- Residency Requirements
- Grounds for Divorce
- Division of Property
- Spousal Support
- Child Custody
- Child Support
Before petitioning for a divorce, you must live in Hawaii for six months. This applies to military personnel stationed in Hawaii as well as legal residents of another state or country.
Grounds for Divorce
A Hawaii court will grant a divorce when it finds:
a) The marriage is irretrievably broken;
b) The parties have lived separate and apart under a decree of separation from bed and board entered by any court of competent jurisdiction, the term of separation has expired, and no reconciliation has been effected;
c) The parties have lived separate and apart for a period of two years or more under a decree of separate maintenance entered by any court of competent jurisdiction, and no reconciliation has been effected; or
d) The parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of two years or more immediately preceding the application, there is no reasonable likelihood that cohabitation will be resumed, and the court is satisfied that, in the particular circumstances of the case, it would not be harsh and oppressive to the defendant or contrary to the public interest to a divorce on this ground on the complaint of the plaintiff.
Division of Property
Hawaii is an “equitable distribution” state. The court will distribute all of the spouse’s property, including the community, joint, and separate property, in a just and equitable manner, based on the following factors:
a) the burdens imposed upon either spouse for the benefit of the children;
b) the position each spouse will be left in after the divorce;
c) the relative abilities of the spouses;
d) the respective merits of the spouses; and
e) all other circumstances.
In addition to any other relevant factors considered, the court, in ordering spousal support and maintenance, shall consider the following factors:
a) Financial resources of the parties;
b) Ability of the party seeking support and maintenance to meet his or her needs independently;
c) Duration of the marriage;
d) Standard of living established during the marriage;
e) Age of the parties;
f) Physical and emotional condition of the parties;
g) Usual occupation of the parties during the marriage;
h) Vocational skills and employability of the party seeking support and maintenance;
i) Needs of the parties;
j) Custodial and child support responsibilities;
k) Ability of the party from whom support and maintenance is sought to meet his or her own needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking support and maintenance;
l) Other factors which measure the financial condition in which the parties will be left as the result of the action under which the determination of maintenance is made; and m) Probable duration of the need of the party seeking support and maintenance.
The court may order maintenance to a party for an indefinite period or until a date of its choosing.
Hawaii law provides that joint or sole child custody may be awarded to either or both of the parents based on the best interests of the child and upon the wishes of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent choice. Joint custody will be allowed if it can be arranged to assure the child of continuing contact with both parents. There are no other specific factors for consideration set out in the statute.
State law requires the Hawaii Family Courts, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) and the Office of Child Support Hearings (OCSH) to follow guidelines when calculating monthly child support.
Under Hawaii law, both parents have a duty to support their child(ren). The age of majority in Hawaii is 19. Child support orders may be obtained any time during a physical separation, and established, modified, terminated or enforced through the Court, CSEA or OCSH. The court will consider both parents’ incomes and the needs of the child in arriving at a monthly amount, and are based on the following principles:
a) Each parent is entitled to keep sufficient income for their basic needs and to facilitate continued employment.
b) Each child’s basic needs are taken care of before the parents may retain any additional income.
c) When calculating the basic needs of the child, these guidelines also consider child care and the child’s health insurance expenses.
d) If income is available after the primary needs of the parents and each child are met, the child is entitled to share in any additional income of the parents so they can benefit from the absent parent’s higher standard of living.