what is mediation?

Mediation is an informal, confidential process in which an impartial third party — the mediator — helps people:

1) Talk through their differences,

2) Explore and negotiate options, and

3) Craft agreements that are fair, realistic, and durable.

Mediation is voluntary and requires flexibility. The mediators ensure a safe and respectful process for everyone involved.

Request Mediation

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is mediation?

Mediation is an informal, confidential process in which an impartial third party — the mediator — helps people:

1) Talk through their differences,
2) Explore and negotiate options, and
3) Craft agreements that are fair, realistic, and durable.

Mediation is voluntary and requires flexibility. The mediators ensure a safe and respectful process for everyone involved.

What issues can be mediated?
  • Auto Accident
  • Business
  • Civil Rights
  • Condominium
  • Consumer / Merchant
  • Domestic (Divorce / Child Custody)
  • Education / Special Education
  • Facilitation
  • Family
  • Foreclosure
  • Friend
  • Homeowners Association
  • Job Related
  • Juvenile
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Neighbor
  • Pet
  • Real Estate
  • TRO (Temporary Restraining Order)
  • Others
Can I mediate today? Or drop by tomorrow to mediate?
  • All mediations are by appointment only.
  • We do not have mediators waiting in our offices.
  • We need to schedule a time when participants, mediators, and Zoom or conference rooms are available.
  • We are open Monday to Friday, except holidays.  Evening and Saturday mediations are sometimes available.
How do I schedule a mediation?
  • Call our Case Manager at (808) 935-7844 ext. 8.
  • You give us general information about the issues to mediate as well as specific information about yourself.
  • You give us the names and contact information of the others with whom you are in dispute.
  • Depending on everyone’s availability, a mediation session will generally be scheduled within 4 to 6 weeks.
  • We schedule your mediation session on a day and time that works for everyone.
  • To start the mediation process, we need your Intake Form:
How long will a mediation session last?
  • Plan for up to 3 hours per mediation session.
  • Many issues can be resolved in one session.
  • More complex cases, such as divorce and child custody, usually take more than one session.
How much does it cost?
  • Mediation is a low-cost way to resolve issues, and may save on court filing, process serving, and attorney fees.
  • Small claims and residential landlord/tenant cases referred by the Judiciary are free of charge.
  • For individuals, our mediation fees are on an affordable sliding scale based on annual household income. No one is turned away for lack of funds.
  • For businesses, please contact us for our mediation fees.
  • Call us today at (808) 935-7844 ext. 1 to find out how inexpensive your fee (if any) would be.
How can I pay?
  • Payment is due prior to mediation.
  • We accept cash, check, debit and credit cards.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule?
  • Once the mediation is scheduled and confirmed, you are expected to attend.
  • You will be responsible to pay a separate $50 fee for missed appointments, unless you contact us at least 2 business days in advance to cancel or reschedule.
  • This way we will honor both your time and ours.
Who are the mediators?
  • Our professionally trained volunteer mediators are community members who come from all backgrounds, careers, and walks of life.
  • The mediators complete Basic Mediation Training and attend continuing education, including advanced training in specialty areas.
  • The Case Manager assigns mediators based on the specific needs of each case.
What is the role of the mediator?
  • Our professionally trained volunteer mediators take you through a process of neutral information gathering, identifying issues, and assisting you to brainstorm possible solutions. The goal is to design custom resolutions for your specific situation.


  • Judge, take sides, or decide who is right or wrong.
  • Force you to accept any solution or agreement.


  • Stay impartial and neutral.
  • Provide a safe space for exploring options.
  • Support all participants equally (whether you were the one to contact us first or whether we reached out to you on behalf of another person).
Can I bring someone with me to mediation?
  • Additional participants are only allowed with advance approval by our Case Manager.
  • If court referred, usually only those listed on the court docket or the court order participate.
  • If you have special needs or will be bringing an attorney, case worker, support person, or interpreter, please let our office know at least 5 business days in advance.
Do I need an attorney?
  • Most of our clients successfully participate in mediation without an attorney.
  • If you have an attorney, you may include them in the mediation but it is not required.
  • You can contact your attorney by phone at any time during the mediation.
  • You can also show a draft of any agreement to your attorney before signing.
  • If you don’t have an attorney, but need some free legal help, visit our Resources/Links page
Do I need to make childcare arrangements?
  • Please make arrangements in advance for supervision of your children.
  • No childcare services are available.
Do I have to see the other person?
  • Most mediations include a combination of joint sessions and private sessions.
  • During joint sessions, the mediator stays with you and the other participants in the Zoom or mediation room to ensure you feel comfortable.
  • During private sessions, you stay in the Zoom or mediation room with the mediator while the other participants are alone in the waiting room.
  • If you have any safety concerns, please let our Case Manager know in advance.
What happens if the other person doesn’t want to participate?
  • Mediation is a voluntary process, so all parties need to be willing to mediate.
  • We do our best to reach out to everyone to explain the mediation process and invite them to participate. If they decline, that is their choice. 
What if I am off island? What if other person is off island?
  • We offer mediation sessions remotely by videoconference (Zoom) or teleconference (phone).
  • Mediations are scheduled for Hawaii Standard Time (HST).  Please adjust for time zone differences if you are out of state.
Do we have to come to an agreement?
  • Coming to an agreement is only one possible benefit of the mediation process. Other benefits include getting things off your chest, communicating your concerns to the other participant(s), starting the negotiation process, and more.
  • If you do not reach an agreement, that is your choice. We will not pressure you into any decision.
  • If you do reach an agreement, we are happy to type it up for everyone to review and sign.
What happens if we don’t get an agreement?
  • We are happy to provide you with time to consult with an attorney and other experts or decision-makers. We want you to carefully consider your options and any offers before signing an agreement.
  • We can schedule additional sessions if needed.
  • Coming to an agreement is not a requirement of the mediation process.
Does mediation limit my future options?
  • If you try mediation, you do not lose out on any other future options.
  • All legal avenues remain available to you, including getting an attorney, finding an arbitrator, going to court, or going back to court.
  • You can try mediation at any time—before a court case, during a court case, after a court case. We can assist you wherever you are in the process.
Can I ask for mediation for my court case?
  • Yes, you can ask the judge for mediation when your case is called. The judge will consider your request to mediate.
What information will be shared with the court?
  • If your case is in court, we may only share information about whether a mediation occurred or not; whether an agreement was reached or not; and who attended the mediation.
  • If all participants agree, we may with written permission share a copy of the mediation agreement to the referring court.
How is mediation confidential?
  • Before mediation, you will sign a Mediation & Confidentiality Agreement (sent to you via email for digital signature). 
  • The confidentiality agreement states that the mediation discussions are confidential and cannot be shared in future legal proceedings. 
  • Only those who have signed the confidentiality agreement are allowed to be in the room with you while you mediate.
  • The mediator and the Ku‘ikahi staff respect your privacy.
  • The personal information you share on your intake form is completely confidential and will not be released to any outside agencies or other parties. Demographic data is used for statistical purposes only.
  • Whatever you say, either in joint session or private session, will not be repeated outside the mediation. You may request that the mediator keep certain things confidential that you share in private sessions.
  • Confidentiality also means that you will not subpoena the mediator or the Ku‘ikahi staff to participate in future legal proceedings or to testify in court.
How is mediation voluntary?
  • All participants must agree to mediate.
  • Prior to mediation, if any person does not want to mediate, they have the choice to opt out.
  • During mediation, if any person does not want to continue, they may end the mediation at any time and for any reason.
What are the benefits of mediation?
  • You can control the outcome of your situation (versus giving a judge control by litigating in court).
  • You can discuss the issues privately in a confidential, informal setting (versus having your dispute heard in a public courtroom where everything that is said is recorded).
  • You can spend a few hours in mediation at affordable rates (versus spending lots of time and money litigating in court).
  • You can come up with creative solutions (versus being limited strictly by legal decisions).
  • It’s your choice!

Helpful Resources


"Had a problem with a business that did work on our property. Ku'ikahi Mediation was responsive and helped with a settled resolution. They really helped in pushing a resolution between us and the company. Mahalo!"


Google Review

"Mediation is safe for everybody to be able to actually communicate about their differences without being forced or blamed for what's happening in our lives."

Medation Client

"Mediation was an awesome process to engage in. Made it much more bearable to discuss issues between parties.”

Medation Client

"[The mediators] were complete blessings. They handled this process with great care and expertise. They were great listeners and made sure I felt listened to and did their best to accommodate my thoughts and wishes."

Medation Client

"I can't thank [the mediator] enough. 100,000 lbs. have been lifted off my shoulders."

Medation Client

"I've learned that mediation through Ku'ikahi Mediation Center is a vehicle that helps people like me to have a sense of control over a situation filled with anxiety and the unknown.  And for that I am forever grateful." 

Mediation Client

“Lawyers and court rooms are intimidating and expensive. Ku’ikahi Mediation Center was a welcome alternative. The mediator assigned to my case truly understood my angst and made sure I was comfortable and understood the decisions being made in mediation.”

Caroline “Kui” Wong

Owner of Kui & I Florist, LLC

“Highly recommend mediation through Ku'ikahi.  It's a wonderful alternative to going through the courts and often re-opens doors  to communication between both parties that would otherwise remain closed.  Easy to work with and fair to all involved.”

Pat Aiona, Jr.

General Manager at Aiona Car Sales

“I appreciate the time and diligence your mediators put into my client’s session. I think the mediation
session was helpful.”

Michelle Chi Dickinson


“Ku'ikahi Mediation Center has assisted us twice in the past and both times they helped resolve long contested disputes in just a few hours (could have taken years in court) and saved us thousands in litigation costs. I believe that they provide a wonderful service to our community.“

Shon Pahio

Business Services Hawaii

“Mediation is a great way to reduce the high cost of legal expenses.”

Newton Chu

Director at Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek, Attorneys at Laws

“I’m glad we came into mediation instead of going to court. We were finally able to come into an

Mediation Client

“The mediators were effective. They got me to think about the situation and what I would like as an

Mediation Client

“Mediation was a better way to solve the problem. It saved time and money and would have been my
first choice. My husband got a lawyer right away and in my opinion mediation would have been much
better from the beginning, saving time and money."

Mediation Client

“The process was made easy and the mediators are very professional and very understanding. We
would highly recommend this to anyone in need of this process.”

Mediation Client

“The mediators were extremely fair, calm, and communicative. I had anxiety entering the office and
they immediately made me feel safe and more comfortable. I strongly recommend mediation as a tool
to problem solve.”

Mediation Client