Family Law (Domestic Relations)
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 (Pendleton Office): (541) 276-6685 or (800) 843-1115
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 above to schedule an appointment.
FREE CLASS - Filing for Divorce or Custody
The Circuit Court is currently offering a free class each month in Pendleton and Hermiston (Circuit Court is currently offering a free class each month in Pendleton and Hermiston (see flyer for dates, times and locations), covering the basics of how to fill out your paperwork to file for divorce and/or custody. The class is open to everyone, regardless of income. Please purchase or print your paperwork ahead of time and complete as much as possible before attending this class (see packets on the OJD Family Law Program Website - Family Law Forms). You may also want to bring note paper, post-it notes, and paper clips.
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.
There is NO CHARGE for restraining order forms or to file for a restraining order, and the initial hearing is nomally held within one business day after filing your paperwork. Application and information is available from the Circuit Court or on the OJD Family Law Program Website (see Domestic Violence). Be sure to read the instructions carefully to be sure you qualify for a restrainng order. If you or your children are in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement agency, domestic violence shelter, or dial 911. Contact numbers for domestic violence shelters can be found on our Family Law Resources List, or for more detailed information about Restraining and other protective orders, see the OJD Family Law Program Website (Domestic Violence). You can also use our Turbo Court link, which asks you questions then prepares your Restraining Order paperwork based on your responses.
Forms and other Resources
Many form packets with instructions can be printed from the OJD Family Law Program Website (Family Law Forms) or purchased ($0.25 per page) from the Circuit Court during business hours. NOTE: Clerks cannot provide legal advice or fill out forms for you, but you may schedule an appointment with the Family Law Facilitator to get additional explanation of our forms.
OJD Family Law Program Website
This site has instructions and forms for filing many type of Family Law cases, sample parenting plans, and other useful information. Please note that some materials are no longer being updated.
Family Law Cases involving Minor Children:
All Dissoulution (Divorce) cases involving minor children and Custody cases require a Proposed Parenting Plan to be filed with the petition, and to be included as part of the final judgment. While you are allowed to submit any Proposed Parenting Plan you wish, the Court has sample forms that may help you. If the other parent files a response, you may have the help of a mediator to draft a final Parenting Plan before the judgment enters.
If you don't want to make any changes, use the Standard Plan.
If you wish to choose between some options, use the Standard Plan with Options.
Persons filing Family Law paperwork involving minor children in Umatilla and 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 hours. If you prefer, you may complete the approved on-line class (also available in Spanish) and submit your proof of completion to the Court. There is a fee for the on-line course. Please contact the court ahead of time if you need to reschedule your class.
If you and the other parent don't agree about custody and/or parenting time, the court will schedule a status check hearing to determine whether you must attend mediation. A mediator is a third party who can assist in preparing a Parenting Plan focused on the best interest of the children that works for both parents. Up to four hours with a court-approved mediator is available at no cost to the parties. The mediator will NOT make the decisions for you. If the parties cannot reach agreement, the judge will decide any remaining issues. Mediation does not apply to persons applying for a restraining order.
Child support is determined by the child support guidelines and is based on the parents’ income, the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, and other factors.The Division of Child Support
(Oregon Department of Justice) has information and rules regarding child support, as well as a calculator program to help families estimate their monthly child support obligation. The worksheets produced by using the calculator should be submitted with a petition for dissolution, custody, or modification even if the amount of support being requested is different from the calculated estimate. You may also want to consider this when developing your parenting plan, as the amount of time each parent spends with their children is factored into the calculation
Child Support Calculation Worksheets
Divorce / Separation Cases not involving Minor Children
If you and the other person don't agree about the distribution of property and your case does not involve minor children, you may be required to attend arbitration. An arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a decision that the parties must follow. The court will notify you if you must select an arbitrator.