Divorce & Co-Parenting Mediation
Family mediation, including divorce and/or co-parenting, is an out-of-court process whereby neutral facilitators, called mediators, help parties (you and your spouse/partner) resolve some or all their issues surrounding divorce/family reorganization in ways that are mutually acceptable. Mediators do not provide legal advice.
At Six Rivers Dispute Resolution Center, we practice facilitative mediation. This means we help you and your spouse/partner make decisions concerning your family’s future. We are not the decision-makers; you and your spouse/partner are. We do not offer evaluative mediation (which focuses on how the law might resolve disputed issues) or transformative mediation (which focuses on the co-parenting relationship).
To determine if our style of mediation is a good fit for your family, you may want to consider the complexity of your family’s issues, whether you can advocate for yourself, and any special needs of you, your spouse/partner and your children.
Also, before deciding to mediate, it’s important for you and your spouse/partner to consider all your process options (as summarized below). While mediation is a great process for many families, it may not be the best process for your family.
PROCESS OPTIONS FOR DIVORCE/FAMILY REORGANIZATION:
Moving from top to bottom, the process options become increasingly reliant on third-party decision makers (i.e., you and your spouse/partner have less control). These options also tend to become more expensive, less private, and take longer.
DIY (Do-It-Yourselves): Parties negotiate divorce/family reorganization on their own with little to no court involvement.
Mediation: A third-party neutral, mediator, helps parties resolve issues and negotiate divorce/family reorganization in a mutually satisfactory manner with little to no court involvement.
Collaborative Law: Each party works with a collaborative lawyer who provides counsel and advocacy as parties negotiate divorce/family reorganization in a mutually satisfactory manner with little to no court involvement.
Arbitration: An arbitrator, acting much like a judge, determines the terms of divorce/family reorganization in a court-like setting with relaxed procedural rules. Parties represent themselves or hire attorneys.
Litigation: A judge determines the terms of divorce/family reorganization in a formal and public court proceeding. Parties represent themselves or hire attorneys. The judge’s decision is final and can only be over-turned on appeal.
Alternative Court Processes: At Judicial Settlement Conferences, a judge, acting much like a mediator, helps parties resolve their issues outside of trial. At Informal Domestic Relations Trials, parties represent themselves before a judge in a relaxed court setting with fewer procedural rules.
IMPORTANT: The information provided in this information sheet does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only. Parties are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal advice about their divorce/family reorganization process options before deciding on any one process. For more information, please see the resources listed below.
Hood River County Circuit Court, Family Law Facilitator, https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/hood_river/programs-services/Pages/facilitator.aspx, phone at 541.386.3535 ext. 70890.
Oregon State Bar, Lawyer Referral Service, online at https://www.osbar.org/public/ris#ris, phone at 503-684-3763 or 800-452-7636.
Oregon State Bar, Modest Means Program, https://www.osbar.org/public/ris#mm, phone at 503-684-3763 or 800-4527636.
St Andrew Legal Clinic, https://www.salcgroup.org/family-law, phone at 503-281-1500.