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Family Court

Linn County Family Court assigns cases on a one judge / one family basis. This allows judges to review family issues in a comprehensive manner, consolidate hearings when appropriate, issue non-conflicting orders, and craft solutions that best fit family needs.

Linn County Circuit Court offers two different kinds of trials in family law cases, an Informal Domestic Relations Trial (IDRT) and a traditional trial.

The IDRT is a simpler procedure for people without lawyers, although lawyers also may use it. The Court offers IDRT because traditional trials require parties to follow the rules of evidence and the court rules, which can be more difficult for people without lawyers. In IDRTs, the judge asks the questions and the parties can give the judge written statements from witnesses. The judge will decide how much weight to give to the evidence.

In a traditional trial, the parties call witnesses to the stand and ask them questions. Questions must comply with the rules of evidence. Written statements usually are not allowed.

An IDRT will be used only if both people involved in the case agree to it and file a notice.

The court requires parties to complete a parent education class in all contested domestic relations cases involving child custody or parenting time. A notice of appearance will be sent to each party indicating the date and time of the class. SLR 8.021

Arbitration may be required in any Domestic Relations case where the only issues between the parties involve the division of property and debt unless it is waived by the Court. The arbitration fee is paid directly to the assigned arbitrator. SLR 13.005

For additional information, visit the arbitration page.

Child support is money regularly paid by a parent to help support a child. The court can order child support to be paid. Oregon has guidelines for calculating support. Your attorney may calculate it for you or you may use the Division of Child Support website to access the Child Support Worksheet.

Family Law cases include divorce, separation, child custody, and modification cases involving child custody, parenting time, and child support. There is generally a fee for filing these types of cases. Circuit court fees can be found on the OJD Fees page.

In any domestic relations case, a non-custodial parent shall have the right to parenting time with the minor children of the parties according to a parenting plan, unless good cause is shown not to award parenting time.

For additional information, visit the parenting plan page.

The purpose of the Family Court Assistance Office (FCAO) is to help the increasing number of self-represented litigants with family law cases such as divorce, custody, and parenting time. The program is part of a state-wide effort to improve the accessibility of the court system to the public. A family court facilitator can inform self-represented litigants of court procedures and available court forms, review documents, and provide information about legal services and other resources available in the community.

Please be aware that FCAO staff may also assist the opposing party. Any meetings or conversations you have with FCAO staff are not confidential. A family court facilitator is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice or help with legal strategy. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney for legal advice concerning your case.

For further information - contact the Family Court Assistance Office

Mediation is an opportunity for the parties 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 settlement discussions, provides information, and writes down agreements. There is no fee for court-ordered mediation.

Mediation is mandatory in all contested custody and parenting time cases unless waived by a judge. The Mediation Coordinator will schedule the orientation and will send a notice to the parties. Family abuse restraining order cases are exempt by law. Parties should notify the mediator if domestic violence is an issue in the case. SLR 12.005

For additional information, visit the mediation page.

Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Orders are intended to provide for 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.

Restraining Order (FAPA) forms must be completed in their entirety and filed no later than 8:30am, Monday – Friday (excluding legal holidays) in Room 107 at the Linn County Courthouse. Restraining order petitions submitted online by iForm must be submitted before 4pm to be heard in court the following day. If the forms are filed online, the clerk will contact you using the phone number listed on your documents to confirm your court appearance. Restraining and all protective orders currently require an in person court appearance.

Forms may be obtained in the Forms Center, at the courthouse outside Room 107 or in Room 107 during business hours. If you need assistance completing the forms, the clerk can review them on a first-come, first-served basis in Room 107. Note: court staff cannot provide legal advice or opinions on your case.

There are several different types of protective orders:

Linn County Resources for Protective Order Assistance

Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence provides free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Services include but are not limited to a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, crisis counseling, support groups and court advocacy. Court advocacy services include assistance with filing restraining orders or other civil paperwork, safety planning, court accompaniment and resource referrals. Please call the 24-hour hotline at 541.754.0110 or 1.800.927.0197 for assistance. For more information, please visit the CARDV website.

Legal Aid Services of Oregon provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals. Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) provides assistance in family law matters to victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. LASO does not assist with initiating restraining orders, but can assist Petitioners if the restraining order is contested. Generally, LASO does not assist Respondents in restraining orders. LASO can assist on stalking orders and elder and disabled abuse prevention orders. Please call 541.928.1095 for more information.

Victims’ Assistance within the Linn County District Attorney Office helps crime victims navigate the criminal justice system process and provide assistance that promotes establishing victim stabilization after the crime. The Victims’ Assistance Program works to ensure that victims are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Please call 541.967.3805 for more information.

Instructions and Forms for:

A Sexual Abuse Protective Order (SAPO) 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.
Instructions and Forms for SAPO cases

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.
Instructions and Forms for Stalking cases

Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA)
If you are 65 years or age or older and not a resident of a long-term care facility or a person with disabilities, 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.
 
Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO)
Respondents who are subject to these orders must give all of their deadly weapons and their concealed handgun license to a law enforcement agency, gun dealer, or someone else who can lawfully hold them within 24 hours. Respondents are not allowed to possess weapons until the order expires or is cancelled, terminated, or dismissed by a judge. The court will tell Respondents how to surrrender their weapons if the order is granted.

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