Coming to an Agreement

Community Contributed

By Eileen M.S. Nims, Esq.

Many people think the only way to settle a dispute is by filing a lawsuit and go to court. Actually, only two percent of all filed cases end up in court. Most of the cases get dropped or settle. 

There is a cheaper and more elegant way to resolve disputes before you even hire an attorney to file a case. The first step with all disputes, whether this is landlord-tenant or employer-employee, neighbors, or divorce issues, is to contact a mediation provider. One great option for that is the Mediation Center of the Pacific. This is located physically on Oahu, but services are provided by zoom or phone to all the islands, including Molokai. This allows our island residents to receive the same service as anyone on Oahu and at the same highly reduced price. The Medication Center of the Pacific is a nonprofit and has a sliding scale fee ranging from $25 to $450 for a three-hour mediation session. 

When you have a legal dispute with your landlord, for example, you can contact the Mediation Center of the Pacific and request a case to be opened on your behalf. The Center then contacts the landlord and asks them if they are amendable to mediating the issue. When both parties agree, a date and time is scheduled for your case. Two trained mediators will be guiding the process throughout the three hours. They will talk to you to get your side, and they will talk to the other party to get their side. Going back and forth between you and your landlord, an agreement is hopefully arrived at that solves the dispute and prevents you from having to go to court and accrue high legal fees. 

If an agreement is created, the mediation center writes up the mediation agreement for both parties to sign. The agreement will be mailed or emailed to you and the other party for signing so it becomes a valid legal document. If no agreement is reached, you have at least shown the court that mediation was attempted when you file a case. To learn more about the Mediation Center of the Pacific, you can contact them at (808) 521-6767 or at

If you wish to reach the contributing writer Eileen M.S. Nims, Esq. office directly, you can contact (808) 664-1834 or email her at  She is looking forward to giving legal love to our island.


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