Class curriculum and teachers

Class length, size, cost and locations

Registering for class

Adding your attendance record to a court case

Safety concerns

Attending with other parties

Non-English class options

When a re-take is required

Class curriculum and teachers

What is the class about?

“Helping Your Children Cope with Family Change” gives parents information about legal issues, child development, co-parenting strategies, conflict resolution and community resources.

Who teaches the class?

The class is taught by two Parent Educators.  Multnomah County Parent Education Presenters are knowledgeable professionals from a variety of backgrounds including lawyers, college professors, social workers, and mental health professionals.  Presenters are available for individual questions at the break and for up to 30 minutes after class.

Why is this class important?

The ability of parents to cooperate during and after their divorce or separation has a direct impact on how well children do in school, the community and in their personal relationships.  Children can come through family changes just fine, so long as parents act in their children’s best interests and protect them from adult conflict. The class gives parents skills to help their child(ren) successfully adjust to family change.

Who is required to take this class?

The class is Court-mandated for people who are parties to a family law case that decides the custody of a child under the age of 18, including annulment, divorce (dissolution), legal separation, custody or parenting time, or after-judgment modification involving custody or parenting time.  See ORS 3.425 and SLR 8.015 for more information.  Multnomah County Family Court Services can’t waive the requirement to take the class.  Only a judge can excuse people from the requirement to take the class.

Class length, size, cost and locations

How long is the class?

The class is 3.5 hours long.  You must attend the entire class to receive a Certificate of Attendance.  

How much does it cost?

The class registration fee is $70 per person. Learn more about fees.

How many people will be there?

Classes are usually about 40 people.

When are classes held?

The one-time only, in-person class is offered in English six times each month. Get schedule details.

  • To learn the next available dates, please call our office at 503-988-3037.  Due to concern for safety of class participants, we do not publish specific class dates.

What if I can’t come to class on the day I scheduled?

There is no charge to reschedule your class if you call (503-988-3037 – leave a voice message if necessary) or email ( Family Court Services at least 24 hours before the scheduled class time.  You are allowed two free reschedules.

If you contact Family Court Services less than 24 hours before your scheduled class time, you will be charged $25 to reschedule.  If you do not notify Family Court Services before the class and do not come, you will be charged $70 to reschedule.

Do I need to bring anything?

No. It may be a good idea to bring a snack.  It is a long class and the break is not long enough for you to go out to get food.

What if I’m late?

If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will not be admitted to class and will have to pay a fee to reschedule.

I found a parenting class online.  Will that satisfy the Court’s requirement?

No, it will not fulfill the parent education requirement.  There are many online parenting classes available, and some wrongly claim to be accepted by all Courts.  Multnomah County Court does NOT accept alternative classes’ certificates. Multnomah County does offer an online class in certain situations, however (see below).  You must register for that class through Family Court Services.

What if I live far away from Portland, I’m breastfeeding an infant, or I have a disability that makes it very difficult to come to an in-person class?

Family Court Services offers an online class in English or Spanish on a case-by-case basis in those situations.  The cost for our online class is the same as for the in-person class, and you can also apply to have your fees waived.  Once you register, you can take the class whenever you want to so long as you finish it within 60 days. If you don’t complete the class within that time, you will need to pay a reschedule fee to re-start it.  Multnomah County Court also generally accepts Attendance Certificates from parent education classes offered through a court system in another County, even if it’s in a different state.

Registering for class

How do I register for the class?

You can register for the class in person, online, or by phone.  Learn more about registration.

What if I can’t afford the registration fee?

Fee waivers based on low income are available.  Learn more about fee waivers.

What do I need to do to meet court requirements? 

Do I need to pass a test to get credit for the class?

No. There is no test for the in-person class.   

How will the Court know that I attended the class?

Family Court Services will file your Certificate of Attendance with the Court the next business day after you attend the class if you have an open relevant domestic relations (family law) case at that time.  The Certificate will inform the Court that you have fulfilled the parent education requirement and will be made part of the Court’s record in your case. You will also receive a copy of the Certificate of Attendance on your way out of class.  Please be aware that it can take up to two weeks for the Court Clerk to record the Certificate, so you should plan to bring the copy of the Certificate with you if you have a court date less than two weeks after you attend the class.

If you do NOT have an open domestic relations case with the Multnomah County Court when you attend class, you will be responsible for giving the Certificate to the Court yourself when you file.

Can I take the class if I have not filed a case with the Court yet?

Yes.  Many people take the class before they begin a court case.  If a court case has not yet been opened when you take the class, we will provide you with two copies of your Certificate of Attendance at the end of class.  You will be responsible for giving one copy of the Certificate to the Court when you do file. IMPORTANT: If you do not provide the Court with the Certificate, your proceedings may be significantly delayed.

What if I lose my Certificate?

No problem.  Family Court Services is happy to provide you with a new copy upon request.

What if I have more than one case?

You can use the same Certificate in multiple cases. Please note that the Certificate is good for 5 years – if it’s been longer than that since you took the class, you will need to re-take it.

Safety concerns

What if there is a restraining order between us?

If a restraining order has been filed between the parties within the past 12 months, you may not come to the same class.  Family Court Services will not tell either party when or where the other person in the case is attending the class.

Will I be safe at class?

We make every effort to ensure our clients are safe at class.  All our classes are held in secure facilities. All participants must go through a metal detector.  No weapons of any kind are allowed. An unarmed officer from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Facility Security Unit is assigned to each class to make sure you are safe.

Can I attend class with the other party and/or my children?

Do I have to take the same class as the other parent?

No.  People in the case are NOT required to attend class at the same time, but MAY attend together if BOTH choose to, as long as there are no restraining orders or safety issues.  If there are restraining orders or safety concerns, parties may not take the class together, even if they want to.

You may register and pay for both parties at the same time if there are no safety concerns.  You are not obligated to schedule or pay for anyone but yourself.

Please let the scheduler know if you’d rather not be in the same class as the other person, even if you aren’t worried about your safety.  Many people choose to take the class separately even if they are getting along well with the other person in the case.

Can my children come with me?

Children are NOT allowed to come to the class.  Childcare is NOT available at any of the classes EXCEPT for Friday morning classes at the Multnomah County Courthouse, when VOA Court Care is available at no cost for children 6 weeks to 10 years old in Room 214.  We recommend calling Court Care at 503-988-4334 a few days before your class to make a reservation.

Non-English language class options

Can I take the class in Spanish?

Yes.  Find out more about Spanish language options.

What if I speak a language other than English or Spanish?

Interpreters for all other languages are provided at no additional cost. Find out more about non-English language options.

Under what circumstances would I need to re-take the parenting education class? 

I want to modify custody/parenting time, or the other person in the case wants to modify.  Do I have to re-take the class?

If it’s been less than 5 years since you took the class, you do NOT have to re-take the class for a modification.  If it’s been longer than 5 years since you took it, you DO need to re-take the class. The fee to take the class a second time for the same case is the discounted rate of $55.