Mediation

Mediation

The Honolulu law office of Blake T. Okimoto embraces mediation as an option in resolving contentious issues in a divorce, such as the property settlement, spousal support, and child custody. The court may refer or order mediation at its discretion, except in cases where one spouse is alleging either spousal abuse or family violence. Other times, the parties may voluntary agree to mediation as preferable to a lengthy court battle.


What is mediation?

Mediation is an informal method of dispute resolution where the parties fashion their own resolution with the help of a mediator, as opposed to having a binding decision handed down by a judge or arbitrator. The mediator may be a lawyer or a judge or someone specially trained in mediation techniques.


A mediator generally does not do most of the speaking, but rather facilitates communication between the parties by setting ground rules and encouraging dialogue within those rules. By providing a framework for open communication, the parties are able to have a constructive dialogue and resolve their dispute. Where the relationship between spouses is more strained or the issues more sensitive, the mediator may meet separately with each party and act as a go-between (shuttle mediation), bringing the parties together when the mediator senses that a resolution is at hand.


Attorneys may be present at the mediation in either an advocacy or advisory role, or may not be present at all. Even when not present at the mediation, an attorney can help you prepare for the mediation by providing you with an orientation to the mediation process, helping you analyze the strengths and weaknesses in both sides' arguments, and preparing a basic strategy.


An option worth considering

Mediation has many advantages over litigation. It is generally much quicker and less costly than going all the way through a trial, especially if mediation is scheduled fairly early in the process. Also, the parties have more control and power in the mediation process and have more freedom to express their interests and desires. Because the parties are personally invested in the process and help to craft the resolution, they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome and follow through with required orders for spousal or child support.


A divorce may end the legal marriage relationship, but where issues of child custody and support are present, a relationship between the former spouses will nevertheless continue for some time, perhaps indefinitely. For this reason a mediated resolution can prove more helpful than a bitter court battle, which can severely damage long-term relationships.


Blake Okimoto has decades of experience representing parties in mediation, as well as serving as a mediator himself. His experience as a District Court Per Diem Judge likewise gives him the know-how to manage legal issues alongside emotional conflicts. Mr. Okimoto understands the advantages of an amicable resolution on the long-term happiness of all persons involved in a divorce, and works to preserve family harmony as much as possible.