Spanish and contracted interpreters for ALS and other languages upon request.

Please see Servicios en Espanol.

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We offer high quality, affordable mediation services to families. Our mediation services are one option for resolving family law-related issues. Private mediators are also available, and can be located through the telephone book or the Oregon Mediation Association. Some parties reach agreements on their own without the use of professionals, other parties opt to work only through their attorneys. There are also some resources available for parties who wish to represent themselves. Please see our Links section for more information. Our staff will happily provide you information about the resources in our community to help you determine what the best option for you and your family. Any of these options will satisfy the ADR requirement:

  • Hire a private mediator
  • Arbitration
  • Judicial settlement conference (available only if both parties are represented by counsel), or
  • Neutral-assisted settlement conference.
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If you have not been to mediation with us before (for child custody, parenting time, child support. Spousal support and/or property distribution matters) attend mediation Orientation, held most Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. You can schedule an appointment after that. Some appointments are available immediately following orientation beginning at 10:30 a.m., based first-come, first-served when the second party arrives. Both parties must be present and you must be ready to mediate.

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Generally, we recommend that you bring copies of any legal documents you have with you. If you wish to mediate a change in an existing order, please bring a copy of that order. If you wish to mediate financial or property issues, please bring supporting documents such as proof of income, auto and real estate values, etc. If you are mediating a parenting plan, you may wish to write down what you are currently doing and/or what your proposed plan is. You may find it helpful to review "How Do I Get Started?", a publication of the Oregon Judicial Department, prior to your appointment.

We are unable to provide childcare during mediation appointments. Please make alternate arrangements for your children.

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