As a divorce lawyer in downtown Portland Oregon, I frequently get asked about the parenting class requirements for family law cases in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington county. Some people already know of the class requirement, some don’t. A common reaction on learning of the class is “Me? Need a parenting class? Why?” A series of questions usually follows. “What is the cost? How long is the class? Can I waive it? Will I have to attend with my spouse?” The following is our effort to summarize the court’s authority to require the class, the reasons behind the class, and provide information about the classes in the tri-county area.
ORS 3.425 gives each family court department (or presiding judge) the power to set up a family law education class for parents in family law cases. The purpose of the class is to inform parents about the impact of family restructuring on children in family law litigation. If the county establishes a class, the class must include at a minimum information about: (1) The emotional impact of a divorce or separation on children at different developmental stages, (2) Parenting during and after a divorce or separation, (3) Custody , parenting time, and shared parenting plans, (4) The effect on children of parental conduct, and (5) Mediation and conflict resolution. The class may be required in divorce, annulment, legal separation cases, custody or parenting time petitions, modification of custody or parenting time actions, and enforcement actions. Our three local counties in the metro area (Multnomah, Clackams, and Washington) have all adopted mandatory parenting class programs.
Multnomah County: The court’s rules about the class are located in Multnomah County Supplemental Local Rule 8.125. The class is required for parties to divorces, annulments, legal separations, petitions for paternity and custody or parenting time, and modification actions if a parent has not previously completed the class. The class costs $45 – $60, depending on how fast you register. The class is one session and takes three hours. Online information about the Multnomah County class can be found at Family Court Services website. You can register online, or register by phone by calling (503) 988-3037.
*** UPDATE ***
This is an older post, and someone from Multnomah County emailed me updated information. The fees went up in 2008 – they are now $55 if prior to filing (in multnomah county) or within first 60 days after filing. $70 over 60 days or if case is in another county/state. Also, the class is 3 1/2 hours.
Washington County: The court’s rules about the class are located in Washington County Supplemental Local Rule 8.102. The class is required for the following cases where the parties have children under the age of 17: divorce, annulment, legal separation, petitions for custody or parenting time, modification of custody and parenting time, and filiation cases. The cost of the class is $145 per adult. You can pay for the class with Visa, MasterCard, debit card, and money orders. The class consists of four (4) ninety minute workshops. Classes are scheduled weeknight evenings and Saturday mornings. You can find the Registration packet for Kids’ Turn, the class schedule, and a FAQ here. You can register for the class by returning the above packet or by calling the Kids’ Turn office (503) 846-0665.
*** UPDATE ***
A reader pointed out to me that since the post was written in 2008, the cost of the class has increased to $210 per adult as of March 9, 2010, and the URL had changed. Thank you to those that bring updates to our attention.
Clackamas County: The court’s rules about the class are located Clackamas County Supplemental Local Rule 8.015. The class is required for the following types of cases where the parties have a child under the age of 18: Annulment or dissolution of marriage actions, legal separation actions, petitions to establish custody or visitation, and post-judgment litigation involving custody or visitation. The cost of the class is $60, but is reduced to $45 if your register within 45 days of filing your case. The class is one session, 3 ½ hours, held Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can register on the web, by fax at (503) 650-5656, by mail, by phone at (503) 655-8415, or in person at 2051 Kaen Rd. Oregon City, OR 97045. The registration link is here. The FAQ put out by Clackamas County Family Court Services about the Parent Education Program is here.
Our recommendation is to take the mandatory class as early as possible in the process. You may learn something to help your kids, and you won’t irritate the court.