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Facts about Getting a Divorce in Hawai

Facts about Getting a Divorce in Hawai`i

 

A divorce ends a marriage and settles all matters between a husband and wife. After a divorce, the husband and the wife go back to being single and are free to marry someone else.

Here are some facts about getting a divorce in Hawai`i:

  • In Hawaii, you must go to Family Court for a divorce.
  • You can get a divorce even if your husband or wife does not want a divorce.
  • You do not have to give a reason for wanting a divorce.
  • You can get divorced in Hawai`i even if you were married in another state or another country.
  • You have to live in Hawai`i for at least six months before you can ask the court for a divorce. If you are military personnel, you must have been stationed in Hawai`i for the six months preceding your request for a divorce.
  • If you have lived in Hawai`i for six months, it does not matter if you are a legal resident of another state or country.
  • You must go to the court in the county where you live, and you must have lived in that county for at least three months.
  • You do not have to hire a lawyer, although having one is very helpful.
  • A divorce usually takes several months from beginning to end. If the husband and wife disagree on many things, the case will take longer.
  • The court will not provide an interpreter for divorce cases, so if you have difficulty understanding or speaking English, you should bring an English-speaking friend or relative to interpret for you.
  • If you are an alien on conditional status and married to a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, a divorce may affect your immigration status. You should consult with an immigration attorney before filing for divorce.

 Steps to Obtain a Divorce

To start a divorce, you or your attorney must fill out forms and take them to Family Court. If you and your spouse agree on all the terms of the divorce, this is called an "uncontested divorce." In an uncontested divorce, you do not have to appear in court if the judge approves your forms. The court staff will let you know whether the judge has approved the forms or corrections are needed. You are legally divorced only after the approved forms are filed at the Family Court.

In cases where the husband and wife cannot agree on the terms of divorce, the judge will have to decide the unresolved issues. Some of the things that must be settled during divorce proceedings are:

  • with whom the children will live and when the other spouse will spend time with the children;
  • whether the husband or wife has to pay money to support the children;
  • how the husband and wife's property will be divided;
  • how the debts will be divided; and
  • whether the husband has to pay money to support the wife or the wife pay money to support the husband.

The judge can also decide what will happen while the divorce case is going on -- where the children will live, who will pay the children's expenses, or if one spouse will have to pay money to help support the other.

Divorce Forms

Family Court has forms for some of the simpler divorces. You must fill the forms out yourself. The court staff will answer questions, but they cannot tell you what to say in the forms or give you advice about what to do.

If your divorce is very complicated, there may not be forms for everything you need to do, and you will have to create the document yourself. That is why it is very helpful to have an attorney, especially if you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. A lawyer will do all the documents for you.

 Oahu

The Family Court of the First Judicial Circuit (Oahu) has various divorce forms, as well as a packet with applicable forms and instructions for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when both the husband and wife agree to the divorce and have settled all matters between them. The divorce forms and packets can be picked up at the Management Services Branch of Family Court at 777 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, on the second floor. The telephone number is 539-4496.

 Maui, Molokai, and Lanai

Family Court of the Second Judicial Circuit (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) has various divorce forms, as well as a packet with applicable forms and instructions for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when both the husband and wife agree to the divorce and have settled all matters between them. The forms and packets may be picked up at Wailuku Circuit Court. The address is 2145 Main Street, Room 106, Wailuku, Hawai`i 96793. The telephone number is 244-2969. If you live on Molokai or Lanai, you may write to or call Circuit Court on Maui, and they will mail the divorce forms to you. The toll-free number from Molokai and Lanai is 1-800-769-3868.

If you live on Molokai, a Family Court judge will be on your island once a month. The telephone number for Molokai Family Court is 553-3397. If you live on Lanai, the Family Court judge will be on your island every other month. There is no Family Court office on Lanai.

 Big Island

Family Court of the Third Judicial Circuit (Big Island) has various divorce forms, as well as a packet with applicable forms and instructions for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when both the husband and wife agree to the divorce and have settled all matters between them. The forms and packets may be picked up at the Circuit Court in Hilo or Kona. In Hilo, the address of Circuit Court is 75 Aupuni Street. The telephone number is 961-7400. In Kona, Circuit Court is located at 75-7595A Haukapila Street. The telephone number is 322-8790.

 Kauai
 

Family Court of the Fifth Judicial Circuit (Kauai) has various divorce forms, as well as a packet with applicable forms and instructions for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when both the husband and wife agree to the divorce and have settled all matters between them. The forms and packets may be picked up at Circuit Court in Lihu





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