Divorce and Legal Separation
A court will weigh several factors to determine whether you or your spouse are entitled to alimony or spousal support. There is no guarantee that spousal support will be awarded, but a thorough analysis is needed.
Negotiation outside the courtroom to reach a divorce or child custody agreement that is optimal for everyone may be a good choice for those looking to avoid the expense and stress of litigation.
Your marital assests and debts will need to be divided. Hawaii is an equitable distribution state. Accounting for property held before the marriage and gifts received during the marriage are very important to ensure a fair division of property is reached.
If circumstances change, a post-divorce decree modification may be appropriate. This may include modifying a child support order, or visitation schedule.
Child Protective Services (CPS)
Foster Custody is the legal status created when DHS places a child outside of the family home with the agreements of the legal custodian or pursuant to a court order. Parental rights may be terminated if the child’s parents are not able to provide the child with a safe family home within a reasonable period of time. You must act expeditiously in order to protect your parental rights.
Family Supervision is the legal status in which a child’s legal custodian is willing and able to provide a safe family home with the assistance of a service plan. The child remains in the family home with service plans tailored to parents’ individual needs. Nearly all CPS cases move to Family Supervision before being closed.
Family Court Drug Court
Family Court Drug Court is a judiciary program designed to help parents break the cycle of addiction and child abuse & neglect through monitored service delivery. Because parents are so closely monitored, there is an opportunity to have the children returned in family supervision status more quickly. This may be a good choice for those parents fiercely committed to sobriety and willing to work intensely to have their children returned quickly.
Guardian ad Litem
All children in either family supervision or foster custody are appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL). The responsibility of the GAL in a CPS case is to ensure the child’s wishes are delivered to the court and to advocate for the child’s best interests.
Other Family Law Services
Adoption legally formalizes your parental role and provides permanency to a child. If you are a step-parent, foster parent, same-sex couple, or family member seeking to adopt a child, our office can guide you through to a happy ending.
Our office represents those seeking guardianship of a minor child or incapacitated adults. Regardless of the circumstances, there are often times when family members or other loved ones need to step in to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.
Hawaii law makes a presumption that children born during a marriage are fathered by the husband. If there is a question that a child born during the marriage was not fathered by the husband, either party may seek to establish or disestablish paternity. Alternatively, if you are unmarried and have a child with a partner, and you are not listed on the birth certificate, a paternity action can establish your paternity.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Pre and Post-nuptial agreements protect your assets and future liability before or after marriage. Negotiating these agreements if a sensitive issue, but they could save you significant expense and lengthy disputes if a marriage ends.
Frequently Asked Questions
You must immediately act to protect your rights. After you’ve been served with a divorce petition, you have a limited amount of time to file a legal response. If you fail to act, the Court may enter a default judgment against you. Call our office immediately if you have been served with court papers of any kind.
Our goal is always to work efficiently to get you the best result possible without unnecessary expense. Beyond legal fees, there are other unavoidable costs including filing fees, photocopying, postage, delivery fees, depositions, and transcripts.
and any other personal relevant documents.
There are significant issues at stake when ending a marriage. How will you divide your property? How will you divide your debt? What about retirement accounts? If you have children, who will they live with? How much child support will you be required to pay? Who will pay for their medical insurance? Having an attorney is invaluable to ensure you are protected during divorce proceedings.
The court will determine what is in the best interests of the children. Usually it is in the best interests of the child to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents. In a custody dispute, you may have a specialist carry out a custody evaluation. The more active you are in your children’s lives, the more likely the custody order will reflect equal time with the children.
If your spouse is the primary earner, it is possible to ask the Court to order that he or she pay for your legal fees. Contact our office to discuss further.