Overview of Divorce in Hawaii

The following is an overview of divorce in Hawaii. Divorce in Hawaii may be filed as based on the marriage being irretrievably broken, or on separation, with property divided according to the “equitable distribution” principle, and spouse and child support determined by percentage of income model.

Residency and Filing Requirements

At least one party must be a resident of Hawaii for at least six months prior to filing for divorce in Hawaii, with the exception of military or federal employees.

Grounds for Filing

Divorce may be filed in Hawaii on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the spouses have been separated under a court-decreed separation without reconciliation, and the term of separation has expired or is at least two years, or the parties have lived apart for two years with no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation. These are the only possible grounds for divorce in Hawaii.

Property Distribution

Hawaii is an "equitable distribution" state, thus marital property will be divided fairly but not necessarily evenly. The court will encourage both parties to reach an agreement. Failing that, the court will distribute property, and will take into consideration the respective merits of the parties, their relative abilities, the burdens imposed upon either party for the benefit of the children of the parties, and all other factors.

Restoration or Name Change

Either party may request to restore their middle name or names and last name used prior to this or any previous marriage and the court will include the name change in its decree.

Spousal Support

Not all cases involve spousal support, either on a temporary or permanent basis. This is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by both parties. Failing that, it will be decided at the court's discretion, considering financial resources of the parties, the ability of the spouse seeking support meet their own needs independently, length of marriage, standard of living established during the marriage, age of both parties, their physical and emotional condition, the occupation, vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking support, child support and custody responsibilities, ability of the payee to meet his or her own needs while paying support, and other relevant factors.

Counseling or Mediation Requirements

If one of the parties denies under oath the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, and may find that the marriage is need irretrievably broken, continue the matter for further hearing not less than thirty or more than sixty days later, and may suggest that the parties seek counseling in the interim.

Child Custody and Support

If the parents cannot agree regarding the issues involving children, the court will establish custody at its discretion.

Hawaii child support is based on the Percentage of Income formula and calculates support as a percentage of income of the non-custodial parent.

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