Family Law

Hawaii Family Law: An Overview

Hawaii is often a favorite destination for weddings and honeymoons because of its tropical scenery and Polynesian cultural flair. Regardless of whether you’re a resident of the Aloha State, though, any family matters or issues that occur on its beaches are under the jurisdiction of Hawaii’s family laws. If you’re getting married in Hawaii, you’re subject to its marriage laws.

If you have a family law case in Honolulu, Pearl City, Mililani or elsewhere in Hawaii, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo’s Hawaii Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, a Hawaii family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.

Hawaii Premarital Agreements

Divorce may be the last thing on your mind when you’re wedding is coming up but it can be important to think about early on. Should you and your partner ever divorce, you may not be in the best state of mind when you both have to make important decisions regarding your property and debts. A premarital agreement can help keep things civil and on track if you ever get divorced.

A premarital agreement is written by and agreed upon by both parties to a marriage prior to the marriage ceremony. Once your marriage is solemnized, the agreement takes effect and may only be amended or revoked during the marriage with the signatures of both parties. Premarital agreements can’t adversely affect child support rights, so child support decisions aren’t usually included in the agreement.

A Hawaii premarital agreement can express both parties’ wishes in regards to their rights and obligations to real, personal and financial property, debts and life insurance benefits. This includes how the property and debts will be divided between the parties upon divorce. The agreement may also modify or eliminate spousal support.

Hawaii Marriage Requirements

Even if you’re from out of town and you’re getting married in Hawaii, you must abide by Hawaii’s legal marriage requirements. Those requirements serve to protect the rights of each party to a marriage, especially when it comes to consent and the family’s welfare. Hawaii’s marriage requirements prohibit certain marriages, including:

  • Marriage in which either party is under 18 years of age without parental consent.
  • Marriage in which either party is under 16 but not under 15 years of age without the consent of a family court.
  • Bigamous marriage in which either party is still legally married to or joined with a third party outside of the current marriage.
  • Marriage between two parties with a familial relation. This includes ancestors and descendants, half and whole-blooded siblings or uncles/aunts and nieces/nephews.
  • Marriage in which either party entered into the marriage under fraud, force or duress.
  • Marriage in which either party concealed a “loathsome disease” without the other party’s knowledge.

Hawaii No-Fault Divorces

Hawaii allows for “no-fault” divorces, which means that the party filing for divorce (the petitioner) doesn’t need to state a specific fault from the other party (the respondent) as the reason for the divorce. A no-fault divorce won’t influence the court’s decisions for alimony (called “maintenance” in Hawaii) or the division of marital property. Marital fault may influence the court’s decision for child custody rights, however.

A no-fault divorce may be granted if the court finds that:

  • There was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,
  • Both parties were separated from bed and board and, after the separation term has expired, there’s no evidence of reconciliation,
  • Both parties lived separately and apart under a separate maintenance decree for two or more years and there’s no evidence of reconciliation, or
  • Both parties have lived separately and apart for two or more years and there’s no hope for resumed cohabitation.
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