Honolulu Property Division Lawyers
Understanding Property Division Laws in Hawaii
Our Honolulu property division attorneys will help you review your assets before appearing before a judge. If you’d rather make the decisions regarding property distribution yourself, our lawyers can help you draft an uncontested settlement as well.
Is Hawaii a Community Property State?
Hawaii family courts follow equitable distribution principles in property settlements. This approach is based on the belief that all property acquired by the couple during their marriage is marital property and hence subject to division. Judges in equitable division jurisdictions are authorized to divide assets unevenly if necessary to achieve what they view as an equitable result. In a nutshell, the courts views marriage as a partnership and generally divide assets and allocated debts accordingly.
Equitable vs. Equal
Equity strives to achieve a general sense of fair play. If a judge believes it is appropriate to deviate from an exact 50-50 split in order to arrive at a result that is fair and equitable in a given case, then that Judge may do and often does so.
It is important to understand that equitable distribution principles still generally start at a basic 50-50 split analysis for property distribution, in much the same way that a community property approach does. The key difference is that judges in Hawaii and other equitable distribution states are not absolutely bound to follow an exact even split the way they would be in community property states. Judges in equitable distribution jurisdictions like in Hawaii have the ability to switch to a 40-60 distribution of the marital assets, or even 70-30 percent, or whatever percentage they believe is appropriate. If the Court does deviate from the basic 50-50 split, generally the judge will explain why such an allocation is just and equitable.
Call Coates Frey Hackett & Gibson, AAL LLLC for help approaching property division: (808) 518-6376.
What Affects Equitable Distribution?
Taking an equitable division approach to property settlement allows the judge to make decisions based on the specific circumstances of the case. Some of the factors a court might consider in making an equitable distribution of a couple’s assets include:
- The length of the marriage
- The respective conditions in which each side will be left following the divorce
- The nature of the various property items (inherited, separate, or premarital property may be treated differently from that accumulated during marriage and will often be returned to the spouse who was the original owner)
- The responsibilities each party had during the marriage (including their respective economic and non-economic contributions)
- Whether there are children and who they will be living with after divorce
- The respective health and education levels of both parties
- The dissipation or wasting of any assets during the marriage
- The relative abilities and earning potentials of the parties
Reach out to Coates Frey Hackett & Gibson, AAL LLLC at (808) 518-6376 or complete our simple contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
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