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Thomas D. Farrell

Divorce and separation Attorney at Honolulu, HI

4.6   11 reviews
  • Licensed for 43 years
    State HI
    Acquired 1980
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Thomas

Learn Thomas’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    I have done thousands of divorce cases over the years, many of them involving military families. See our website for more information on divorce.

    29 years, 2,000 cases

  2. Child custody
    Child custody can be an issue in a divorce or paternity case. We also handle child custody jurisdiction and child kidnapping cases. See our website for more information on child custody.

    29 years, 1,500 cases

  3. Child support
    Child support in Hawaii is based on a formula. See our website for more information on child support.

    29 years, 1,500 cases

  4. Alimony
    Alimony, also known as spousal support, is part of a divorce case. See our website for more information on alimony.

    29 years, 1,000 cases

Most clients want to know a little about their lawyer. Here's my story.

I arrived in the Territory of Hawaii in 1959 at the age of three. My dad was an Air Force JAG officer, and after Hawaii we were posted to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento before settling in Honolulu in 1971.

I graduated from Punahou in 1974, the University of Hawaii in 1977, and the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1980. I also hold a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College.

After being admitted to the Hawaii Bar, I was appointed a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii and spent the next fifteen years in government service. My principal clients were the State's welfare and Medicaid programs, the prisons, and the Child Support Enforcement Agency. My practice included class actions, federal civil rights suits, regulatory enforcement, elder abuse and neglect cases, criminal prosecution, appeals, and legislation. I defended multi-million dollar welfare cases, including one in which I wrote the friend-of-the-court brief for twenty-six states in a successful US Supreme Court appeal. I started the AG's program to bring cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly to Family Court, and drafted the legislation that eventually became Hawaii's Adult Protective Services Act. I shut down unlicensed or substandard day care, retirement homes and youth therapy programs, handled federal court challenges to conditions in our correctional facilities, chased deadbeat dads, and wrote a good deal of the State's child support laws. It was a great job for a young lawyer, and I made the most of it.

In 1995, my good friend Brad Coates offered me a unique opportunity to join the private sector and concentrate in family law. For the next twelve years, I practiced at Coates & Frey, Hawaii's largest family law firm, rising to Senior Counsel. During this time, I handled literally hundreds of divorce cases, and every other type of case known to the Family Court. In 2002, I became the first---and to date, the only---lawyer to be awarded a certificate of specialization in family law by the Hawaii Supreme Court. My certificate was awarded upon completion of a specialty certification program conducted by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify specialists in family law.

Throughout my civilian career in the law, I also served as an Army Reserve officer in various intelligence, command and staff assignments. After the 9/11 attacks, I was called to active duty for about six months here in Hawaii, and my unit was mobilized and deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. After returning to Hawaii, I retired as a Colonel a few months short of thirty years of commissioned service.

In July 2007, I opened a solo practice, concentrating on divorce and family law. I also handle national security cases involving the revocation or denial of military or industrial security clearances. Over the years, I've been active in various community service organizations, including Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii. I continue to write and speak on issues of defense and national security.

In my free time, I enjoy reading and the beach, and I have a weakness for vintage MG roadsters. I live in Kalihi Valley with my wife of over twenty years and several well-fed cats.

Photos and videos

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Thomas D. Farrell, Attorney at Law, LLLC
700 Bishop St Ste 2000
Honolulu, HI, 96813

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4.6 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
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Posted by Chef ZZ | October 4, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best lawyer in the state of Hawai’i
Col Thomas D. Farell is the brightest litigation lawyer I have ever encounter from Around the Globe . Mr Farell is a gentlemen , a scholar and one the best attorneys you will Wish to Have on your side . He is straightforward, tell you how it is and he is 99.9% correct . He has extensive knowledge of the law and he has integrity . He represented me In one of the bizarre, complicated cases In the state of hawaii against a legion of lawyers and at the end after a brutal 48 months he triumphs . Hire him I put my money on it
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Posted by Suzanna Hall | July 30, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Man Who Saved Me. (Tom Ferrel)
Tom took on my case of coercive control. We settled a TRO, a cross TRO and a Paternity in 2 hearings. The father of my child is a police officer and really knew every card to play the system. Tom got me my child, child support, back support, and has held my hand through CPS interrogations, and every negative card my baby’s dad threw at me. He sees right through him. This process wasn’t easy for me, and I’m very young, and of course I made many bad choices and mistakes, but tom handled them all. Like I said, he stayed by my side through a CPS interrogation that was extremely biased. I will forever be grateful to this man for standing up for me in ways nobody else has ever stood up for me. My reputation and credibility was being slaughtered very quickly. Tom handled it. Period. End.
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Posted by anonymous | May 15, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Satisfied client
I hired Mr Farrell help me with a security clearance issue. I believe he is the only attorney in Hawaii who deals with these issues. He was the consummate professional and he helped me provide a thorough response. Most importantly, I won my case.
Posted by DRian | March 23, 2021
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
I wish I would have hired him
My x husband hired a Tom Farrell. He literally wiped the floor with me. Came to mainland and have full custody of my kids. I can say if your looking for results and you can afford retainers as they get used up fast then I would hire this guy.
Posted by anonymous | March 11, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Clear thinker
Tom Farrell helped me take the emotion out of my case and helped me make the right decision regarding my custody case. He is straightforward, honest and balanced. I would highly recommend him if you need a great custody lawyer. I am glad I did.
Posted by Bryan | January 8, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
All Business
I can’t say enough about Mr. Farrell!! If you’re looking for someone to tell you it’s going to be ok, and hold your hand through the process, Tom is not for you! If you’re looking for someone to roll up their sleeves, get the job done, and dominate in the courtroom? Tom Farrell is my first choice... All business! Mr. Farrell is no stranger to family law. The first time he speaks, you know you’re in good hands! Worth EVERY penny!!
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Posted by David | October 19, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
No New Clients but was Referred to Another Great lawyer
I reached out to Thomas Farrell's and requested a consultation. Sadly they were not taking any new clients but he highly recommended another Firm and was able to obtain the other. I like that if they can not help they will point you to another attorney.
Posted by anonymous | October 14, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Your search for an attorney is over
Let me start off by saying that Tom Farrell saved my family and completely changed the momentum and dynamic of the many post decree issues I was experiencing in a very nasty and contentious divorce. Words cannot express how much I appreciate what he did for my family and I will always be grateful for having such a strong advocate in my corner. Prior to being referred to Tom by several high profile attorneys I was beat down and ready to give up. My previous counsel were ill equipped and frankly no match for the monster that my ex hired to represent her. My ex, her family and her unethical attorney were hell bent on destroying my career, my character and ruining me financially with the intent of gaining full custody of my children and driving me from Hawaii. Some of the tactics they employed included filing false Police reports, attempting to recuse the presiding judge over meritless false pretenses, making false allegations against me with my employer and against my loved ones and printing falsehoods in the Garden Isle newspaper when they didn't get what they wanted. All of this conduct stopped shortly after Tom became involved. Tom is proactive and won't let that type of stuff fly. He will be your advocate and protect you and your family and won't allow the opposing side bully you. As one well respected attorney put it Tom is a “pitbull, extremely knowledgable and has the highest integrity of any attorney I know ..which makes him dangerous”. Boy was that an understatement. Almost immediately after Tom become involved in my case my exes nightmare attorney inexplicably quit. Tom's expert knowledge of family law, child welfare services and the intricate processes involved with contested child custody matters, TRO's and his extensive criminal trial experience protected my loved ones and I from my exes heinous attacks. Tom then straightened out my CSEA nightmare, and other miscellaneous post decree issues and eventually the family court found in our favor and determined that my ex violated our decree and penalized her with sanctions. Tom was strategic in planning his approach, matter of fact, and never left anything to chance. He kept me informed throughout every step and also gave me solid advice whether I wanted to hear it or not. Ultimately Tom assessed the situation would make a recommendation and then allow me as his client to make the decision after having a full understanding of the risk/reward involved. My hope is that eventually my ex and I will be able to come to an agreement that mutually benefits everyone involved but if not Tom will be ready to go to trial and win. That's what he does.
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Posted by Tom | July 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Decent and Reliable Attorney
Farrell and Associates conducted a straightforward operation for me. Tom planned out and then synchronized each step as promised. He was honest in his billing. His Paralegal Assistant Tammy was spot on throughout. I can't say enough about my experience.
Posted by French | February 28, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Right Attorney for Me
The Right Attorney for me If you are going through this review and in need of a divorce attorney my prayers are with you and your family. I was in such a situation myself and would never wish to re-live that experience again, but if I had to, I would not do it without Tom Farrell. So, when I started my legal process I found it difficult to know where to turn when faced with a decision of divorce. I would like to recommend what worked for my family and me. Listed are considerations I made and lessons learned in my process. Here is what I looked for and found in my divorce lawyer. The right lawyer is key to what could be a faster, less-expensive divorce, compared to a long, drawn-out emotional and financial nightmare. Be realistic. Your divorce is a legal process with the sole purpose of dissolving your assets and resolving custody issues. Your divorce attorney’s job is to represent you to the best of his ability in this process. While you might want them to listen to your anger, frustration, pain and sadness, that is not their job. Your attorney will have set rates and the clock is always running, So, be realistic about the role of your divorce attorney, and what you can expect from him. Stay focused on the goal. Your ultimate goal in this process is to get divorced, and hopefully you can do so without any major depreciation of your lifestyle. Don’t let your emotions jump in and run rampant when it comes to negotiating over material things that don’t mean much to you in the big picture. If you do, your divorce will be longer, more litigious, and definitely more expensive. So keep your focus on getting divorced as quickly, and with as little financial damage, as possible. Qualifications your attorney should have. The ideal attorney has the legal knowledge and experience you need, they helps you understand the process, communicates and negotiates well, solves problems creatively and is experienced in your specific court system. Your attorney needs to be experienced with the family law judges in your jurisdiction so that he can advise you appropriately on legal strategy. My experience included financial experts, mediation, parenting coordinators, coach facilitators. Find out your attorney’s access to these resources and if any would be relevant to your case, as it will affect overall cost. I did research my attorney’s trial record and history of success in court. This track record is an indicator of your attorney’s success in negotiation. Why I made my choice. I found Tom to be professional, knowledgeable, responsive, experience and communicates well. He was someone I trust and feel comfortable with. Tom recognized the importance of my children and he put them first in the legal process by not making unreasonable child support demands or custody arrangements. My divorce was a highly personal and emotional process, the outcome of which had a significant impact on my life and the mental health of my children. For you this should an important decision, and there are no guarantees in this process. I would recommend him hands down without any reservation in his abilities. I put the mental health of my boys in his hands and he blessed our whole family with his tenacious service. Be honest and be truthful and he will do his best to represent you.
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Posted by Heather | April 1, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Judgemental & Inconsiderate
Do not waste your time or money. Don’t even consider Thomas Farrell at all. I requested a consultation for post-decree issues and custody help after experiencing a very traumatizing divorce battle. Thomas called me for a consultation and asked very brief, vague questions about my case. He continuously cut me off without letting me explain how certain events occurred and proceeded to tell me that I have a “crappy case” that isn’t worth his time or my money. Don’t be a family lawyer if you’re not capable of considering the feelings of a potential client, especially a parent fighting for their child after experiencing abuse and trauma by the other party.
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Response from Thomas Farrell April 2, 2018
We pride ourselves on giving prospective clients an honest evaluation of their cases. We tell them if pursuing something is going to be a waste of their money. Not everyone appreciates that. The author of this comment wanted to try to get out of a divorce agreement that she had made. She had no good evidence of fraud, duress, or incapacity, which are the normal defenses to the formation of an agreement. We told her she had no case. Good luck to Heather, who will probably find some unscrupulous guy who will take her money and promise her the moon.
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  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 400-400 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.5 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Managing Attorney
  • Farrell & Perrault, Family Law Attorneys, LLLC
  • 2007 - Present
  • Senior Counsel
  • Coates & Frey, LLLC
  • 1995 - 2007
  • Deputy Attorney General
  • State of Hawaii
  • 1981 - 1995


  • United States Army War College
  • MA - Masters
  • 2002
  • Santa Clara University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1980
  • University of Hawaii
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1977

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Lead Counsel


  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Family Law Trial Specialist
  • 2002 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Hawaii State Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Chair
  • 2011 - 2012

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Board Certified
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • 2017
  • Outstanding Volunteer Attorney
  • Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii
  • 2016
  • Hawaii SuperLawyer
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2008
  • Kahiau Award
  • Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii
  • 2007
  • Legion of Merit
  • United States Army
  • 2006
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • United States Army
  • 2006
  • Outstanding Volunteer Award
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • 2000
  • Pro Bono Service to the Elderly
  • Health & Community Services Council
  • 1988
View all awards


  • Hawaii Divorce Manual
  • Divorce and the Military
  • 2015

Speaking Engagements

  • Divorce Cases from Start to Finish for Paralegals
  • Your Role in Settlement and Trial; Ethical Questions
  • 2016
  • International Families: Money, Children and Long Term Planning
  • Military Familes in the Asia Pacific
  • 2014
  • Estate Planning In Divorce and Remarriage in Hawaii
  • What About the Children?/Special Problems that DIssolution Creates
  • 2001
  • Trusts, Estate Planning and Divorce in Hawaii
  • Ethical Issues/Trusts as Property In Divorce
  • 2000
  • Equitable Distribution in Divorce Settlements: Valuation, Tax and Other Issues
  • Equitable Distribution in Hawaii
  • 1996
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (3)
Given (4)
Endorse Thomas
Military law Attorney | Apr 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Col. Farrell possesses extensive expertise in the area of military law. I completely endorse and thoroughly commend his expertise in this area!"
Family Attorney | Feb 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Feb 23
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Tom Farrell is one of Hawaii's top Family Law litigators. You will not find a more competent trial attorney and passionate advocate. He has a complete knowledge of Family Law, and his knowledge of Military issues is second to none. Hire Tom if you can get him."