HawaiiChild Custody Law
Hawaii Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
Child custody is defined as the guardianship over a child, which covers both physical custody and legal custody. In a child custody dispute the court may award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to a single parent.
Child custody cases in Hawaii can be either contested and resolved by court order, or noncontested and defined in a child custody agreement between the parents. A custody agreement or order will legally determine, at minimum, the following things:
- Where the child lives (physical custody)
- Who is involved in making parenting decisions (legal custody)
- How the visitation schedule with non-custodial parents or relatives is arranged
This page describes how a contested child custody case is handled in the Hawaii court system, and what factors are used to determine which parent gets custody.
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After a breakup or divorce in Hawaii, couples with children must come to a child custody agreement that describes which parent the children will live with, how visitation will be scheduled, and how the non-custodial parent will pay child support.
Some of the factors considered by Hawaii in child custody cases include the child's wishes and any history of domestic violence.
In determining the amount of the bond, the court shall consider the financial circumstances of the perpetrator of family violence; (H) Impose any other condition that is deemed necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of family violence, or other family or household member; and (I) Order the address of the child and the victim to be kept confidential; (12) The court may refer but shall not order an adult who is a victim of family violence to attend, either individually or with the perpetrator of the family violence, counseling relating to the victim's status or behavior as a victim as a condition of receiving custody of a child or as a condition of visitation; (13) If a court allows a family or household member to supervise visitation, the court shall establish conditions to be followed during visitation; (14) A supervised visitation center shall provide a secure setting and specialized procedures for supervised visitation and the transfer of children for visitation and supervision by a person trained in security and the avoidance of family violence; (15) The court may include in visitation awarded pursuant to this section visitation by electronic communication provided that the court shall additionally consider the potential for abuse or misuse of the electronic communication, including the equipment used for the communication, by the person seeking visitation or by persons who may be present during the visitation or have access to the communication or equipment; whether the person seeking visitation has previously violated a temporary restraining order or protective order; and whether adequate provision can be made for the physical safety and psychological well-being of the child and for the safety of the custodial parent; (16) The court may set conditions for visitation by electronic communication under paragraph (15), including visitation supervised by another person or occurring in a protected setting. Where there is no child custody evaluator available that meets the requirements and standards, or any child custody evaluator to serve indigent parties, the court may appoint a person otherwise willing and available in accordance with section 571-46.4; (5) The court may hear the testimony of any person or expert, produced by any party or upon the court's own motion, whose skill, insight, knowledge, or experience is such that the person's or expert's testimony is relevant to a just and reasonable determination of what is for the best physical, mental, moral, and spiritual well-being of the child whose custody is at issue; (6) Any custody award shall be subject to modification or change whenever the best interests of the child require or justify the modification or change and, wherever practicable, the same person who made the original order shall hear the motion or petition for modification of the prior award; (7) Reasonable visitation rights shall be awarded to parents, grandparents, siblings, and any person interested in the welfare of the child in the discretion of the court, unless it is shown that rights of visitation are detrimental to the best interests of the child; (8) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child and may assess the reasonable fees and expenses of the guardian ad litem as costs of the action, payable in whole or in part by either or both parties as the circumstances may justify; (9) In every proceeding where there is at issue a dispute as to the custody of a child, a determination by the court that family violence has been committed by a parent raises a rebuttable presumption that it is detrimental to the child and not in the best interest of the child to be placed in sole custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody with the perpetrator of family violence. In addition to other factors that a court shall consider in a proceeding in which the custody of a child or visitation by a parent is at issue, and in which the court has made a finding of family violence by a parent: (A) The court shall consider as the primary factor the safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of family violence; (B) The court shall consider the perpetrator's history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, or assault or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault to another person; and (C) If a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of family violence by the other parent, the absence or relocation shall not be a factor that weighs against the parent in determining custody or visitation; (10) A court may award visitation to a parent who has committed family violence only if the court finds that adequate provision can be made for the physical safety and psychological well-being of the child and for the safety of the parent who is a victim of family violence; (11) In a visitation order, a court may: (A) Order an exchange of a child to occur in a protected setting; (B) Order visitation supervised by another person or agency; (C) Order the perpetrator of family violence to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the court, a program of intervention for perpetrators or other designated counseling as a condition of the visitation; (D) Order the perpetrator of family violence to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation and for twenty-four hours preceding the visitation; (E) Order the perpetrator of family violence to pay a fee to defray the costs of supervised visitation; (F) Prohibit overnight visitation; (G) Require a bond from the perpetrator of family violence for the return and safety of the child.
If the parents are on amicable terms they may agree to custody terms in a parenting agreement between themselves, or via a mediator. If child custody is disputed, however, they will have to receive a child custody order from a Hawaii judge, who will attempt to make a custody decision that is in the "best interests of the child".
In the state of Hawaii, a number of factors are taken into account by the courts when determining who gets child custody. This section describes Hawaii's custody factors, considerations, and presumptions when evaluating a custody order.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating child custody in the state of Hawaii?
Hawaii has a list of statutory factors that are considered by the court when determining a custody order. This list may include factors such as the child's age, the living situation of each parent, any history of abuse or neglect from either parent, etc. Although there is a statutory list of factors, consider other factors at its discretion depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Do judges in the state of Hawaii favor joint custody?
Judges in Hawaii are authorized to order either joint or single-parent custody of a child subject to a custody dispute.
Courts in Hawaii do not have a presumption in favor joint custody orders when evaluating child custody. The judge will evaluate the specifics of the custody dispute to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child.
Do Hawaii courts encourage parents to cooperate together to raise the child?
It is not particularly encouraged that the parents cooperative together to raise the child.
Are the child's wishes considered when determining custody in the state of Hawaii?
In Hawaii, the court does consider the child's reasonable wishes when determining which parent wins custody. The judge may take the child's age, maturity, and judgement into consideration when considering the child's custody preference.
Do Hawaii courts consider domestic violence when determining custody?
Hawaii has laws that explicitly permit the consideration of domestic violence in conjunction with child custody. This may mean that domestic violence is a statutory factor in custody determinations, that the court has a presumption against custody for abusers, or that special procedural considerations are imposed in cases involving domestic violence.
Do the courts in the state of Hawaii have the right to hire an attorney or Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child?
Hawaii has statutory authority for appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney specifically to represent the child in a custody case. This person advocates for the best interest of the child, and is tasked with investigating the family situation and advising the court what custody situation would be in the best interests of the child.