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General Information

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party assists the parties to a dispute reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediators help the parties communicate, develop solutions by focusing on party interests, and allow parties to express their feelings. There is no resolution in mediation unless all parties agree. Mediation happens in a private setting, and usually is confidential unless the parties agree otherwise.

Mediation assistance is not legal advice, and mediation does not replace the need to seek individual legal advice about your case. We encourage you to have any mediated agreement reviewed by your attorney before you sign it.

Mediators listed on court panels and who volunteer for the court have been screened to ensure they meet minimum training and experience qualifications.  They do not work directly for the court and are usually paid by the parties.  Custody and parenting time mediators are paid through the court's conciliation fund.

Small Claims, Landlord/Tenant Cases

Contested small claims and FED cases are usually referred to mediation before a trial is scheduled. The service, provided by court staff and volunteers, does not require an extra fee.

Mediation agreements are signed by the parties, mediator and judge. The agreement is documented as a stipulated order, and the case is dismissed. If a party does not follow a term of the agreement, the other party may file an affidavit of noncompliance and receive a judgment for whatever performance is owing, or a judgment of possession if the case is an FED. The case will remain dismissed unless an affidavit of noncompliance is filed. The affidavit of noncompliance must be filed within a reasonable time from when final performance under the agreement is due.

Domestic Relations Cases

Most cases involving custody or parenting time (visitation) dispute are required to go through mediation. Because the parents will need to cooperate in the future to raise the child or children, the court feels it is appropriate for the parents to jointly develop a parenting plan outlining schedules and how decisions will be made.

The parties can agree on a mediator that is acceptable to both sides.  In the absence of an agreement, the judge assigned to the case may choose a mediator.  Alternatively, court staff may give the parties the option to state objections and preferences to a list of three mediators, and will make a mediator assignment according to the responses.

Mediation Orientation

Before you see the mediator, the court will schedule a time for you to learn more about the process and will formally appoint a mediator to your case. When you come to court, you will hear a judge speak and you will view an orientation video.

Probate Cases

A mediation program is available for a number of cases handled by the probate department, including disputes relating to wills, trusts, conservatorship, guardianship and adoption.

Other Civil Cases

Any civil case can be mediated through this program if both parties agree, including cases that would otherwise be transferred to the court's arbitration program. The parties usually pay the mediator at the rate of $125 per hour, unless another agreement is reached regarding payment.


Phone: 503.588.5368

Marion County Courthouse
100 High Street NE
Salem, Oregon