The Divorce Process in Hawaii
How To Get a Divorce in Hawaii
Our lawyers approach divorce and separation cases with the intention of
making the process as quick, affordable, and emotionally painless as possible.
We do this by attempting to keep cases on the uncontested track. Through
this approach, we try to get both parties to voluntarily sign an agreement.
This document must include a complete settlement of all property and other
issues in the divorce or separation. We “Wrote the Book” on
family law in Hawaii and are ready to apply the knowledge and strategies in it to
“Divorce with Decency” is much more than our founder’s
famed, award-winning book. It can also be an accurate description of your case. Contact us
today to get started. We serve Oahu and neighboring islands.
Settlement agreements provide the couple with the power to handle all decisions
regarding the divorce. To be a plausible option, the couple needs to be
willing to cooperate and reach an agreeable solution. Once an uncontested
property settlement agreement, or divorce decree, is signed by both husband
and wife, it is then submitted to the court and is generally approved
by the court. The parties are not asking the judge to decide anything
regarding their divorce or their assets. Instead, they are simply asking
the judge to approve the agreement as created by the parties themselves
through amicable negotiations. This is a much quicker, less adversarial,
and more financially manageable procedure than a contested divorce.
Contested and Uncontested Divorces
Divorce decrees, in addition to offering a perfect opportunity by its terms
to be civil and friendly with your spouse, also offer both parties the
chance to save time and money as well. Uncontested divorces generally
cost $1,500 to $2,00 in legal fees and can be concluded within a few months.
We must stress, however, that every single item of the divorce settlement
must be mutually agreed upon. Otherwise, the court considers the case
to be contested.
If there is a disagreement causing the other party to be unwilling to sign,
regardless of the reason, then you do not have an uncontested divorce.
The disagreement can be over something as major as a million-dollar disparity
in property valuations or as simple as who gets the family dog or the
china, but if it prevents getting a signed agreement, it will preclude
you going down the substantially less time consuming and less costly uncontested
divorce track and process.
If disputes arise, you are then on the contested divorce track. Contested
cases can take well over a year and cost several thousands of dollars
in attorneys’ fees and costs to complete.
What authority grants divorces in Hawaii?
Family Court is responsible for handling divorce filings and issuing divorce
decrees. The court also handles related issues such as child support,
paternity claims and family disputes.
What are the restrictions on divorce?
The process is quite open compared to other U.S. states. There is no requirement
for stating a reason for divorce in court or on court documents. Hawaii
courts can issue a divorce even if spouses were married in other jurisdictions
such as another state or country. The filing spouse must have lived in
Hawaii for at least six months before petitioning the court for a divorce.
How long does the divorce process take?
A typical Hawaii divorce takes several months, even if spouses are not
contesting the process. Any dispute, such as disagreements on splitting
up marital assets or managing child support, will lengthen the process
and delay the decree.
Do I require a lawyer for a Hawaii divorce?
Hawaii law does not require divorce litigants to get legal representation,
but the State Judiciary state that having a lawyer during a divorce is
very helpful. An attorney can defend all of your interests in the case
of a divorce from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the process.
Many of our clients tend to instinctively head toward a legal separation
in the common situation where they have begun to experience some level
of marital disharmony but are not quite ready to permanently end the marriage.
This is an ambivalent period of mixed emotions. The legal grounds for
separations are similarly nonspecific, requiring only that the marriage
be “temporarily disrupted.” It establishes a temporary break
in the marital relationship. In Hawaii, the court will approve a statutory
legal separation period of about two years based upon documents that outline
a separation agreement. At the end of this time, however, you must then
finalize things either by formally ending the marriage or repairing it.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, none of the marital assets,
debt are "permanently" allocated or distributed and any award
of child custody will be temporary.
A legal separation offers several benefits, including:
Separation is usually best in situations including addiction where the
legal separation protects both parties for two years while the situation
is being worked on. Say, for example, the father is struggling as an alcoholic
but is a good dad. The mom needs to protect the children while dad is
working on recovery in the hopes that they will get back together.
After a divorce, it’s not uncommon for one person to lose their health
insurance. But because a separated couple is still legally married, both
parties can keep their health insurance.
Depending on your income, job, and
assets, it may make financial sense to stay married on paper. A divorced couple
may have to forfeit several tax benefits associated with being married.
Some couples choose to get separated if their religion doesn’t allow
for divorce. Others may be morally against the idea of divorce.
To learn more about your separation or divorce options, reach out to Coates
Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL LLLC at
(808) 518-6376 or complete our
simple contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.