Helping Hawaii’s Parents Protect Their Children
A Hawaii divorce decree must resolve two custody issues if there are children born of the marriage: “physical custody” (will the children reside primarily with one parent, or will they share time equally with both) and “legal custody” (which parent will be responsible for making major decisions in the child’s life, such as which church and school the child will attend, medical decisions, etc.). In Hawaii, both physical and legal custody can be shared (“joint custody”) or held solely by one parent (“sole custody”). If physical custody is granted to one parent, then the other parent usually has rights of “visitation,” as well as the corresponding obligation to pay child support, pursuant to the Hawaii Child Support Guidelines.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the custody issues, then the Hawaii Family Court will make a decision based on what the Judge assigned to the case believes is in your children’s best interest. In making this determination, the Judge will usually order a “social study” – which can be either a short meeting (about 30 minutes) with a court-appointed “Custody Evaluator”, or it can be a weeks-long investigation, where the Custody Evaluator visits each parent’s home, interviews each parent and the children, and meets with the children’s teachers and doctors. Thereafter, the Custody Evaluator will make recommendations to the Judge regarding custody and visitation.
The laws and Court processes regarding custody decisions are complex. Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, has the experience and knowledge to help you assert your rights and protect your children throughout this process.
Supervised Visitation in Hawaii
If you believe that your children are not safe with your spouse, either because your spouse has abused or neglected the children, abuses alcohol or illicit drugs or otherwise poses risk of harm to your children, you can ask the Hawaii Family Court to order that your spouse’s visits with the children be supervised by an agreed-upon adult, such as a relative or family friend, or by a professional visitation supervisor.
Hawaii Child Support
According to Hawaii law, the “non-custodial parent” – the parent who does not have physical custody of the children – must pay child support to the “custodial parent.” The payment of child support is required by law and cannot be waived by the custodial parent. The amount of child support is determined by the Hawaii Child Support Guidelines, and it considers the following:
- Your custody arrangement, whether one parent has sole physical custody or you share physical custody
- Both parents’ income
- Out-of-pocket medical insurance premiums for the child’s health care
- Before or after school day care
- Your child’s particular needs, if your child is a “special-needs” child
- Any other court-ordered child support obligations
If the non-custodial parent is intentionally unemployed or under-employed solely for the purpose of evading or reducing his or her child support obligation, the Hawaii Family Court will “impute” income to the non-custodial parent – essentially, the judge will pretend that the non-custodial parent is working and is making a wage befitting his or her employment and education history. This will force the non-custodial parent to find employment quickly. If the non-custodial parent is working, a portion of his or her paycheck can be taken, or garnished, by the state to pay child support.
Contact An Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
At Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, we will help you assert your rights and ensure that your children receive the financial support they need and deserve. Contact us online or call 808-796-5613 for a free initial telephone consultation with one of our experienced and caring family law attorneys.