Shelly Matthys is retired and is no longer practicing law

divorce checkedDivorce

As a practicing family law attorney since 1998, I understand the emotional and financial toll divorce takes on families.  Parenting and financial disputes can quickly become contentious and complicated.  As your lawyer, I will ensure your rights are protected, and the process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible to achieve the optimal outcome.

child custody checkedChild Custody

It's best if parents can work out an agreement regarding custody and parenting time (visitation).  After all, who knows your children's needs better than you?  If parents can't reach an agreement, the court will decide for them.  Creating a parenting plan that focuses on the needs of your children is critical to ensuring a healthy relationship with both parents.  Together, we'll make that happen.

finacial checkedFinancial Matters

Unlike child support, which is calculated using a formula provided by the state, there is more discretion in determining spousal support and asset distribution.   As a skilled negotiator, I'll be in your corner protecting your financial rights.

Matthys Family Law

Divorce is stressful.  Add children to the mix and the stakes become even higher.  As the decisions made in the next few months will impact you and your children for years to come, it's in your best interest to have an experienced lawyer representing you.

Having devoted my entire legal career to children, parents and the issues they face, my clients have a lawyer with the expertise to advise when to take a stand and go to trial, or when it's in their best interest to settle out of court.  My goal is to obtain the optimal outcome given your circumstances, and to do so efficiently to minimize the financial burden.

Efficient, expert legal representation.  That's what you can expect from Matthys Family Law.

Fees are based on a sliding scale determined by a client's income.

Practice Areas


Meet Shelly

attorney profile

Shelly Matthys began practicing family law in 1998 when she joined St. Andrew Legal Clinic as a staff attorney.  During her 19 years at St. Andrew she was the branch manager of the Portland office and in 2014 she became the clinic's Executive Director.  She retired from St. Andrew on January 1, 2017 in order to devote her time to private practice and community service through volunteering as a pro tem judge.  She is well known for her courtroom advocacy and the no-nonsense approach she brought to her cases. 

Child development and protection were central to Ms. Matthys's law practice, she represented children in high conflict custody cases for over 17 years and was a volunteer reader for SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) for almost 18 years.  She has served on a variety of committees in the legal community including the Oregon Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee; the Local Professional Responsibility Committee and the Multnomah County Circuit Court Family Law Advisory Committee.

Ms. Matthys was born and raised in San Diego and graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She graduated cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law.

In her private time Ms. Matthys enjoys spending time with her husband, their three daughters and five grandchildren.  She's an avid reader and movie goer who enjoys gardening in the spring and summer.



After working at a non-profit family law firm for close to 20 years Shelly is committed to making sure legal representation is available to all segments of the community. Shelly uses a sliding scale based on a client's income to determine hourly rates and retainers. Call Matthys Family Law to discuss hourly rates and retainers.

In the majority of cases the answer is yes.  There are forms available to the public to file for divorce without an attorney, but once a judgement is entered in the court docket, it is difficult to change.  You are especially vulnerable if your spouse has a lawyer and you decide to represent yourself.  At first your case may seem simple, but when the details of child or spousal support, retirement accounts, and assets such as home equity are discussed, simple can become contentious.

That being said, if there are no children involved, and minimal assets to consider, handling your own divorce may make sense.  It's always good to have a lawyer look over your documents to ensure your rights are protected. Matthys Family Law provides document review services for people who want to file their own paperwork.

It is important that you are comfortable and able to communicate with your lawyer. You will find me easy to talk to and can trust that all conversations are confidential.  For the best chance of success, you will need to inform me of details that may not put you in the best light.  That's OK.  After practicing law for over 20 years, I've pretty much heard it all.  Together we'll address the issues and work toward a favorable outcome.

It is not unusual for the financial circumstances of one or both former spouses to change over time. To modify the support provisions of a judgment the party requesting the modification must show a substantial change in cirsumstances.  In increase or decrease in a party's income and job loss or change are common reasons for a child or spousal support modification.   For more information, see Judgement Modifications.

Spouses can be legally separated by a Judgement of Unlimited Separation. A Judgment of Unlimited Separation can include child custody and support, spousal support and division of assets.  Legal separation is essentially the same as a divorce with one exception: you cannot remarry.  Legal separation is rare in Oregon as it usually makes more sense to get a divorce.  To learn more, see Legal Separation.

A common question people have when they begin exploring the divorce process is how long does it take? The answer depends on the people involved. In the past there was a mandatory waiting period which required divorcing couples to wait 90 days between filing for divorce and submitting a divorce judgment to the court. The mandatory waiting period no longer exists. Some people are able to get divorced within a month, others may take over a year. How long a divorce takes depends on the parties involved. If there are few issues to resolve or assets to divide, then spouses may be able to reach an agreement quickly, submit a judgment to the court and have the judgment signed within a matter of weeks. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, they may be headed for a trial. If that's the case, it would not be unusual for a divorce to take close to a year.

This is a question that some non-custodial parents ask. Generally, the answer is no, not in Oregon. This is because the state wants all children to be provided for financially by their parents. A parent may choose not to spend time with their son or daughter, but they cannot choose to end the parental relationship and not pay support. There is one exception to this rule, a parent can give up their parental rights if they consent to the adoption of the child by another person. Typically this happens in a step-parent adoption. One biological parent retains their rights and their spouse adopts the child. In this situation the biological parent consents to the adoption and their rights and responsibilities as a parent are terminated. He or she is no longer required to pay support and he/she no longer has the right to contact the child.

Mediation is required in cases involving custody and parenting time of minor children and those services are provided by the court system free of charge.  The mediation requirement can be waived in cases involving domestic violence.  Private mediation is an option available to those willing to pay for the service.  Parties who choose to retain a private mediator typically share the cost.  When spousal support is at issue, come counties require the parties to participate in alternate dispute resolution before trial.  Mediation will satisfy the alternate dispute resolution requirement.  Whether mediation will be successful is dependent on the parties, the issues involved and the circumstances of the case.  If you decide to mediate, you should consult with an attorney before mediation in order to get an understanding of your legal rights and how the law may be applied to your case.

Annulment: When a marriage is annulled, it's as if the marriage never occurred.  An annulment is an option if when married, you were a minor, mentally not able to understand what you were doing, or married under fraudulent circumstances.  You should contact an experienced lawyer if you think you are eligible for an annulment.

Legal Custody: The legal custodian of a child makes decisions regarding the child's education and medical care. The question of parenting time is determined separately from the question of legal custody. A divorce judgment will provide a parenting time schedule for the non-custodial parent.   See Child Custody for more information.

Legal Separation: A judgment that gives legal protections to each spouse if they decide to live apart but want to remain married.

No Fault Divorce: Oregon is a "No Fault" state.  You don't declare who's at fault or why you're separating.  You simply state that you have irreconcilable differences.

Spousal Support: Court ordered support payments to a spouse during and after the divorce process.  Spousal Support is sometimes referred to as alimony.  See Spousal Support for more information.

Temporary Support: Court ordered payments made to a spouse while legal proceedings are in progress. A judge can order the payment of both child and spousal support while the legal proceeding are in progress.   See Spousal Support or Child Support for more information.

Uncontested Divorce: When both parties are in complete agreement and will not require the court to make any decisions.  It's recommended that you have an attorney review your paperwork to ensure your rights are protected. See Divorce for more information.



Former clients may contact Ms. Matthys at shelly@matthysfamilylaw.com