HAWAII DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
|This is a reference guide to understanding Hawaii no fault divorce basics. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.|
- Time Frame: The minimum time permitted to finalize a divorce after filing is 30 days.
- Where to File: Family Court. The action is filed in either the judicial district where the plaintiff resides or the judicial district where the spouses last lived together.
- Statute Statutes: Hawaii Revised Statues; Chapter 580.
- Name of Action: Complaint for Divorce.
- Name of Parties: Plaintiff, the filing party, and defendant, the other spouse.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Hawaii is a no-fault only state.
- Primary Documents Filed: Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce.
- Physical Separation Required: Not for filing under the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken otherwise the parties must have lived separate and apart and without cohabitation for two years.
- Separation Time to File: None.
- Grounds: 1) the marriage is irretrievably broken; 2) the parties have lived separate and apart under a decree of separation; 3) the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of two years; 4) the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of two years and there is no reasonable likelihood of future cohabitation.
- Residency Requirement: Both parties must be physically present or one spouse must have been domiciled in Hawaii for at least six months prior to filing.
- Mediation Required: Mediation is not routinely required for a contested divorce in Hawaii, but the court may order it to resolve custody, visitation or support issues for children.
- Parenting Classes Required: Parenting classes are required for divorcing parents with minor children.
All divorcing parents and their children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend the Kids First program and the children view a video entitled "The Purple Family." Friends of Kids First Hawaii is a program for divorcing parents, separating civil unions or paternity cases to educate them about the impact of divorce and separation on minor children. There is typically no fee. Hawaii courts also require all divorcing parents with minor children to complete a mandatory parenting class before granting a divorce. Unless the court grants a waiver, both parents must complete this parenting class requirement. The Parent Education And Family Stabilization Parenting Class is explained in detail is the Hawaii Revised Statutes 571-46.2.
- Filing Fee: $250 if the parties have children, $200 if they do not. (See HI Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: The State Child Support Enforcement Agency is a division within the Department of the Attorney General. The Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency helps locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity, establish, modify, or terminate support orders, and enforcement.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: Hawaii follows the Melson Formula.
The Melson Formula allocates what is called “a poverty self-support level reserve.” The official Child Support Guidelines set out in the Hawaii Revised Statutes; Title 576D, Chapter 7 and Title 580, Chapter 47 control the application of the formula and outline the child support guiltiness fro determining child support. Using a Hawaii Child Support Worksheet, the formula calculates the total remaining combined parental income, and applies the noncustodial parent's percentage to a standard primary child support obligation. This is based on the number of children. After the primary support is deducted, the noncustodial parent is assessed an additional percentage of his or her remaining income. Generally, the court deviates from Melson if the support exceeds 70% of the non-custodial parent's net income, or if he or she supports additional children, or under other limited circumstances. However, without showing a change in circumstance, the custodial parent can petition the court once every three years for the review and adjustment of the child support awarded. The court also considers deviation factors that may apply on a case-by-case basis. Many parents arrive at their own support amount by agreement, but for the court to order this amount it will compare it to the amount calculated using the state support worksheet before approving.
- Property Division: Hawaii is an equitable distribution state, and all property is considered for distribution.
- Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property during the marriage is considered marital.
- Attendance at Hearing: No.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: Hawaii does not grant divorce based on fault, but the judge may consider economic misconduct (dissipation of assets) affecting marital estate, such as gambling or drug use.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: Hawaii uses three methods to effect service of process: personal service, substituted service, and service by publication.
- Hawaii is one of eight jurisdictions that include separate property in the marital estate when the court finds a special showing of need by the non-titled spouse.
- Divorce Records: Hawaii Department of Health, Office of Health Status Monitoring
In Hawaii, the Office of Health Status Monitoring, a unit of the Department of Health, maintains vital records, which includes Divorce Certificates as well as Marriage and Death. Access to Divorce Certificates and Records is restricted by statute (HRS Section 338-18), which means that a certified copy of a Divorce Certificate is issued only to a requestor that has a "direct and tangible interest in the record". To qualify you typically must be a party of the divorce. This restriction helps protect the privacy of the divorced parties as the actual Divorce Certificate may contain personal information like birth dates. The Office of Health Status Monitoring is located at 1250 Punchbowl Street in Honolulu, Hawaii (Room 103 of the Health Department Building,). To obtain an actual copy of a Decree of Divorce versus just the Divorce Certificate, the request should be made to the county courthouse in which the divorce was filed and finalized. The actual Decree of Divorce will include the details of the divorce settlement, where the Divorce Certificate only specifies the parties, date of the divorce, and the county in which it was filed.