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Hawaii Divorce Laws

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Hawaii Divorce Laws

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

A person needs to be physically present for a continuous period of at least three months next preceding the application in order to file for an annulment, divorce or separation. No absolute divorce from the bond of matrimony shall be granted for any cause unless either party to the marriage has been domiciled or has been physically present in the State for a continuous period of at least six months next preceding the application therefor. The petition should be filed with the family court of the circuit in which the applicant has been domiciled. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 580-1]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A divorce may be granted on the following grounds:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

[Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 580-41]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

The family court may decree a separation from bed and board for a period not to exceed two years in any matrimonial action upon a petition for separation when the court finds the marriage is temporarily disrupted. Upon decreeing a separation, the court may make such further decree for the support and maintenance of either spouse and for the support, maintenance, and education of minor children, by either spouse, or out of the property of either spouse, as may appear just and proper. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 580-71 and 580-74]

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:

In any action involving the custody or visitation of a minor child, the court may order any party and the minor child, as needed, to attend counseling, parenting classes or any other type of educational activity, as the court deems appropriate to meet the best interests of the child. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 571-46.2]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Hawaii is an equitable distribution state, meaning that if the parties can't agree, the property will be distributed in an equitable fashion, not necessarily equally. In making these further orders, the court shall take into consideration: the respective merits of the parties, the relative abilities of the parties, the condition in which each party will be left by the divorce, the burdens imposed upon either party for the benefit of the children of the parties, and all other circumstances of the case. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 580-47]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

Either spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support. In addition to any other relevant factors considered, the court, in ordering spousal support and maintenance, shall consider the following factors:

  • Financial resources of the parties.
  • Ability of the party seeking support and maintenance to meet his or her needs independently.
  • Duration of the marriage.
  • Standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Age of the parties.
  • Physical and emotional condition of the parties.
  • Usual occupation of the parties during the marriage.
  • Vocational skills and employability of the party seeking support and maintenance.
  • Needs of the parties.
  • Custodial and child support responsibilities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Probable duration of the need of the party seeking support and maintenance.

The court may order support and maintenance to a party for an indefinite period or until further order of the court; provided that in the event the court determines that support and maintenance shall be ordered for a specific duration wholly or partly based on competent evidence as to the amount of time which will be required for the party seeking support and maintenance to secure adequate training, education, skills, or other qualifications necessary to qualify for appropriate employment, whether intended to qualify the party for a new occupation, update or expand existing qualification, or otherwise enable or enhance the employability of the party, the court shall order support and maintenance for a period sufficient to allow completion of the training, education, skills, or other activity, and shall allow, in addition, sufficient time for the party to secure appropriate employment. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 580-47]

SPOUSE'S NAME:

Either party to the divorce proceeding may request to resume the middle name or names and the last name used by the party prior to the marriage or a middle name or names and last name declared and used during any prior marriage and the court shall include the change of names in the divorce decree. [Based on Hawaii Revised Statutes 574-5]

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