Parents in Hawaii who divorce or separate generally have to establish a custody order. Their custody order determines who has the authority to make certain decisions and also how the parents share time with their children. Overall, the courts expect that parents who share custody should abide by the terms outlined in a custody order. They need to find ways to communicate with one another about the children, reach agreements about major decisions and share time appropriately.
Occasionally, the parents may reach the uncomfortable realization that their custody order is a source of disruption or conflict. They may need to make constant adjustments to their parenting schedule, and that pressure may lead to a lot of preventable conflicts. The parents may aspire to adjust or modify a custody order so that it better fits their needs. What is typically necessary for a parent to secure a custody modification in Hawaii?
The approval of the other parent
The easiest way to modify a custody order is through parental cooperation. Both of the adults in the family understand that the current custody order doesn’t properly meet the family’s needs, so they agree to cooperate to change it. Parents can request uncontested custody modifications through mutual agreement at any point after the implementation of the initial custody order. While a judge typically reviews modification requests to make sure they are in the best interests of the children in the family, there is very rarely any conflict about uncontested modifications.
Evidence of substantial changes
A large percentage of custody modifications require court review. The parents may not agree that a change is necessary, or they may agree on the necessity of the change but not the specific adjustments that would benefit their family.
A contested custody modification typically requires documentation. A parent must have evidence showing that there has been a significant change in family circumstances. They may also need outside documentation validating their claim that specific changes would be in the best interests of their children. Any time a judge has to make contested custody decisions, they need to look carefully at the household circumstances and then enter an order that they believe reflects what would be in the best interests of the children. Parents therefore need to structure their arguments for in family court very carefully.
Understanding what is necessary to pursue a Hawaii custody modification may benefit those who believe that their current arrangements do not work well for their families.