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How Hawaii’s “no-fault” divorce system affects divorcing couples

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Divorce

Going through a divorce is rarely easy. While it may seem overly optimistic to suggest that certain legal aspects could simplify the process, Hawaii’s no-fault divorce system does offer some relief.

Understanding what this means and how it impacts the divorce process can be beneficial for any divorcing couple going through this transition.

No need for the blame game

Hawaii’s “no-fault” system allows spouses to divorce without proving fault. Unlike fault states, where it’s necessary for spouses to demonstrate instances of marital misconduct like infidelity, cruelty or habitual substance abuse, Hawaii simplifies the process.

In a no-fault state like Hawaii, all couples need to do is state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This simply means they believe there’s no hope of repairing the relationship, regardless of who might be at fault. This approach can reduce the emotional stress often associated with proving fault and allows spouses to focus more on the practical aspects of divorce.

Divorce can still be a complex issue

While the no-fault aspect simplifies the grounds for divorce, it doesn’t make the process any less challenging. Couples will need to address several issues, including:

  • Property division
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

Each of these aspects can influence the trajectory of a divorce. For instance, the court’s decisions on child custody can depend on several factors. This includes the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs and any instances of marital misconduct, such as infidelity or drug and alcohol abuse. On the other hand, property division follows an “equitable distribution” principle. This means the court divides the property fairly but not necessarily evenly. So, it’s crucial for both spouses to understand these nuances and prepare themselves for the various possible outcomes.

Legal help in the process

Divorce can be complex, even in a no-fault state like Hawaii. However, with a clear understanding of the law and the right support from a legal professional, couples can make it through these challenging times.

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