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Help Tones Down Divorce Bitterness

Is a civil, fair and amicable divorce or separation possible even if the parties disagree about child custody and/or how to divide up their property?


Yes. The elements of a :civil divorce are as follows: 1) divorce counseling to defuse the emotional charge that often accompanies and interferes with obtaining a decent divorce, 2) educational information for both parties regarding their respective rights and responsibilities, 3) mediation between the parties by a neutral professional mediator; and 4) actual legal processing of the divorce paperwork necessary to dissolve the marriage and obtain a divorce.

Where can I get assistance to help myself and my family minimize the trauma of the divorce experience?

There are several options for help, including: 1) Consult the yellow pages for private mediators under Mediation, particularly divorce mediation. 2) Call the Lawyer Referral Service & Information Service and ask for attorneys emphasizing family law mediation (537-9140). 3) Call the Neighborhood Justice Center (521-6767). 4) Consult the yellow pages for mental health professionals.

Are there any other options?

A new model is being used that emphasizes a team approach, including mental health professionals, mediators, attorneys, peace and well-being advocates and financial experts.

This team approach is designed to help diffuse the strong emotions the parties must often deal with, provide neutral legal advice, help the couple explore creative financial ideas for the division of marital property and help to ensure that the best interests of the children will not be neglected in a emotion-provoked custody battle.

Both parties can have their proposed written legal agreements reviewed by their own attorneys to ensure that their respective legal rights are protected and responsibilities fully explained.

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Hawaii is an equitable distribution state. This does not mean that all property will be divided equally, but it means that the property will be divided as fairly as the court sees fit. When the parties cannot reach a settlement on their own, the family court decides which property and debt is to be considered marital and decides the terms and conditions of its division and distribution.
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