While the decision to get a divorce is not one anyone reaches lightly, the actual process of getting a divorce does not have to be overly complicated. In Hawaii, you might be able to divorce without a lawyer by simply filling out the right divorce papers and submitting them to your local county court. Divorce can be especially easy if you agree with your spouse on all important issues like how you will divide your property and how your children will be taken care of (if you have any). Even if you have matters to work out, you can begin moving forward with your divorce in Hawaii.
The following information is here to help you understand the divorce process in Hawaii, and how you can get started with your own divorce.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects data on divorce in every state that offers such information. In the document listing divorce rates for all US states from 1990-2011, data for Hawaii is available until 2002. In 2002, the state had a divorce rate of 3.7 of every 1,000 residents which was down from the 1990 rate of 4.6 for every 1,000 residents.
Hawaii is referred to as a “no-fault” divorce state. Hawaii does not accept at-fault divorces – a type of divorce where one spouse is held responsible for the end of the marriage, and the divorcing spouse must prove grounds (such as adultery) to get a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, you only have to indicate that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, it cannot be mended.
In Hawaii, you must live in the state for six months before you are able to file for divorce – even if you are military personnel.
The divorce papers you submit for your Hawaiian divorce will vary depending on your specific circumstances, as well as the island where you are filing. The Hawaii State Judiciary has a website where you can find forms for each island. The site also offers a list of facts about getting divorced in the state that you should review, along with a page on how to proceed with your divorce. The website also includes some divorce basics including the concept of “uncontested divorce”.
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree about all important issues in the divorce. Agreement includes the need to get divorced, how to divide your property, allocate assets and debts, and what you will do about child custody and support. If you are not in agreement with your spouse on these issues, it may be helpful to choose divorce mediation, or for more difficult situations seek legal council.
If you’re at the point where you can seek an uncontested divorce you can start by completing Hawaii’s divorce papers. Keep in mind that the divorce forms you fill out and submit to the court will vary depending on your circumstances. Failure to submit all the right forms or filling out forms incorrectly can result in a rejection and loss of the filing fee paid to the state.
To assist with the process, Completecase.com’s online divorce papers preparation service ensures you file the appropriate forms for Hawaii completely and accurately. Getting your Hawaii online divorce papers completed by CompleteCase.com is an excellent way to make certain that everything is done right so you can so that you minimize the time, money and effort spent on your divorce.
Once you have completed all of your divorce papers, you will need to file them with the correct family court in Hawaii. On the Hawaii State Judiciary website you can find the appropriate court for your needs.
You will want to make at least two copies of your divorce papers before you file, one for your records and one to serve to your spouse. Make sure to call ahead to the court where you will be filing to verify that you have everything you need before you arrive. Note that many courts are particular about form of payment accepted for the state filing fee make sure to inquire. When you have given your divorce papers to the clerk and paid your filing fee, he or she will stamp your papers with the time and date of your filing. You will also receive a file number that designates your specific case. Keep this number in your records, because you will need to use it on every divorce-related document.
The last step in the filing process is to serve copies of the divorce papers to your spouse. The service of process allows your spouse to respond to the divorce and to state his or her point of view to the court. You will want to have the papers served as quickly as you can after you file, as the court will not move forward with the divorce until it has received proof of the service.
If you and your spouse are in agreement about the whole divorce, you can have him or her sign “An Appearance and Waiver”. This document tells the court the circumstances, and that the spouse does not need to be served. Otherwise you will need to either conduct a personal service or service by mail. Personal service requires that the documents be delivered to the spouse by someone over 18 – who is not involved in the divorce – or a private process server. A private process server will charge a fee.
If you choose to serve by mail, which may be necessary if your spouse lives on another island, then you will need to use either registered or certified mail with restricted delivery. You will need to file the return receipt with the court as evidence that the papers were served.
The Hawaii State Judiciary website states that the divorce process can take at least a few months. If there are disagreements about issues in the divorce, it will take longer.