Tom Crowley - Hawaii Mediator - Arbitrator - Attorney

Honolulu Hawaii Mediator - Arbitrator - Attorney




Family Decision-Making Process


We agree that we need to work together to make important decisions concerning our family.  Out of genuine love and respect for one another, and in order to preserve family unity and harmony, we have agreed on the following process for working together to resolve family-related issues.


When a family-related issue is to be decided, any family member may call the family to a meeting.  The notice of the meeting will include the time and date of the meeting, and the purpose for which the meeting is called.  To the greatest extent possible, the meeting time and place will be set according to the convenience of all family members.


In order that the meetings accomplish the dual purpose of promoting family unity and reaching decisions on specific issues, the following guidelines will be followed:

  • Either an agred-upon family member or an agreed-upon impartial facilitator will be in charge of conducting the meeting.  In the event a family member chairs the meeting, that family member may vote on issues.  In the event a non-family facilitator chairs the meeting, he or she shall not voice opinions concerning the substance of issues before the members, and shall not vote on any issue.
  • An agenda of the issues to be discussed and decided will be provided to all members with the notice of the meeting.
  • The Chair of the meeting will arrange for a memorandum reflecting any agreement reached at the meeting.  The memorandum shall be signed by the family members attending the meeting. Copies of the memorandum will be provided to family members by the Chair. 
  • The issues for discussion at the meeting shall be taken up one at a time.  This means that the items on the agenda will be taken up in order and disposed of before the family goes on to the next item in the agenda.
  • Participants at the meeting will take equal turns speaking, and only one person can speak at a time.  Whenever possible, no participant shall speak twice until all have had the opportunity to speak.
  • Everyone will try to listen to one another in the spirit of family harmony and friendship.
  • The chair shall ensure that all sides of an issue are heard.  The rights and interests of minority or absent members shall be recognized and considered. 
  • In the event the family cannot reach agreement on an issue, they agree to submit the issue to mediation before resorting to arbitration or litigation. 
  • In the event the family cannot reach agreement on an issue
    through negotiation and/or mediation, they agree to
    continue to work together in good faith on the other issues
    before them.
  • In the event the family cannot reach agreement on an issue
    through mediation, they agree to decide the issue by
    majority rule. 
  • Decisions and action plans shall be noted in the memorandum of the meeting, and specific persons shall be designated with the responsibility for carrying out such decisions and action plans.
  • When the agenda items are finished and the family has no further business to propose, the meeting shall be adjourned.


  • Among the family, everything will be accomplished in the spirit of openness, and not secrecy.  Each family member   has the right to know what is going on by attending meetings, inspecting the memoranda of meetings and all other records, and receiving notices and reports concerning family-related issues. 
  • Unless otherwise agreed, and except for the purpose of carrying out the decisions of the family, the proceedings and the memoranda of the meetings of the family shall be confidential.  The meetings and/or mediations held herein shall be pursuant to Hawaii Rule of Evidence 408, which provides that evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations or mediation proceedings is not admissible.
  • The expenses incurred in implementing this Decision-Making Process (such as postage and copying costs, and the fees of the facilitator or mediator) shall be borne equally by the family members.
  • The family agrees to use their best efforts to attend and participate in the meetings and/or mediations held pursuant to this Decision-Making Process.



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