HawaiiChild Support Laws
Hawaii Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Hawaii has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Hawaii, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Hawaii uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
Hawaii's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under Hawaii's child support law include childcare costs and extraordinary medical costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Hawaii child support order.
Case Notes Agreement to pay all post-high school education expenses is not an exceptional circumstance to allow lower child support payments than the specified guidelines.
Guidelines do not take priority before the parties' agreement to pay more than the guidelines specify, however they do take priority before the parties' agreements to pay less.
Once the court establishes the amount of child support required to be paid by a parent, the court shall use the guidelines established, unless the circumstances need it to be an exception that would warrant departure.
Neither costs for a second vehicle or preschool costs of another child of the parent without custody supported a finding of a circumstance of exception.
The guidelines are:
- Applied statewide
- Put in place to simplify child support calculations as much as possible
- Put in place ensuring that at least the child benefits from the income and resources of the obligor parent on the same basis in comparison to any other child of the obligor parent
- Sent to the agency and all family court judges when available or updated, and will be used by the judges in establishing each child support order.
Overtime and cost of living allowance may be deducted where appropriate.
- The earning potential, reasonable necessities, and borrowing capacity of both parents
- The needs of the child
- how much public assistance would be paid for the child under the needs established by the department
- Other dependents under the obligor parent
- incentives for both parents to work
- To balance the standard of living of both the parents and child, avoiding putting any party below the poverty level
- To avoid huge, unfair changes in either parent's income
- If any obligee parent who is mentally and physically able to work, remains at home and does not work 30 hours or less of weekly earnings at the minimum wage may be imputed to that parent's income.
The parent who is responsible, or possesses custody will not be precluded from petitioning the family court or the child support enforcement agency to review and adjust the child support order more than once in a three-year period if the second or subsequent request is supported by proof of a significant change in circumstances.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Hawaii family court through a child support order. In Hawaii, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Hawaii Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Hawaii?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Hawaii?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Hawaii?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Hawaii?
- How is child support enforced in Hawaii?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Hawaii?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Hawaii?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Hawaii law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Hawaii?
Hawaii has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Hawaii?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Hawaii has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Hawaii?
While the state of Hawaii has no explicit requirement for college expenses to be covered under child support, support for college expense by the non-custodial parent may be voluntarily agreed to by both parties, after which it is contractually enforceable.
How is child support enforced in Hawaii?
In the state of Hawaii, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Hawaii welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Hawaii?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Hawaii tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.