of the State of Hawaii
(written by Mr. Sudhir Shah and Miss Sonam Bohra)
is the statute governing the provisions of divorce in the state of Hawaii.
In the chapter number 580, Part lll the provisions relating to
Divorce are mentioned.
The petition for
dissolution of marriage has to be filed in the Family Court.
To be eligible to file a divorce petition with the Family Court of the
state, the following requirements have to be fulfilled:
either party has been
domiciled in the state; or
has been physically
present in the State for a continuous period of at least six months
preceding the date of filing the petition.
[Note: A person who may be residing on any military or
federal base, installation, or reservation within the State or who may be
present in the State under military orders shall not thereby be prohibited
from meeting the requirements of the above mentioned provisions]
4) Provisions for Service
of Summons (Service of process):
The personal service shall be made by the sheriff of the County where the
petition is filed. The service may also be done by any authorized person.
Such service is done by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint
to the defendant.
Certified or registered
method may be used under the following circumstances:
the defendant resides
outside the state of Hawaii; or
where the Court is
satisfied that serving the defendant personally is impracticable.
[Note: the divorce papers under the above mentioned method
must be served at the last known address of the defendant]
where the defendant cannot be found the method of publication may be used.
In such case the summons shall be published for 4 consecutive weeks in the
5) Grounds for divorce
(No fault divorce):
The state of
Hawaii can be said to be
no-fault divorce state. Any of the lawful grounds for divorce does
not require fault to be proved on the part of any of the spouses. If any of
the following grounds are fulfilled either of the spouses may file a
petition for divorce:
marriage is irretrievably broken;
the parties have lived
separate and apart under a decree of separation from bed and board entered
by any court of competent jurisdiction, the term of separation has
expired, and no reconciliation has been effected;
the parties have lived
separate and apart for a period of two years or more under a decree of
separate maintenance entered by any court of competent jurisdiction, and
no reconciliation has been effected; or
the parties have lived
separate and apart for a continuous period of two years or more
immediately preceding the application, there is no reasonable likelihood
that cohabitation will be resumed, and the court is satisfied that, in the
particular circumstances of the case, it would not be harsh and oppressive
to the defendant or contrary to the public interest to a divorce on this
ground on the complaint of the plaintiff.
6) Default Divorce:
respondent fails to file a reply to the divorce papers he is said to be
default. The defendant has total 20 days from the date of receipt of
divorce papers. If within these days he does not file a response then the
Court may grant divorce to the filing spouse. However this can happen only
when the defendant is properly served with the divorce papers. This is so,
since the Court acquires personal jurisdiction over the defendant only when
he is served with the papers correctly.
7) Alimony Factors:
considers the following points in determining the amount of alimony:
financial resources of
ability of the party
seeking support and maintenance to meet his or her needs independently;
duration of the
standard of living
established during the marriage;
age of the parties;
physical and emotional
condition of the parties;
usual occupation of the
parties during the marriage;
vocational skills and
employability of the party seeking support and maintenance;
needs of the parties;
custodial and child
ability of the party
from whom support and maintenance is sought to meet his or her own needs
while meeting the needs of the party seeking support and maintenance;
other factors which
measure the financial condition in which the parties will be left as the
result of the action under which the determination of maintenance is made;
probable duration of
the need of the party seeking support and maintenance.
[Note: the remarriage of either party shall terminate the
duty to pay or receive any amount of alimony. In case of remarriage the
remarrying party has to inform the Court of the fact of remarriage]
8) Property Division
following points are considered by the Court while dividing the marital
merits of the parties;
abilities of the parties;
the condition in
which each party will be left by the divorce;
the burdens imposed
upon either party for the benefit of the children of the parties; and
circumstances of the case.
9) Child Custody:
The custody of the
children shall be determined on the basis of law and justice. However the
Court shall consider the best interest of the child in case of child
10) Child Support:
The most current
Child Support Guidelines shall be used to calculate the amount of the
child support obligation. The law also provides for the establishment of
Child Support Enforcement Agency for the purpose of determining the
amount of child support. The Family Court consults the said agency in
establishing the child support guidelines in a particular case. Such
guidelines may include any of the following factors:
all earnings, income,
and resources of both parents;
the earning potential,
reasonable necessities, and borrowing capacity of both parents;
the needs of the child;
the amount of public
assistance which would be paid for the child;
the existence of other
dependents of the obligor parent;
to foster incentives
for both parents to work;
to balance the standard
of living of both parents and child and avoid placing any below the
poverty level whenever possible;
to avoid extreme and
inequitable changes in either parent's income depending on custody; and
if any obligee parent
(with a school age child or children in school), who is mentally and
physically able to work, remains at home and does not work, thirty (or
less) hours of weekly earnings at the minimum wage may be imputed to that
The parent having the custody of the child has a right to
file a petition with the Family Court for any modification in the amount of
child support. However the said parent cannot do so more than once every 3
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
This is a paper the Respondent can sign to acknowledge (admit) that he or
she has received a copy of the divorce Petition and Original Notice from
It is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and one who is
not his or her spouse.
amount of money that one spouse is ordered by the Court to pay to the
other spouse. It is also called as spousal support.
The Respondent uses this paper to respond to what the Petitioner – the
Respondent’s spouse – asks for in the Petition.
the legal paper that starts a case.
DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE:
A paper signed by
the judge that ends your marriage.
A ruling by the
court that either of the party failed to do something that was required
during the divorce process.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:
basis for a divorce; the law sets out specific reasons for a divorce which
have to be proven for the court to grant a divorce.
a legal paper that
starts a case.
the person who files
the petition for divorce with the Court.
person against whom the divorce case has been filed.
SERVICE OF PROCESS:
delivery of divorce papers upon the respondent by a person legally allowed
to do so.
is a written
law of a
country which is enacted by its
legal paper that indicates the other party that a legal proceeding has
commenced against him. The summons also mention the date on which the
recipient party is required to appear before the Court such legal
when the defendant is not going to try to stop the divorce and there are
no issues for the court to decide about the children, money, or property.