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Navigating Relocation and Child Custody in Hawaii

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Child Custody

If you’re a co-parent in Hawaii and you’re considering a move, navigating child custody arrangements can be a complex and emotional process. It usually brings up a myriad of legal, logistical and emotional considerations. Understanding how relocation custody matters are legally handled in the state of Hawaii is crucial for effectively navigating this challenging situation.

The legal process for relocation

If you are a parent considering a move with your child, you should provide a written notice informing your co-parent about your intended move.  This notice should include details like the planned date, new location and reasons for relocation. However, there may be additional precautions that should be in place before doing this, so it is best to consult with an attorney in deciding the best plan of action for not only your relocation, but your relocation case.

Once you inform your co-parent about your plans to relocate, it’s important to attempt to reach an amicable agreement regarding custody arrangements after the move. The court may order mediation to facilitate communication and explore solutions agreeable to both parties. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will hold a hearing to determine the relocation’s impact on the child’s best interests. Both parents have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments.

The child’s best interests

The state prioritizes the child’s well-being above all else in relocation cases that go to court. The court’s primary concern is to help ensure that any decision made serves the child’s best interests. Various factors are weighed to determine this, including the child’s relationship with each parent. The strength and quality of the child’s bond with both parents is therefore an important consideration.

The child’s age and needs are also taken into consideration. Younger children may require more stability and struggle with disruptions to their routines and social circles, while older children might adapt more readily.

The courts also factor in a parent’s reasons for the relocation.  Is it for a job opportunity, improved living conditions or the desire to be closer to family? Furthermore, the potential impact on the non-resident parent’s relationship with the child cannot be overlooked. The court examines how relocation might affect the ability of the non-resident parent to maintain a meaningful connection with the child.

Relocation with children who are subject to a co-parenting arrangement requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it involves modifying custody and parenting time concerns. Understanding Hawaii’s legal framework and prioritizing your child’s well-being are crucial for navigating this process successfully. Moreover, consulting with an experienced legal team can provide valuable guidance and help to better ensure that your rights are protected.