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Civil cases where all parties have answered the complaint, and no party asserts a claim for money or general and special damages in an amount exceeding $50,000, will be assigned to arbitration.

Domestic Relations suits where the only contested issue is the division or other disposition of property between the parties will be assigned to arbitration.

Arbitration is a procedure that is similar to a trial before a judge.  The arbitrator will hold a hearing and hear testimony from each side and he/she will make a decision based on the facts and the law.

One or both of the parties may appeal an arbitrator’s decision by filing an appeal and request for trial de novo within 20 days after the arbitration award is filed with the Court. The filing fee for an appeal is $150.00 plus trial fees. If the filing parties position is improved at the trial de novo they may request their filing fee be returned.

Court-connected arbitrators have applied to the Court and have been accepted by the Tillamook County Arbitration Committee to be on our arbitrator’s list.  They are required to be Oregon State Bar members for at least 5 years.

The parties will receive a copy of the list of arbitrator’s along with the notice that the case is being assigned to arbitration. The parties may stipulate to an arbitrator who is on the list or to another arbitrator, whether or not that person is on the Tillamook County Arbitration Panel. If the parties are unable to stipulate to an arbitrator, each party may delete one proposed arbitrator whom they find unacceptable and return the list to the clerk within fourteen days of its issue date.  The Court will appoint an arbitrator from those remaining on the returned lists.  The Court notifies the arbitrator of the assignment and then the arbitrator will contact the parties to arrange a hearing date and payment of arbitrator’s fee.

The parties must pay a pro-rata fee not to exceed $600.00 total to the arbitrator. They pay the arbitrator directly their share of the $600.00. The arbitrator is paid $100.00 per hour, not to exceed 6 hours per case.  The arbitrator will refund the parties their share of the fee not used.

For further information on Arbitration please refer to Uniform Trial Court Rules, Chapter 13.


If at any time, the Court determines that custody and/or visitation is a disputed issue in a domestic relations matter, the case will be referred to mandatory mediation according to the rules of Tillamook Circuit Court's Mediation Program.  The Court will then schedule and notify the parties of a time to appear for a mediation orientation. During the orientation you will receive further information regarding the program.

Mediation is an opportunity for you and the other parent to settle your case out-of-court instead of having the judge make the decision for you. The mediator is a professional who has received special, intensive training to meet the criteria established by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the State of Oregon. Mediators for domestic relations cases are typically lawyers, social workers, or other persons who have advanced degrees and extensive training in domestic relations mediation. The mediator is neutral person who does not make any decisions or any recommendations to the Court. The mediator helps guide and organize the issues, offers information and summarizes in writing any agreements reached.  A maximum of six hours of mediation is provided by the Court through filing fees. If further mediation is needed, payment for these further sessions are shared by the parents. If the agreement you reach modifies an existing judgment or decree there will be a filing fee.