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Hawaii child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Hawaii child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Hawaii child support determined?

In Hawaii, either parent may be ordered to provide child support. The factors the courts consider in determining the amount of child support or whether or not to modify an existing child support order are:

  • all earnings, income and resources of both parents after tax deductions and social security
  • earning potential, reasonable necessities and borrowing capacity of each parent
  • the needs of the child for whom support is sought
  • the amount of public assistance which would be paid for the child under the full standard of need as established by the public assistance department
  • the existence of other dependents of the obligated parent
  • providing incentives for both parents to work
  • balancing the standard of living of both parents and child to avoid placing the child below the poverty level
  • to avoid extreme and unfair changes in either parent's income depending on custody
  • if parent purposely does not work, thirty (30) hours of weekly earnings at the minimum wage rate may be attributed to that parent's income

The above guidelines will be used unless there are exceptional circumstances. However, the guidelines are generally considered to be in the best interest of both parties.

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age.

Hawaii's custody guidelines:

Yes. Based on the best interests and wishes of the child, the Hawaii courts may award joint or sole custody if the child is of an appropriate age to make such a choice. One of the requirements of awarding joint custody is the assurance that the child will have continued contact with
both parents.

Hawaii's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. If a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through one of the parent's employment, they may be required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for Hawaii child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Yes. Hawaii like most states, has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from
earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. Once the support is withheld, it is sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

The current thinking or national trend is to encourage parents to work together for the best interests of their children. Joint custody is now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan for divorcing parents.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children.

While it is a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities and major decisions affecting the children, it rarely works out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Usually one parent is named as the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The primary joint custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

How Hawaii determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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