Maui News

Divorce Law in Hawaiʻi Program Now on Zoom

June 12, 2021, 10:05 AM HST
* Updated June 12, 10:06 AM
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Attorney William C. Darrah and The Mediation Center of the Pacific Executive Director Tracey S. Wiltgen have helped hundreds of families with the Family Court’s free Divorce Law in Hawai’i program. Image courtesy of Hawai’i State Judiciary.

The Family Court’s Divorce Law in Hawaiʻi program celebrated its 250th session by announcing that anyone seeking information about divorce in Hawaiʻi may now access the program on Zoom.

Previously, the free seminars were available only on Oʻahu at Family Court in Kapolei and the Supreme Court courtroom in Honolulu.

“Due to the pandemic, we canceled in-person meetings and used Zoom,” said Tracey S. Wiltgen, The Mediation Center of the Pacific’s Executive Director. “We did some testing earlier this year and were delighted with the results.”

Wiltgen reports that before the pandemic, up to 12 participants attended each session. In the past few months of Zoom testing, participation has more than doubled, with people joining from the neighbor islands for the first time in the program’s 20-year history.

“We are extremely happy that attendance for the Divorce Law presentations has increased so significantly since we began broadcasting remotely,” said attorney William C. Darrah.

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“Divorce is one of the hardest things a human being will ever have to go through,” said Darrah. “It tests a person in ways they’ve never been tested before, presenting great opportunity and great peril. I am proud that Divorce Law in Hawaiʻi continues to provide couples with the tools they need to successfully navigate this extraordinarily challenging process.

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“No matter how well it is done, going to court is very expensive and risky,” Darrah added. “I consider litigation as the option of last resort. Divorce mediation is an alternative most couples should consider first. I am grateful that The Mediation Center of the Pacific is our partner. This program gives couples practical guidance on the law and divorce process, and ways to resolve differences peacefully.”

“The value of mediation in divorce is that it is the least costly, least stressful way of working out the terms for couples who cannot do it on their own,” explains Wiltgen. “While participants may no longer wish to be married, if they are parents, they must make important decisions about their children. Going through the mediation process helps them learn to talk to each other in a different way and create customized agreements that meet the unique needs of their family.”

Divorce Law in Hawaiʻi presentations are offered at no charge and cover all aspects of the divorce process, including legal requirements, custody, property division and support.

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Those who wish to learn the nuts and bolts of working through the divorce process with the least amount of stress and cost may sign up for the program’s 250th seminar on June 15.

This one-hour session will include time for questions and answers with Darrah and Wiltgen.

Sessions are offered one Tuesday a month from noon – 1 p.m. on Zoom. For more information, seminar handouts and a video of the Divorce Law in Hawaiʻi seminar, see here.

Disclaimer: The Hawaiʻi State Judiciary does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by the speakers. The speakers’ remarks do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary. The information provided is a general overview of basic legal concepts, and is not intended as legal advice for any specific person or situation.

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