Skip to main content

Family Law

Family Law cases include divorce, separation, unmarried parents, and modification cases about child custody, parenting time, and child or spousal support. There is generally a fee for filing these types of cases. Additional information may also be found below regarding protective orders.

If your case does NOT involve minor children but the parties disagree about the distribution of property, you may be required to attend arbitration. An Arbitrator is a professional who will listen to both sides, then make a legal decision that the parties must follow. The court will notify you if you must select an arbitrator.

In Oregon, “Custody” means having the final authority to make major decisions for the children, such as the children’s religion, education, health care, and where the children live. “Parenting Time” addresses when the children will be in the care of each parent.

Any divorce, separation, or custody case involving minor children requires a Parenting Plan to be filed with the petition and final judgment. The 6th Judicial District has various Parenting Plans that may be used (see our Local Forms page), but you may draft your own plan if you wish. More options are available through the State of Oregon Children & Families pages. The court will generally approve any agreement if both parents agree and it appears to be in the children’s best interest.

If the parties do not agree on the details of the parenting plan, the court requires both parents to attend Mediation (unless a special exception is allowed). Mediation is a chance for the parents to settle custody and parenting time issues out of court instead of going to trial and asking a judge to make these decisions. The mediator is a neutral person who helps guide confidential settlement discussions, provides information, and writes down agreements. There is no fee for court-ordered mediation, and any agreement must be approved by both parents. If a complete agreement cannot be reached, the judge will decide any remaining issues at a hearing or trial.

Persons filing Family Law paperwork involving minor children in Umatilla or Morrow Counties are required to complete a class informing parents about the impact of family restructuring on children. The Court will schedule this class and send you notice stating when and where you must attend. The in-person class is FREE to participants and lasts approximately two (2) hours. Please contact the Court ahead of time if you need to reschedule your class.

If you prefer, you may complete the approved on-line class, Children in Between (also available in Spanish), and submit your original Proof of Completion to the court. There is a fee for the on-line course.

In most cases, the court will order child support if you have a child and no child support order already exists. To calculate the expected amount based on Oregon Law, complete the Child Support Calculator. You must attach the completed Child Support Worksheets to your proposed judgment. If the amount of support you are requesting is different from what the calculator or worksheet says, you must explain why and how you reached that amount. For more information about Child Support, see the Oregon State Courts Child Support page.

Either party can ask the court to make temporary orders after the petition is filed (or motion in a modification case). Some examples include orders for temporary custody in cases where the children are in “immediate danger,” orders to establish a temporary parenting plan while the case is pending, or “Status Quo” orders preventing the parents from changing the children’s normal schedules. These are effective as soon as they are signed by a judge and last until a judge changes the terms, signs the final judgment, or dismisses the case.

If you have been a victim of physical abuse or threatened abuse, you may be able to get a protective order that tells the person who hurt or threatened you to leave you and your children alone. There are various types of protective orders with different rules, so read the instructions carefully or consult an attorney to help you determine the appropriate type of order for your circumstance. You may also want to contact the Domestic Violence center nearest you for immediate assistance (see "Getting Help & Additional Resources" section below).

Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Order

This process is intended to provide you with protection from abuse by family, household members, or someone with whom you have had a sexual relationship. The abuse must have been committed within the last 180 days.

Elderly Persons and persons with disabilities abuse prevention act (EPPDAPA)

If you are a person with disabilities, or if you are 65 years of age or older and not a resident of a long-term care facility, you may be eligible for this restraining order. A restraining order is an order of the court that restricts the person named in the order to stop threatening or abusing and to stay away from you.

Sexual Abuse Protective Order (SAPO)

This is available in certain cases where a person was subjected to unwanted sexual abuse by another person who is not a family member or intimate partner.

Stalking Protective Order

You can get a Stalking Protective Order if you and/or a member of your immediate family or household are being stalked. Stalking is usually characterized by a pattern of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly alarming or coercing another person, or engaging in unwanted and repeated contact.

Family Law Facilitator

The family law facilitator helps people who do not have an attorney file divorce and custody paperwork. Our facilitator is generally located in Pendleton, but also spends one day a week in Hermiston, and may be available in Heppner on an as-needed basis. To schedule an appointment, please call 541.278.0341 x240.

The facilitator CAN:

  • Explain what court forms are available and what each costs, if anything.
  • Explain general court procedures and processes in Family Law cases.
  • Review your paperwork for completeness.

The facilitator CANNOT:

  • Give legal advice, or tell you what to write in your paperwork. If you need this kind of help, you should consult an attorney.
  • Fill out paperwork for you.

Family law cases can be very complicated. Court staff CANNOT provide legal advice, fill out your forms for you, or tell you what to say in court. If you need assistance, please contact an attorney. You may also find helpful links and phone numbers on our Family Law Resources List.

Legal Aid of Oregon

Legal Aid of Oregon is a non-profit corporation that provides free legal assistance to low income clients with non-criminal problems. Please call the number below to schedule an appointment.

Pendleton Office: 541.276.6685 or 800.843.1115

Oregon State Bar Association

The Oregon State Bar Association can refer you to a local attorney specializing in the area of law you need. The Bar website also has other information about various legal topics.

Lawyer Referral: 800.542.7636

Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can contact one of the local centers for emergency help and information.

East Side of County (Pendleton) 541.276.3322
West Side of County (Hermiston) 541.567.0424

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how