The spouse filing for divorce must have been present in Hawaii for 3 months. However, a final divorce will not be granted unless 1 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.
Legal Grounds for Divorce
- No Fault Divorce:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- 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 Divorce: Legal separation and there has been no reconciliation.
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.
Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures
The “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” may be shown by both spouses stating so in an affidavit or by 1 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 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:
- The burdens imposed upon either spouse for the benefit of the children
- The position each spouse will be left in after the divorce
- The relative abilities of the spouses
- The respective merits of the spouses
- All other circumstances
Alimony and 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:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support
- The ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to meet his or her needs independently
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses
- The needs of each spouse
- The age of the spouses
- The physical and emotional conditions of the spouses
- The usual occupation of the spouses during the marriage
- The vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking support and maintenance
- The probable duration of the need of the spouse seeking support and maintenance
- Tny custodial and child support responsibilities
- 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
- Other factors which measure the financial condition in which the spouses will be left as a result of the divorce
- Any other factor which measures the financial condition in which the spouses will be left in as a result of any award of maintenance
Joint or sole child custody may be awarded to either or both of the parents or another person 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. The court may order a child custody investigation and report. Grandparents may be awarded visitation. Family violence committed by a parent raises the presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child for that parent to have any custody. There are no other specific factors for consideration set out in the statute.
The court may order either or both parents to provide child support in a just and equitable manner. Factors to be considered are:
- All earnings, income, and resources of the parents
- The earning potential, reasonable necessities, and borrowing capacity of the parents
- The needs of the child
- The full amount of public aid the child would receive without any child support
- Any other dependents of the parents
- Incentives for both parents to work
- An attempt to balance the standard of living of the parents and avoid placing any parent below poverty level
- To avoid any extreme changes in either parent’s income
- If a parent with school-age children is able to work and does not, 30 hours of minimum wage income will be added to that parent’s presumed income