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Divorce Settlement Master Services

Divorce Settlement Master Services

Since 2004, Family Court in Honolulu has had a Volunteer Settlement Master program, in which cases ready for trial are assigned to a VSM who acts as an extension of the Court in trying to arrange a voluntary settlement of all or at least part of the issues.

The process is similar to mediation except (1) the VSMs are not trained mediators (they are practicing Family Law attorneys who volunteer 3 or more hours of their time to work on a case), (2) it is free to the participants, (3) it tends to work more like a Court-run settlement conference (focusing on legal positions and probable outcomes) than traditional mediation (which focuses more on parties’ needs and hopes for their future), and (4) it occurs somewhat late in the litigation process rather than earlier, as mediation often does.

Jim Hoenig, Founder of the Family Law Tribunal of DPR, was one of the founders of the VSM program. Since its inception, he has trained VSMs for the program and has been a member of the VSM Oversight Committee. Having seen the success that some VSMs have had in helping parties resolve their disputes, Jim has now organized a Professional Divorce Settlement Master program for FLT.

We have asked some of the attorneys who have been most successful as VSMs to make their settlement services available on an hourly-fee basis through FLT. As of right now, the following practitioners have responded to our request and are available to serve as your settlement master. Simply call FLT to set up the process.

Present Panel of Divorce Settlement Masters:
William C. Darrah
Richard J. Diehl
Geoff Hamilton
Steven L. Hartley
James K. Hoenig
Charles T. Kleintop
Rosalyn Loomis
Douglas McNish

This program is a work-in-progress. If you are a Family Law attorney who has been successful as a VSM and who truly enjoys helping people reach their own resolutions and might like to be a Panel member – or if you would like to “nominate” someone for the Panel -- please contact Jim Hoenig at FLT.

And come back to this page soon for continuing developments relating to this new way of helping parties in conflict to reach agreeable resolutions swiftly and economically.