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Conciliation FAQs

Frequently asked questions about conciliation (divorce mediation) services.


Conciliation Services began in 1975 to assist people considering the dissolution of their marriage. In 1984 the legislature authorized the Court to provide mediation services to assist couples in reaching agreement about custody and parenting time before a court hearing. The goal is to empower parents to make decisions regarding custody and parenting time based on the best interest of the child. In addition, successful resolution by parents will save them both time and money. 

Mediation is a cooperative problem-solving process in which a neutral professional assists the parties to define the issues in the dispute, and to make agreements that are in the best interest of the children. The disputing individuals meet at the same time with a mediator who is trained to help parties solve problems in a cooperative manner. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the parents but helps them to communicate and to explore alternative solutions. The mediator may offer suggestions and help parents develop options to resolve the issues, but the final agreement is up to the parties. 

Mediation Orientation and Parent Education are offered in an informal, combined session that is required before parties mediate.  This service is offered virtually through Microsoft Teams in a class-like format.  Parties are required to register for a particular Mediation Orientation and Parent Education date, complete registration paperwork and pay the fee. 

Mediation is offered remotely and attended by you and your co-parent.  Parties have the option of participating telephonically or virtually via Microsoft Teams.  Many of the questions regarding mediation are answered during the Mediation Orientation and Parent Education class.

Parents are more prepared to use their mediation time effectively after they have acquired relevant information at orientation. 

If court ordered, you are required to complete the Orientation and Parent Education and a Mediation session. Orientation and Parent Education is a combined three-hour course offered Mondays at 8:15 a.m. or some Thursdays at 1:15 p.m. The session is presented virtually via Microsoft Teams. Participants are required to have their cameras on for the duration of the course, and no one else may be present. It is facilitated by our staff members and includes:

  1. A power-point presentation
  2. An overview of child development, children’s needs, the impact of these changes on their lives and how to manage the shifts that result from these changes
  3. An overview of Mediation
  4. A summary of expectations and parameters
  5. An opportunity to ask questions
  6. The process for scheduling Mediation appointments. Note: All sessions are scheduled for two (2) hours.

Morning appointments are available Tuesday through Friday and are offered at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.

Afternoon appointments are available Monday through Friday and are offered at 1:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.

Voluntary and mandated mediation are provided to help parents resolve custody and parenting time disputes.  This service is provided to Washington County residents with minor children experiencing challenges in developing or implementing their custody and parenting time arrangements. 

If you do not have an open domestic relations case, you may proceed with voluntary mediation.  If you have an open domestic relations case, you may proceed as if it is Court Mandated Mediation.  Once you have an open case, you are required to complete an orientation before mediating.

Co-parent counseling is not mediation.  It is an opportunity for parents to address issues that are often not addressed in their custody and parenting plan agreement. Examples of topics parents bring to co-parent counseling are: 

  1. Communication 

  1. Parenting Styles 

  1. Specific challenging topics that need to be addressed outside of court

  2. Changes or concerns that have arisen sine their mediation agreement was finalized.

Yes. If you or the other party has filed an annulment, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, petitions to establish or modify custody or parenting time or a Filiation proceeding, AND if you have a child under the age of eighteen (18) you shall attend the family law education program. 
All parties are required to complete the Family Law Education Program offered by the court-designated providers or a pre-approved alternate education program. Parties shall register for the program or make application to the court for approval of a comparable alternate program within 15 days of receiving notice of this education requirement.  Washington County now offers the Family Law Education Program called Parent Education in a combined session with Mediation Orientation.  Attending this virtual session meets both requirements.

You need to register for Mediation Orientation and Family Education.  This will give you the credit to fulfill the Family Law Education required by Washington County.

Please click our main page for fees.

If parents are in dispute over custody and parenting time, services are usually more effective when parties involved with an active domestic relations case are mandated to participate in mediation orientation and mediation. For assistance in obtaining an order for Mediation, parties may request the help of their attorney or, if self-represented, the Family Law Assistance program.

Mediation is an order of the court and restraining orders are also orders of the court. Both must be obeyed. The fact that there is a restraining order does not mean that you will be unable to reach some agreement. Conciliation Services has protocols in place to ensure safety. Please email [email protected] with any concerns or questions regarding your restraining order and/or safety protocols. A staff member will contact you to follow up.

No.  We only mediate custody and parenting time plans. 

Division of Child Support (best viewed in Chrome) 

Conciliation Services does not provide mediation training.  For information about training to become a Mediator, please contact:  Oregon Mediation Association or Clackamas County Resolution Services.  

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