Child support written in chalk

How Hawaii Handles Child Support During Divorce

Every state has its unique way of handling child support in the event of divorce. These guidelines are put in place to ensure parents responsibly take care of their children. In this blog, our attorneys will better understand how child support is handled in Hawaii by discussing the details associated with the process.

What is Child Support?

Child support is a continual payment made by the non-custodial parent to help financially support their child or children. These payments are often determined during divorce, although the only requirements to request child support are through paternity and maternity.

How Is Child Support Determined?

In Hawaii, the term referring to the parent responsible for the child support is referred to as the “payor” and the parent receiving the payment as the “payee.” The payment amount is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, which considers a few factors of the payor. These factors include:

  • Net income
  • Child care expenses
  • Amounts paid for child’s medical insurance
  • Earnings income

Which Parent is Responsible For Payments?

Hawaii is one of two states in the US that uses the Melson Formula Model based on the idea that a child benefits the most when resources are pooled from both parents. This formula ensures that both parents will contribute to their child’s upkeep. It will take into account each parent’s basic needs, such as car payments, gross income, and other payments already contributing to the care of the children, such as healthcare and insurance. Once everything has been considered, each parent will be required to contribute a certain amount toward the support of their children monthly.

How Payment Amounts Are Decided

Many factors are taken into account when determining the amount paid by each parent. Income Share Method and Percentage Of Income Method are the most common methods used to calculate child support amounts.

Income Share Method

When using this method, the court will use economic tables to estimate the monthly amount needed to raise the children. Each parent will pay a percentage of the cost calculated based on their share of combined income.

Percentage of Income Method

The court will decide on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income to be paid to the custodial parent. The percentage can stay the same but can also vary if the payor’s income changes over time.

Is There An Age Limit?

The payor is required to continue payments until the child is at least 18. However, this age limit can be extended to 23 if the child attends a university or trade school full-time. The state of Hawaii defines “full-time student” as 12 credit hours per semester.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

After it has been established, child support is eligible for modification based on the following factors:

  • Fewer children require child support.
  • A change in childcare costs.
  • A change in the child’s medical insurance payments.
  • An increase or decrease in income for either parent.

If these changes happen, modifying child support requires a motion filed with the Child Support Enforcement Agency or Family Court. While filing a motion with Family Court is usually faster, it is more complicated and can affect custody agreements or visitation rights.

At Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL LLLC, our team of experienced attorneys can provide additional information regarding child support in Hawaii. If you have any questions, we are ready to take your call. (808) 518-6376

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