Portland Child Custody Mediation

“To be honest, when we started this mediation I had no hope that we would ever be successful. I have great respect for what you did today. My lawyer should hire you to mediate every case he has.”

-Comments from opposing spouses in a divorce case.


Divorce is hard. It’s hard on you, your partner, and most of all, your children. A courtroom isn’t always the right place to answer the tough questions that come up during divorce proceedings. Especially, “Who gets the kids?”

Child custody mediation can be an effective solution to the custody conflicts that arise during divorce. Working with a child mediator provides parents a non-adversarial, problem-solving alternative to engaging in costly and ruinous legal battles.

The scientific community agrees that long-lasting conflict causes serious damage to children. This is perhaps the best reason of all for choosing mediation to resolve child-related issues.

The Best Choice for the Children

Michael Dwyer

Child custody mediation helps families reach durable, acceptable answers to tough questions about a child’s future living arrangements. A child mediator provides a safe and sane forum for parents to explore possible solutions and navigate difficult emotions without entering a courtroom.

A mediator’s focus remains on finding solutions that meet the needs and interests of all members of the family. If parents feel stuck, an experienced and skillful mediator can offer insights and potential solutions that help to move the discussion forward.

At all times, a good mediator helps parents remember that their efforts at resolution are in service of raising children to be strong, loving, and intelligent.

Making Mediation Work

Dwyer Mediation Office

Conflict between parents is the single most important factor that determines whether children thrive after their parents’ divorce. Most parents know that when they fight about their children, the children suffer most.

Great parents understand that the adversarial nature of courtroom litigation often makes the conflict worse. Working in a safe comfortable environment with an experienced child mediator, like one provided by Michael Dwyer from Dwyer Mediation & Law, is in everyone’s best interests.

Child mediation can also help families reach compromises when conflicts related to child support and child visitation rights arise.

Child Support Mediation

During any divorce, resolving financial questions often becomes very contentious, especially when children are involved. Fortunately, a harmonious solution can often be reached through child support mediation.

Together with their mediator, parents can work towards a solution that provides sufficient financial support for their children. The mediator will balance the need for an equitable financial compromise with the importance of the children’s well-being. Without effective child support mediation both parents and children may suffer.

Child Visitation Mediation

Who will the children live with? How often will they visit the other parent, if at all? These questions are best answered through child visitation mediation. You should know that in Oregon, what is commonly referred to as “visitation” is legally known as “parenting time”, and mediators help parents develop “parenting plans.”

Abundant social science research on attachment, neuroscience, and shared parenting calls for unique parenting plans based on a child’s developmental needs. Michael Dwyer will help you create a parenting plan that is customized for your children and family.

We will consider not only the amount of parenting time, but also the quality of the co-parenting relationship. Co-parents will learn positive and skillful communication patterns in our mediation sessions.

Michael also helps parents create safe parenting plans that take sensitive issues into consideration, such as a history of drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness.

In some cases, parents need a third party to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a co-parenting relationship. Michael can help co-parents craft a unique approach that avoids litigation yet accesses a rich network of mental health professionals.

Child Mediation Outside of Divorce

In addition to child support mediation and child visitation mediation, Michael Dwyer of Dwyer Mediation & Law also mediates conflicts that arise outside of divorce.

These include situations when:

  • Parents need help making post-divorce changes to visitation rights or child support. 
  • Potential parents have major conflicts regarding adoption or surrogacy.
  • Adult children find themselves in conflict over the medical needs of an aging parent or the distribution of their parents’ estate.

Meet Michael Dwyer

Best Lawyers 2015

Michael Dwyer is recognized as an outstanding mediator for family and child conflicts in Portland. He has been a board member of the Oregon chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a network of professionals committed to serving the best interests of children. 

He was named the 2015 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America for his work in family law mediation in Portland.

Michael has a thorough technical knowledge of the law, mediation, and negotiation. This, along with his grounding in child development and family systems allows him to act as a strong, warm and compassionate guide for families in crisis. 

He provides mediation services tailored to all phases of family life, including adoption, divorce, child custody, child support, dissolution of family businesses, elder issues and probate.

If you would like to learn how child mediation can help your family, contact Michael Dwyer Mediation & Law. Or call (503) 241-9456.