(503) 399-9829

Family Law Solutions

Let us handle the legal aspect of your case.

We will advocate for you and advise you about your rights and help you obtain a reasonable and fair resolution. Life is hard enough without dealing with the court system. We take on the stress of the legal issues and dealing with the courts, attorneys and the other party so that you can focus on your family and your future plans. About 95% of family law cases can be settled without a courtroom battle.

Schedule a free thirty minute consultation with Mr. Nordyke to review your situation and receive advice.

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Business meeting at a cafe

40+ Years

Over 10,000 Cases

I am an experienced Salem attorney providing services at two price levels: reasonable fees for contested and complex divorces and low fees for simple and uncontested divorces. Most of the uncontested cases can be completed for $1500, plus the court filing fee and some cases cost as little as $1000, plus the court filing fee. 

We understand that trying to navigate through a divorce proceeding, whether it is trying to find out how to file the initial papers or how to respond when you have been served by the other party, can be a confusing and scary experience. There can be many issues to resolve, including child custody, paternity, parenting time, division of assets and debts, child support and spousal support, just to name a few. 

We also deal with modifications of custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support. Some cases will be handled in part by my associate, Virgil Royer, who is also my son-in-law and a full time divorce and family law attorney. 

Together we have about sixty years of total legal experience which makes it possible for us to accurately predict your final result. We also frequently work together to think through the issues and plan an approach that will achieve a fair and reasonable outcome. 

Legal Specialties

Our law office focuses only on the following legal matters.

  • Simple and Uncontested Divorces
  • Contested & Complex Divorces
  • Child Custody Disputes
  • Child Support
  • Parenting Time/Visitation
  • Paternity
  • Domestic Partnerships
  • Custody for Unmarried Parents
  • Modification of Judgments
  • Changing Custody, Parenting Time
  • Changing Child or Spousal Support
  • Immediate Custody Orders
  • Temporary Custody and Temporary Child Support Orders
  • Restraining Orders
  • Trials, Court Hearings, Arbitration, and Settlement Conferences regarding the above legal matters

General Information

  • Information about fees and costs is available by phone.
  • Schedule a free thirty minute consultation for some basic information before starting a case.

for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment to start your case.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a case cost?

Most uncontested and simple divorces are $1500, plus the court filing fee and any costs for service of the documents on the other party. Our lowest rate is $900 for simple cases with no children and minimal assets and debts, plus the court filing fee and any costs for service of the documents on the other party. Uncontested and simple modifications of prior judgments are $1500, plus the court filing fee and any costs for service of the documents on the other party. 

If your divorce or modification case becomes contested after you have filed your papers at court or, if you have already been served with divorce or modification papers and seek to respond, we will review the complexity of your specific case and discuss and explain the fees with you.

Do I need a legal reason to get a divorce?

No, Oregon has “no fault” divorce. The only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along, and you see no way of settling your problems. The law calls this “irreconcilable differences.”

What if I just moved to Oregon?

In almost all cases, either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for six months before filing for divorce. In addition, the divorce must be filed in a county in which one of you lives.

Do I have to pay for my first appointment?

You can have a free thirty-minute appointment with the attorney to receive information about the costs for your case and he will give you basic legal advice for your specific case.

Will I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested — that is, if you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce — you may be able to complete much of the divorce paperwork yourself, but you probably will still want advice from a lawyer. If the divorce is contested, you will almost certainly need a lawyer.

Oregon law creates a “short form” summary dissolution proceeding for people with very simple divorce cases. If you meet all the requirements for a summary dissolution, you can get the forms at the county courthouse. You can probably do this type of divorce paperwork yourself, but you may want to have a lawyer look it over.

Self-help forms for more complicated divorces may also be available. Nearly all Oregon counties now have family court facilitators available at the courthouse to assist you in completing and filing self-help divorce forms. Call your local court to see if that service is available.

What do I need to do to start a divorce?

If you or your spouse has lived in Oregon for six months or longer, you need to do three things to start your divorce:

  • You must file some documents, including a petition for dissolution of marriage, with the circuit court clerk’s office at the local county courthouse. The petition tells the court and your spouse what you are asking for in the divorce.
  • You must have the petition and any other required documents officially delivered to (“served on”) your spouse. This lets your spouse know that a divorce action has been started and what you are asking for.
  • You must pay or be excused from paying the fees that are charged for filing a divorce petition. There might also be costs for having your spouse served.

How do I serve the divorce papers?

If a lawyer is handling your divorce, he or she will have the divorce papers served on your spouse. If you are using “do-it-yourself” forms, the instructions will tell you what you need to do. Your spouse can agree to sign papers that say he or she has been served. Otherwise, your spouse must be served by either the sheriff or another adult (not you or your children).

If you receive certain public assistance benefits, or if child support has already been set, the Division of Child Support (DCS) will also have to be served with the divorce petition. If you do not have a lawyer, or if the divorce forms you are using do not have instructions about this, you can call DCS to find out how to serve them with the papers.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time it will take you to get a divorce depends mostly on the complexity of your case. If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if you and your spouse dispute the issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. Court timelines can affect how long it takes to get the final divorce judgment.

What if I am served with divorce papers?

If you agree with all the terms of the divorce as listed in the petition, you do not need to respond. If you want to challenge the terms listed in the petition, you must file a written answer —called a “response” — with the court within 30 days after you were handed the papers. Contact a lawyer, your local legal services office, or the courthouse (if your county has a facilitator program) to learn about what you can do. There is a court fee to file a response in a divorce case.

What happens in an Oregon divorce proceeding?

A divorce, also called a “dissolution of marriage” by the courts, is a way of legally ending a marriage. A divorce judgment will decide:

  • The date your marriage ends;
  • Who gets custody of the children and when the other parent sees them;
  • Who pays child support and how much;
  • Who will pay health insurance for the children;
  • Who should pay past bills;
  • How property (including retirement benefits and a home) will be divided; and
  • Whether one spouse will pay spousal support (alimony) to the other.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time it will take you to get a divorce depends mostly on the complexity of your case. If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if you and your spouse dispute the issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. Court timelines can affect how long it takes to get the final divorce judgment.

How much does a divorce cost?

Court costs and filing fees range from $100-$400. The circuit court clerk’s office at your local courthouse can tell you the costs and fees in your county. If you cannot afford to pay the costs and fees, you can ask the judge to waive your payments or defer them to a later date. You will need to fill out court papers that show your income is low, and possibly that your expenses are more than your income.

If you hire a lawyer, you will need more money. The more complex the divorce is, the more it will cost. The more issues you and your spouse disagree about, the more work your lawyer will have and the more expenses you will have. Ask your lawyer to explain fee and billing procedures at your first conference. Be sure you know what the lawyer’s charges include, and that you get this information in writing. Sometimes a lawyer will agree to represent you at no cost initially, if you own a house that has some equity in it.

If your spouse’s income is much higher than yours, the judge may order your spouse to pay your lawyer. If your income would allow you to make monthly payments to a lawyer, you can call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service for help finding a lawyer who offers payment plans. The number to call is (503) 684-3763 from the Portland area, or (800) 452-7636 from elsewhere in Oregon. An online referral request form is also available at www.osbar.org/public.

Can I take back my former name?

Yes. The judge must give you back a former name if you ask for it in a divorce.

What is mediation?

Mediation is one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained person tries to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. Many counties offer this as a free service through the courts. The judge might order both of you to go to mediation in an attempt to agree on divorce issues such as child custody, support, parenting time and property division. If this process is not appropriate for you because of safety or other concerns, you may ask that the requirement be waived.

All mediation proceedings are private and confidential. Neither party is required to agree to any solutions proposed by the mediator. If you are able to reach agreement on some or all of the issues, a written summary of that agreement is usually sent to the lawyers by the mediator.

If you and your spouse cannot agree and one of you will challenge the divorce issues in court, a judge will have to make a decision about the issues. Temporary orders may be issued concerning custody, support, parenting time and costs before your divorce trial. A custody decision may be made prior to a decision on any other issue.

What is a legal separation?

A legal separation is a court order that states who gets the children, who pays support for the children, whether spousal support is ordered, and who gets what property. You might want a legal separation if your religious beliefs prohibit divorce, if you or your spouse have not lived in Oregon long enough to file for divorce, or if one of you needs to be covered by the other’s medical insurance. A legal separation costs about the same as a divorce. Filing for legal separation does not prevent a divorce from being filed.

The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that you are still married after a legal separation. Therefore, you still have the right to inherit property from your spouse if you are legally separated. If you are divorced, you lose that right.

Case Complexity Varies

In the simplest case, there are no children of the marriage, no real estate, and no valuable assets. Most people with this type of divorce have household furnishings, cars, bank accounts, and few debts. Be sure to bring information on birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, and date of marriage when you are ready to start a case.

If there are children involved, there could be additional complexity depending on the reasonableness of the other party, and some cases may have urgent issues requiring quick action. We will discuss custody, visitation, child support and health and life insurance at your first meeting. You will need to provide proof of your income, child care costs and health insurance costs. If you have real property, we will discuss some ideas about keeping, selling or dividing the real property, as well as who will make the payment of the mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance. Dividing a pension may carry an extra charge because a Domestic Relations Order is required to divide retirement assets.  On all cases other filing fees and court fees will apply. Here is a link to the current Marion County fee schedule.

Contested Cases

In a contested case, the client normally has already been served with divorce papers by the other party and seeks my help with responding to the petition that was filed. Each case is unique and you can discuss that matter with me before making a decision.

Complicated Cases

If you have more than one piece of real estate, a retirement to divide, or more complex issues regarding debt and assets, I will explain your rights and will discuss costs when you come in for your first appointment. Since each case is slightly different, I will explain your costs when you come in and at that time, you can make your decision. If you do not want to go forward, you will owe nothing for the consultation.


In an uncontested case, a week after your first visit, your petition will be ready to sign. At this time, you would usually pay the filing fee. The cost to have a private company or sheriff serve papers is $45-$75, but it is free if your spouse comes in to get their papers or if you have a friend serve your spouse. Thirty days after the papers have been served, if the case is still uncontested, you return to the office to sign a declaration, and I will send it to the court with your final judgment granting divorce. You will be unmarried on the day that the judge signs the final judgment.


We know it can be tough finding all of the right links to click, documents to file, and terms to understand. That is why we compiled the following information to make your life a bit easier as you move toward a legal resolution. 

Glossary of Terms


This term is applied when one married spouse leaves the marital home. In some areas this may be grounds for divorce or may reflect adversely upon the spouse who moves.


This term refers to sexual intercourse by a married person outside of the marriage. In some areas this may also be grounds for divorce or adversely affect the offender’s case.


Sworn statement in writing usually made under oath or on affirmation before a magistrate or officer (often a notary public).


Also called maintenance or support. See Maintenance.

Alimony Pendente

Spousal support to be paid by one marital partner to the other during the pre-trial period of separation.

Change of Venue

Change of judge or location.

Chart Child Support Method

Method used in some legal jurisdictions to establish a base for determining child support. Takes into account the gross incomes of both parents, less special adjustments (such as support paid for children of previous marriage), and a figure for the amount of money (usually stated as a monthly sum) that will be required to be spent for the child. The court has the authority to deviate from the formula as it deems necessary in each case.


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law giving you and your covered dependents the right to continue group health coverage on a self-paid basis if eligibility for employer-sponsored group medical and dental insurance is lost through loss of employment or through divorce. COBRA eligibility is usually for 18 or 36 months after the event.


Cost of Living Adjustment.

Contempt of Court

The deliberate failure to comply with the orders or directives of the court.


Any issue on which the Petitioner and Respondent cannot agree, which must then be decided by the court.

Custodial Parent

The parent who has physical custody of the child.


Failure to respond in the prescribed manner within a given period of time. The Respondent in a Petition for Dissolution is said to be in default if he or she failed to respond within a set period of time, usually 30 days after the date of service.

Deferred Compensation Package

This includes all retirement assets, such as pension, 401K’s, IRA’s, and any variety of saving or postponed income which has been earned during the marriage.


Pre-trial disclosure of pertinent facts and documents, including financial figures, by one or both parties.


The court’s calendar schedule.


The point at which children become financially independent, or reach the age of 18 or 21, depending on the wording of a state’s laws.


On or from one side or party only, sometimes used in reference to the absence of the opposing party.


The basis for action or complaint, as in grounds for divorce.


A court session in which testimony or arguments are offered by attorneys or involved parties for the purpose of resolving a legal dispute.


A formal or written question that must be answered under the direction of the court.

Joint Legal Custody

Situation in which both parents continue to make joint decisions for their child’s education, medical care, religious training, camp, and other day to day matters.

Joint Physical Custody

A situation wherein the child spends time sleeping in both parents’ homes.

Lump-Sum Alimony

Alimony (a.k.a. spousal support, maintenance) money is given in a single lump-sum payment.


Also called alimony or spousal support.


A non-adversarial process in which two or more parties work through discussion and compromise toward agreement with the aid of a neutral party, or Mediator. In Divorce Mediation, the Mediator works with the divorcing spouses.

Motion to Modify

A motion put before the court requesting that changes be made in physical or legal custody, or in child support payments, thus modifying the existing arrangement.


Written or verbal appeals to the court for some sort of temporary relief, such as maintenance, child support, attorney’s fees, etc.

No-Fault Divorce

A divorce in which neither party has been accused of or found guilty of any misconduct.

Non-Custodial Parent

The parent with whom the child is not physically living.

PDL Motion

PDL Motion Pendente lite (Latin), or pending in the litigation. Any motion filed before the Petition is presented in court. Cannot be filed until at least 30 days after the Respondent is served with notice of intention to divorce. See Motions.

Petition for Dissolution

The wording used in some states for the legal Petition for Divorce.


The spouse who files for divorce.

Pre-Trial Motions

See PDL Motion and Motions.


A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a court order declaring that one spouse shall be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s pension as a part of the marital assets.

Quit Claim

To release or relinquish legal claim, or a document relinquishing claim, as in a quit claim to the deed to the marital house.


The act of rebutting or contradicting in a legal suit.

Request for Production

Part of the discovery process in which one attorney asks for the other side to produce documents they deem necessary to the case, such as financial documents.


The spouse whom the Petitioner is seeking to divorce.


The fee paid to an attorney or other professional for their services, sometimes representing advance payment for anticipated future services.


The act of serving the Respondent with legal papers, such as the Notice of Petition for Dissolution.


See above. These papers are usually presented to the Respondent either by mail, or in person by a County Sheriff’s Deputy or Process Server.


A legal summons requiring that one appear in court as a witness to give testimony.


Written notice to appear in court either as a defendant or a witness.

Temporary Motions

See Motions and PDL Motion.


The formal legal process in which the court (judge) receives evidence and testimony to enable him or her to decide in a dispute between two parties.


When all issues have been resolved in a manner acceptable to both parties, the divorce is said to be Uncontested.


The legal right of a non-custodial parent to see his or her child (children).


After a lifetime of working as a family law attorney in Salem, Robert Nordyke has been featured in publications for thinking outside the box to help people with legal issues and there have been many Google reviews written by satisfied clients. Mr. Nordyke’s late father was a Senior Chief Counsel for the State of Oregon Department of Justice and one of his daughters, Vanessa Nordyke, is an attorney with the Oregon Department of Justice.

No Cracks, Please! Bob Nordyke Offers a Window of Opportunity for People Driven to Divorce

January 29th 1990 | People Magazine

Robert Nordyke, an attorney—a rather flamboyant attorney—was looking for new office space in Salem, Ore., where he practices. At that time, about three years ago, a savings and loan vacated a ground-floor branch office in his building. Despite the steel vault and a few other unusual extras, the space seemed perfect, so Nordyke, a one-man law firm who specializes in matrimonial matters, rented it. Of course, that left him with the bank’s drive-through window, with its microphone, retractable drawer and inch-thick bulletproof glass.

Eureka! Salem now has its very own Drive-Up Divorce service, for splitting spouses who don’t want to get soaked in the process. “In Oregon,” says Nordyke, 44, “we have a lot of rain. Some people don’t want to get out of their cars.”

Actually, Nordyke mostly uses the window for serving legal papers. When a client is ready to serve papers on his or her spouse, the spouse is advised to drive up to the window. There, one of Nordyke’s two secretaries, safe behind the bulletproof glass, serves the papers through the drawer. The spouse then drives away. No muss. No fuss. No process servers. “We consider it a more friendly way of dealing with that service,” says Nordyke. “It’s a lot less painful and a lot less embarrassing, plus it saves the $15 or $20 the sheriff would charge.”

Nordyke jumped at the idea of drive-through divorce because he had been toying for years with notions of novel legal services, such as a $10-a-question law booth in a shopping mall. He says the window is sometimes used several times a day and sometimes goes several days without a taker. To make it a little less institutional-looking, Nordyke had an artist paint the law firm’s shingle that hangs above it and had the whole office decorated in Art Deco, complete with glass blocks, 1930s lamp and clock-design wallpaper, all visible through the window. “I decided to offset whatever tackiness might be associated with that window by having a nice-quality decor,” he explains.

Nordyke, who went solo after his first law firm objected to his moonlighting membership in a rock band, specializes in low-cost divorces starting at $100, with $100 added if there are kids and another $100 for divvying assets. Nordyke, who was himself divorced in 1988 after a 12-year marriage, estimates that he has handled 4,000 divorces—about 10 percent with the help of the window

Drive-up divorce

February 24th, 1987 | Tri City Herald

Attorney Robert Nordyke stands in front of the drive-up window at his office that is in an old bank building in Salem, Ore. Nordyke says the window lets him provide service to his clients while using time efficiently.

Newspaper clipping of the

Lawyer Helps Spouses Driven to Divorce

October 29th, 1989 | L.A. Times (abstract)

The idea for a drive-up legal window occurred to [Lawyer Robert Nordyke] years ago, when he concluded that the increasing number of simple divorce cases and America’s “fast-paced society” might make the plan viable.

When office space in a former bank building opened up in 1986, Nordyke saw his chance, and rented the end of the building where the bank’s drive-up window had been located. Except for hanging up a sign, little was required to transform the window from a place where people could get some money to one where they could lose a spouse.

Today the window still has a buzzer to warn of arriving customers and the bank’s old mechanical drawer that can transfer things to people waiting in a car. About the only changes are the presence of the office stereo system and Nordyke’s golf balls and putter, used for occasional practice sessions.

People Like You

“Robert and his staff are pleasant to work with and highly responsive to questions. They took care of every detail and did so accurately. They helped me to create realistic expectations as we began to work together and results exceeded my expectations in terms of time-frame and outcome. Thank you Robert and Sandi for your hard work!”

Melinda Cooper

“Robert took on our case after we had started the process on our own. We thought that we could handle the litigation, but quickly realized that we needed a seasoned professional to help with the communication.

Robert met with us and took the time to honestly share what our real rights were. In the end we received more than we had ever thought possible.

We are a new family with a bright future ahead and we could not have done this without their help.”

Sarah & Josiah Coleman

“I just had my initial appt. With Mr. Nordyke and I’m extremely pleased with the entire experience. He is very knowledgeable and experienced, and will not sugarcoat anything for you. He does not pressure you, but gives you the facts. His staff, Sandi and the front desk were amazing. I would highly recommend Robert Nordyke to anyone!!”

M. Moore

Get In Touch

We look forward to providing helpful advice, resources and services so you can reach a verdict and enjoy the next season of life. Call my legal assistant, Sandi, and she will help ease your mind and explain how we can help. She will gladly put you in for an appointment to meet with me to explain your circumstances and ask questions.

Robert E Nordyke

380 Madrona Ave S.
Salem, Oregon 97302


Phone: 503-399-9829
Fax: 503-399-9053