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We ‘Wrote The Book’ On Divorce In Hawaii

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Divorce With Decency

The Mediation Clinic

The Divorce with Decency Mediation Clinic™ is an independent affiliated branch of Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson. Our mediation clinic currently has three formally trained attorney/mediators on staff. They are: Bradley A. Coates; P. Gregory Frey; and John D. Hughes.

What is mediation? The mediation process employed at Divorce With Decency™ centers on the parties themselves dealing with specific unresolved issues and, with the aid of the mediator, arriving at mutually acceptable agreements which can then be formalized in writing by our experienced staff.

​Theory Behind Divorce Mediation

Divorce With Decency™ offers an alternative method of resolving divorce and post-divorce disputes that can help alleviate much of the stress, uncertainty and hostility. Mediation results in equitable, workable and lasting divorce agreements or post-divorce modifications. Mediation provides an alternative to the adversarial systems which unfortunately, cast divorcing spouses as opponents. In mediation, the spouses are viewed as cooperative adults who are restructuring their lives and the lives of their children. By selecting the mediation approach offered by Divorce With Decency™, individuals in a dissolving marriage are choosing to take charge of their lives and to maintain their sense of dignity and self-esteem. They are in effect saying that they prefer to end their marriage by a cooperative and rational procedure which minimizes the hostility, expense and uncertainty of divorce.

​The Mediation Process

In divorce mediation, the husband and wife agree to hire an attorney or other neutral mediator to provide them with professional guidance toward a resolution of some of all the issues caused by their divorce. The mediator, although generally an attorney, is precluded from advising or representing either party against the other, but can provide legal information to both parties in order to help them understand the law.

​What Issues May Be Mediated?

All issues arising between couples may be mediated through Divorce With DecencyTM.  These include feasibility/desirability of the divorce itself, custody, visitation, child support, property division and spousal maintenance. The division of marital property, liabilities and assets, as well as the tax consequences and tax planning involved in a divorce proceeding, are all appropriate subjects for mediation. When children are involved, issues of legal custody, physical custody and joint custody as well as the children’s living arrangements and health and educational needs are also viable subjects for mediation.

​Why I Wrote The Book

“Divorce with Decency™” by Bradley Coates

​After having handled over 20,000 divorces and related family law matters (which, as close as we can figure it, is about how many cases our law firm has processed during the last three or more gut-wrenching decades), I had just about had it. It was enough to make you sick…or crazy…or both!

​I just knew I had to try to figure out some way to do it better, to handle things less acrimoniously, to perhaps turn things around and find more positive focus. I had begun to question my own sanity. Was I starting to fit the frequent (and so often accurate) description of a “sleazy divorce lawyer”?

​Throughout my career, my approach has been to try to handle my divorce practice in a radically different, more sensitive and more positive way – one which endeavors to “make the best” of the bad situation which divorcing couples inevitably face. In the process I have successfully built the largest divorce and family law firm in Hawaii.

Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, the ten attorney firm which I founded, is now generally recognized as processing more divorce and related family law cases through Hawaii’s Family Court system than any other. Our firm has gotten some pretty positive “strokes” for our somewhat more sensitive and user friendly style of practice…including my having been selected as one of Hawaii’s SuperLawyers and as Best Divorce Lawyer by the readers of both the Honolulu Weekly and Honolulu Magazine. But I still felt vaguely uneasy. I felt I had to try and do something more to assist average folks as they bounced along the rocky road of divorce.

​My “Raison de Writing”: Although I feel we do the best job we possibly can for our firm’s clientele, it became apparent to me that the only way I could reach beyond my own paying clients to try and dispense whatever grains of wisdom I might have to share about my “positive approach” to the handling of the divorce experience was to write this book. Only in this way could I more widely disseminate information to readers interested in trying to explore a more enlightened approach to the entire divorce process. My intent is to package some of my entirely too-extensive experiences into a book format which could be available for twenty bucks or so – thereby making it more accessible to people who are understandably put off by the $250.00+ dollar an hour fees which I and other prominent divorce attorneys customarily charge in the privacy of our paneled offices.

​An “All Encompassing” Divorce Guide: My aim has been to write the definitive divorce text, providing maximum possible amount of information about every aspect of the divorce process. I knew from the start that it would be a difficult and unwieldy task, but I felt strongly that I wanted to write a book which encompassed all the multifaceted emotional, psychological and sociological aspects surrounding divorce – as well as its strictly legalistic issues. This conviction mirrors the way I have come to view my own role as a divorce lawyer. When I first started practicing, divorce law was basically a “meat ax down the middle” process characterized by a narrow, and narrow-minded, focus on the single issue of property division. I have now come to realize however, that if you want to a proper job of divorce lawyering you have to treat divorces as a multilevel, interdisciplinary behavioral science, essentially peeling away the multiple levels of complexity of the modern American family structure like the layers of an onion.

​I had yet to read any book, however, which combined all of the components of important divorce guidance into one single comprehensive, informative and above all, readable work. Writing such a book was the goal I set for myself when I embarked upon authoring this summary of insights gleaned during my almost four-decade career as a divorce lawyer. I hope you find this book to be useful, thought provoking, anecdotal and – because divorce is often too tense for anyone’s good – at least occasionally amusing.

​I strongly believe that since divorce is so common in our society, it is probably best if people can accept it as a frequent, and infrequently unavoidable, fact of life and then just deal with it as best they can. If divorcing clients can understand that they are part of a massive and overarching sociological phenomenon, there is less of a tendency for each person to feel like a failure or to blame themselves for being unable to maintain their marriage. Personally, I feel that maintaining a light and upbeat (maybe even offbeat) touch in divorce cases ultimately serves to improve the psychological health of my clients, not to mention my own.​

So there you have it, my “Raison de Writing,” so to speak. My goal has been to write the first book that I know of which deals with the psychological, economic, and sociological issues, as well as the legal aspects of a divorce, yet is presented from the more utilitarian point of view of a divorce attorney. I now know from personal experience that when a marriage unravels the one thing every divorcing person needs is a good friend. And that’s really what this book is all about. I sincerely hope it can serve as your friend when you need one. Aloha.