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What are the requirements for divorce in Hawaii?

Before you were married, there were requirements that you were legally obligated to meet for the marriage to be valid. If you believe divorce is in your future, there are also requirements that you must meet to legally become divorced.

Residency

In general, if you are going to file for divorce in Hawaii, must have lived in Hawaii continuously for at least six months before you file. This requirement prevents people who have no significant connection to Hawaii from getting a divorce in Hawaii.

However, there is one rare circumstance that may allow you to file for divorce in Hawaii, even if you live in another state. You do not need to meet the residency requirement, if you and your spouse were married in Hawaii and you cannot receive a divorce in your home state because it does not recognize your marriage.

Ground

Hawaii is a no-fault divorce state. This means that if you file for divorce, you do not need to prove that your spouse caused the need for divorce, and your spouse cannot object to the divorce.

Instead of listing your spouse’s actions as the reason for divorce, you can state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This is the only legally accepted reason, sometimes called a ground, for divorce.

Although your spouse’s actions are not considered as a ground for divorce, they may be considered during the divorce process. For example, if your spouse has a history of alcohol abuse, it may be relevant when child custody is determined.

Separation

In addition to the residency and ground requirements, Hawaii requires that you and your spouse spend some time living separately before you will be granted a divorce. There are three ways to meet this requirement.

You and your spouse could get a decree of separation from bed and board or a degree of separate maintenance. If you get one of these types of separation agreement, you generally must live apart for at least two years. If at that time you and your spouse have not reconciled, you will be able to get a divorce.

Alternatively, if you and your spouse do not have a formal separation agreement, but you have lived apart continuously for at least two years, you may be able to file for divorce. However, it must be reasonable to assume that you and your spouse will not move back in together.

If you think it may be necessary to end your marriage, it can be valuable to understand the requirements that must be met before you can legally do so. When you understand the requirements for divorce, you may be better prepared to make the most appropriate decisions for your situation.

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