The State Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC) is currently a 16-member panel of judges, trial court administrators, mediators and evaluators, attorneys, family court service providers, and representatives from various state agencies. The Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court appoints SFLAC members to advise the State Court Administrator on family law issues in the courts (ORS 3.436). The SFLAC also plans and implements an annual statewide conference on family law issues in Oregon to the extent that funds are available.
State Family Law Advisory Committee Overview
The State Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC) is a 16-member panel of judges, trial court administrators, mediators, evaluators, attorneys, family court service providers and representatives from various state agencies. It meets quarterly and has several subcommittees that research and provide technical assistance on specific issues of concern in family law or pertaining to family courts. The subcommittees are currently focusing on such issues such as parenting plan outreach, domestic violence, child support, self-representation, parent education and more.
In 1992, the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) created The Future of the Courts Committee to help develop a vision for Oregon’s courts in 2020. One crucial issue the committee identified was how the courts might deal with domestic relations cases and manage the increasing conflict and disruption such cases produce. As a result, in 1993 the Legislature created a task force was created to address growing concerns about the divorce process in Oregon, including the volume of family law court cases, the combative atmosphere of dissolution proceedings, the misuse of the adversarial process during divorce, and the “lasting, damaging impact on both the parties involved and their children.” As a result of the task force’s proposed legislation, the 68th and 69th Legislative Assemblies approved the creation of local Family Law Advisory Committees (LFLAC) and a State Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC) to create a non-adversarial system for families undergoing divorce that provides the families with an opportunity to access appropriate services for the transition period.
In 1998, Chief Justice Carson appointed members to the SFLAC to serve in an advisory role to the state court administrator on legislative matters, policies, and court rules in the area of family law. In addition, the SFLAC plans and implements an annual statewide conference to review legislative issues, provide family law training, review elements of successful family law programs, and foster the development of enhanced services to families involved in proceedings before the court.
In 1997, the 69th Legislative Assembly passed ORS 3.434. It required each judicial district to develop a local plan to coordinate services to families in domestic relations proceedings by January 1999. The plans were required to address the need for and provision of conciliation, mediation, child custody evaluation and parenting time services, parent education classes and methods for coordinating cases when the same child or family is involved in proceedings before the court. In July 1999, the 70th Legislative Assembly passed SB 60, which authorized the LFLACs to implement, monitor and revise the local plans, and to work together with legal service providers to coordinate access to family law resources, including family law facilitation and other services.
In 2010, several judicial districts have active LFLACs that continue to monitor family court services and work to improve access to family law resources.
View ORS 3.436
View ORS 3.438
Charter of the Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC)
Oregon Revised Statutes 3.436 provides, in part, that:
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may appoint a statewide family law advisory committee to assist the State Court Administrator in carrying out the administrator’s responsibilities under ORS 3.436 (2) and (4)(a), and in identifying family law issues that need to be addressed in the future.
The Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee’s charge shall include:
The SFLAC shall serve as the principal entity to review or identify for the State Court Administrator those family law issues in Oregon that need to be addressed and recommend appropriate action.
The SFLAC, together with the “Juvenile and Family Law Committee” of the Oregon Judicial Conference, shall make recommendations when appropriate for the major family law policy and legislative issues and initiatives as they arise for the Office of State Court Administrator and the Oregon Judicial Department.
The chair and vice-chair of the SFLAC shall meet with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the State Court Administrator once a year to discuss and advise on family law matters.
Paul J. De Muniz, Chief Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
Kingsley W. Click, State Court Administrator
View official signed charter (PDF)