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WHAT IS DIVORCE
A divorce legally ends a marriage and settles all matters pertaining to child custody, child visitation, child support exemption, child’s medical and dental expenses, alimony, life insurance, division of property and debts, and name change between a husband and a wife. In the State of Hawaii, after a divorce is final, either individual may resume being subsequently free to remarry someone else.

FILING FOR DIVORCE IN HAWAII
The Hawaii Family Court of the First Circuit has sole and exclusive jurisdiction to handle filing for divorce in Hawaii.

  • Jurisdiction
    • Jurisdiction gives the Family Court Judges the power to make decisions for the parties in a divorce and will determine matters such as:
  • Alimony
  • Life insurance
  • Division of property including, but not limited to bank accounts, retirement, real estate, vehicles, stocks, personal items, and household goods 
  • Determining which party resumes the payment of debts
  • Name change of a party


And if the divorce involves children of the marriage:

  • Legal and physical custody of the child(ren)
  • Visitations
  • Travel expenses
  • Child support
  • Dependency exemption
  • Medical and dental expenses


In order for the Hawaii Family Court to have jurisdiction over the case to grant a divorce, at least one of the parties, specifically, the person filing the Complaint for divorce, otherwise known as the PLAINTIFF, must be:

  1. A resident of Hawaii for a minimum of six (6) consecutive months; or
  2. Military personnel stationed in Hawaii for a minimum of six (6) consecutive months, preceding the request for a divorce.


It is not necessary to hire a divorce attorney because the process\procedure for a standard divorce in Hawaii can be completed in about six (6) to eight (8) weeks, provided all of the parties are in cooperation on all of the issues mentioned above, and all required documents are signed by the parties, submitted to the Court, and approved and filed with the Court.


GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Hawaii is a “no-fault divorce state,” which means that you do not need to prove fault of the other party and can simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the parties reach an agreement on all terms of the divorce, the Court will grant the divorce.

DIVORCES MAY BE CONTESTED OR UNCONTESTED
To start a divorce proceeding, you must file the proper forms with the Family Court.  LEGAL-EZ can file all the necessary forms with the Family Court.


UNCONTESTED DIVORCE

If you and your spouse agree on all of the terms of the divorce, this is called an “UNCONTESTED DIVORCE.” In an uncontested divorce, neither parties are required to appear in Court when the Judge approves your forms. The Court staff will inform you whether or not the Judge approves the forms, or if changes are required. You are legally divorced effective upon the date the Judge signs the divorce decree and are filed with the Family Court. Again, the entire process normally takes approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date the Family Court receives the signed documents.

CONTESTED DIVORCE

If the parties are not able to reach an agreement on all the terms in the divorce decree, either one of the parties may make the matter a “CONTESTED DIVORCE” and moves the Court and asks the Court to decide on the issues which are in dispute. A Motion to Set, along with the Position Statement is then filed with the Court. Once the Motion is filed, the Family Court or Judge will take over and make decisions where the parties could not reach an agreement. Matters may include all that were previously mentioned. Common matters that couples often dispute over are: custody and visitation, child support, alimony, expenses for the child(ren) and which parent should be responsible for such expenses, matters regarding the marital residence, determining which party is to be responsible for payments such as the mortgage and debts, restraining orders, and matters of the like.

Contested cases are typically handled by attorneys and are done on an hourly basis, ranging between $225.00/hour to $500.00/hour (and higher). Therefore, it is important for the parties to understand that in order to maintain control of the process and reduce costs, it is necessary to reach an agreement on all of the issues in the case. One party may not want the divorce, or is unwilling to cooperate; however, they cannot contest the divorce on moral grounds alone. Only the terms of the divorce may be contested, and not the process itself.

Therefore, the major difference between an Uncontested and Contested divorce case is the agreement between the parties on ALL issues.


What Are the Issues

First and foremost, if the parties have children together, issues will include:

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