February 2021 Update – The Hawaii Family Courts During COVID

As of February 12, 2021, most of Hawaii’s Family Courts COVID safety protocols are still in place.

Hearings: the vast majority of hearings are not being held in person.  Specifically, parties and attorneys are instructed to not appear in person at the courthouses. Rather, most hearings and conferences are held primarily by Webex, a videoconference program (Oahu and Maui), or Zoom (Kauai and Hawaii Island).  Both Webex and Zoom have versions as phone apps and desktop/laptop programs.  Parties and attorneys will typically receive the Webex/Zoom videoconference link from the Court a short time prior to their hearing (typically between a few hours and a couple of days prior).  The hearings that are taking place in-person are primarily TROs, initial Child Welfare Service hearings, emergency guardianships, and most full trials.  For persons having upcoming hearings, it is important to confirm with the Court ahead of time whether the hearing is being held in-person or by videoconference.

Filings: although the Courts are physically open, there are some restrictions on access, and some courts are permitting electronic filing of documents, including Family Courts on Maui and Hawaii Island.  Oahu and Kauai however, still requires non-electronic filing of documents, just as before the pandemic.  Persons seeking to file documents should check with the Family Court on their island prior to going to the courthouse.


About Gavin K. Doi

Gavin, a founding partner of Doi/Luke, was born and reared in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, graduating from McKinley High School, and receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in Denver, Colorado. Previously, Gavin worked with the Child Support Enforcement Agency and the AmeriCorps Domestic Violence Clinic. An advocate of pro bono legal work, Gavin volunteers time with Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii and the Hawai’i State Bar Association. In 2013, Gavin co-authored the book Child Custody Litigation and Settlements (Aspatore Books/Thomson West), penning the section "Working with Your Client Towards a Successful Child Custody Case." Gavin is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association and the HSBA Family Law Section, and was presented with the 2002 Justice Award by the Hawaii State Bar Association, which honors one lawyer annually for their outstanding contribution to the ideals of justice. The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission honored Gavin in 2012 for his pro bono service to the community. Gavin has extensive experience in divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, restraining orders, and other family law matters, and has a Distinguished rating with Martindale-Hubble®/Lawyers.com, and an Avvo rating of 10 out of 10. He can be e-mailed at: gkdoi@islandlawyers.com .

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