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Hawaii Divorce Law

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 1 provides that the spouse filing for divorce must have been present in Hawaii for three months. However, a final divorce will not be granted unless one spouse has been a resident for six 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.

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

NAME OF COURT IN WHICH TO FILE FOR DIVORCE: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 580, Section 1 provides that the court in which to file is Family Court.

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: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Titles 580, Chapter 1, 580, Chapter 71 provides that the spouse filing for separation must have been a resident for three months. The grounds for legal separation are the same as the grounds for divorce.

SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Section 42 provides that 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.

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 42 provides that 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.

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 47 provides that Hawaii is an “equitable distribution” state. The court will distribute all of the spouses’ 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.

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 580, Chapter 47 provides that 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 ages of the spouses; (8) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (9) the usual occupations 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; and (13) other factors that measure the financial condition in which the spouses will be left as a result of the divorce.

SPOUSE’S NAME: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 574, Chapter 5 provides that if requested, the wife may resume the use of her maiden name.

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

CHILD SUPPORT: Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 576D, Chapter 7, and Title 580, Chapter 47 provide that 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.