Hawaii Divorce Laws

To be able to file for Petition for Dissolution of marriage in Hawaii the Family Court must have jurisdiction over your case. However, this is generally only a concern for those whose spouse has moved out of the state or who will be moving. Requirements for filing for divorce in Hawaii are outlined below:

  1. In order to be able to apply for a divorce in Hawaii one of the persons must have been living in the state for a period of 12 months or more.
  2. If the spouse or spouses have been serving in the military and are present in the state they are not prohibited by the above.

Grounds for divorce

Dissolution of marriage is the initial document that the spouse filing for divorce must file with the Hawaiian court when a divorce is requested. The spouse filing for divorce may file under certain conditions and these are outlined below:

  • An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  • Living separately after filing a decree of separation
  • Living apart for a period of at least 2 years
  • Spouses having lived apart for a 2-year period with no hope of the marriage being reconciled. Hawaii Statutes – Title 580 – Chapters: 41

Property division

The courts prefer that property division is agreed upon by the parties involved upon which time a marital settlement agreement will be signed, however if they cannot reach an agreement the property will be awarded by the Family Court within the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Hawaii is an equitable state and as such all property will be distributed between the spouses fairly. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement to split the property amicably then the courts will share it out fairly. First, the courts will decide what property is marital. They will then assign a monetary value and this is then the amount that will be split fairly. They will take into account the following:

  • The merits of each partner
  • The ability of each spouse
  • The condition the spouse will be left in after the divorce
  • The burdens imposed on each party as the result of any children
  • Any other circumstances which are deemed important to the case

Child custody

The Hawaiian court will take into account all factors, which are relevant when deciding on child custody issues. These will include the following:

  • Giving parents, grandparents, siblings and any other person with interest in the child, which is meaningful, access to the child.
  • The safety and wellbeing of the child
  • Any history of violence in the family
  • Should the parent be absent or have relocated due to violence in the family this will not deter from them being eligible for custody

Child support

Either of the parents may have to pay child support and the court will consider factors when deciding this. Here are some of the considerations they will take into account:

  • Earnings, income and the resources of each spouse
  • The potential for earning of each spouse
  • Necessities and capacity to borrow of each spouse
  • The child’s needs
  • The amount of public aid the child may receive if they did not have child support
  • Any other dependents in the family
  • The incentives for both of the parents to work
  • Balancing the standard of living so the spouses are not at poverty level
  • The avoidance of extreme changes in the parents incomes
  • Should a parent that is able to work and is not working and the child is school age a presumed income of 30 hours will be added onto the income of that parent

The above are official guideline set out under the [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 576D, Chapter 7 and Title 580, Chapter 47