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Hawaii Divorce Laws

Summary of Hawaii divorce laws

HAWAII RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE: The spouse


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filing for divorce must have been present in Hawaii for 3 months. However, a final divorce will not be granted unless one spouse has been a resident for 6 months. The divorce should be filed in either: (1) the judicial district where the plaintiff resides; or (2) the judicial district where the spouses last lived together. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 1].

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: No-Fault: (1) irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; and (2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years and it would not be harsh or oppressive to the defendant spouse to grant the divorce. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 41].

General: Legal separation and there has been no reconciliation. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 41].

NAME OF COURT IN WHICH TO FILE FOR DIVORCE: Family Court. [Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 580, Section 1].

TITLE OF DIVORCE ACTION: Complaint for Divorce.

NAME USED TO DESCRIBE SPOUSE FILING FOR DIVORCE: Plaintiff.

NAME USED TO DESCRIBE OTHER SPOUSE IN DIVORCE: Defendant.

TITLE OF FINAL DIVORCE PAPERS: Decree of Divorce.

LEGAL SEPARATION: The spouse filing for separation must have been a resident for 3 months. Temporary legal separation may be granted for up to 2 years on the grounds that the marriage is temporarily disrupted. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Titles 580, Chapter 1, 580, Chapter 71].

SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES: The "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage" may be shown by both spouses stating so in an affidavit or by one spouse stating so in an affidavit and the other spouse not denying it. The court, in such cases, may waive a hearing in uncontested divorces and grant the divorce based on the affidavit. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Section 42].

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS: If one of the spouses denies that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the court may delay the proceedings for 60 days and advise the spouses to seek counseling. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 42].

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION: 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: (1) the burdens imposed upon either spouse for the benefit of the children; (2) the position each spouse will be left in after the divorce; (3) the relative abilities of the spouses; (4) the respective merits of the spouses; and (5) all other circumstances. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 47].

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT: The court may award either spouse maintenance, for either an indefinite period or a specific period to allow the receiving spouse to become self-supporting. Marital misconduct is not a factor to be considered. The factors to be considered are: (1) the standard of living established during the marriage; (2) the duration of the marriage; (3) the ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support; (4) the ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to meet his or her needs independently; (5) the comparative financial resources of the spouses; (6) the needs and obligations of each spouse; (7) the age of the spouses; (8) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (9) the usual occupation of the spouses during the marriage; (10) the vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking support and maintenance; (11) the probable duration of the need of the spouse seeking support and maintenance; (12) any custodial and child support responsibilities; (13) the ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her own needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking support; (14) other factors which measure the financial condition in which the spouses will be left as a result of the divorce; and (15) any other factor which measures the financial condition in which the spouses will be left in as a result of any award of maintenance. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 47].

SPOUSE'S NAME: If requested, the wife may resume the use of her maiden name. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 574, Chapter 5].

CHILD CUSTODY: 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. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 571, Chapter 46].

CHILD SUPPORT: The court may order either or both parents to provide child support in a just and equitable manner. Factors to be considered are: (1) the relative merits of the parties; (2) the relative abilities of the parties; (3) the condition of the parties after the divorce; (4) the burdens imposed on the parties for the benefit of the child; and (5) all other circumstances of the case. There are official Child Support Guidelines set out in the statute. [Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 576D, Chapter 7, and Title 580, Chapter 47].

Excerpted with permission from: Divorce Yourself: The National No-Fault Divorce Kit. Copyright 2000 Daniel Sitarz. All rights reserved.
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