How is Child Support Awarded in Hawaii?


During your divorce, you will build a child custody agreement with your soon-to-be former spouse, working out the details of who cares for the child when and in what capacity. Child support is discussed following the creation of the child custody agreement, to ensure that the custody agreement will influence how child support is awarded.

Shared Financial Responsibility

As parents, you are both financially responsible for your child, even if one parent has visitation rights and no legal custody. While at first, this might seem like both parties will pay for child support, typically only the non-custodial parent will pay for child support since the custodial parent is responsible for the immediate support and care for the child. In extreme cases, the custodial parent may need to additionally pay child support to the non-custodial parent, however, that is extremely rare and in cases of a substantial earning difference.

Due to the shared financial responsibility of a child’s parents, both parents will need to determine their gross and net annual incomes to be used in the determination of child support payments. This makes it so that child support is more balanced for each parent.

When Child Support Can Be Ordered

Child support is typically ordered during the divorce of a child’s parents, however, divorce is not the only reason which qualifies a parent to seek child support. The court can also order child support during the separation of the child’s parents or when the child receives certain welfare programs from the state.

How Child Support is Determined

The courts ultimately use the Hawaii Child Support Guidelines to determine a general amount of support to be paid before making adjustments in their order. You can get a general idea of what the courts may ask to be paid by using this child support calculator.

Child support is typically calculated based on:

  • Both parents’ gross and net incomes
  • The number of children involved
  • The predecided custody arrangement
  • Any deductions that need to be made

Court Based Adjustments

The value that appears on the child support calculator may not be the actual amount of child support that must be paid, as the courts then have the discretion to adjust child support payments as they deem fit. Payments may be adjusted based on the parents’ ability to pay child support, if the child has needs that are not covered by the current support payment value, and any other significant changes that would make the current value unable to be paid or not enough to properly support the children involved.

The Child Support Obligation Period

After the court settles on a payment value and creates an official child support order, the value will be paid monthly until the obligation period ends. Parents are obligated to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 unless the child is still enrolled in school, or the age of 23 as long as the child is enrolled as a full-time student at an institution of higher education or vocational school.

Child support payments may be terminated prior to the end of the obligation period following the death of the paying parent, marriage of the child, emancipation of the child from its parents, or adoption of the child by a stepparent or other adult. Even if a parent is unable to afford child support payments, they must continue to pay but have the option to request a modification to the payment value.

Hawaii Child Support Attorneys

Divorce can be a stressful time — especially if you are a parent making accommodations for the care and wellbeing of your child as you dissolve your marriage. Our child custody and support attorneys at Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC are prepared to guide your family step by step through the child support awarding process.

Call our child support lawyers today at (808) 201-3898 or contact us onlineto schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help protect your family’s welfare.

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