ALIMONY IN HAWAII
WHAT IS ALIMONY?
Alimony, also referred to as SPOUSAL SUPPORT or SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE, is an amount of money which the Family Court has ordered one divorcing spouse to pay to the other. Typically, this was support paid from a husband to wife, however there is nothing restricting an alimony claim by a husband to receive support from his wife. In the past, alimony, particularly wives receiving support from husbands, was fairly commonplace. More recently however, the family courts around the country have scaled back on awards of alimony.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO ALIMONY?
Alimony in Hawaii is not automatically awarded by the Court. Instead, the Court, when considering a claim for alimony by one of the parties, considers at a list of factors, outlined by statute. These factors include:
- financial resources of the parties;
- ability of the spouse seeking alimony to meet his or her needs on their own;
- length of the marriage;
- the couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
- ages of the parties;
- physical and emotional condition of the parties;
- job/occupation of the parties during the marriage;
- skills and employability of the spouse seeking alimony;
- needs of the parties;
- child custody and child support responsibilities of each party;
- ability of non-alimony seeking party to meet his or her own needs, if paying alimony;
- other factors which measure the financial condition of the parties after the divorce;
- probable length of time of the alimony need.
Hawaii Revised Statutes, section 580-47(a). If a Court determines that alimony should be awarded to a party, the Court will again look to the above factors to determine the AMOUNT and DURATION of the alimony award. Unlike child support, there is NO formula or specific calculation for alimony.
SO HOW DO I KNOW IF ALIMONY WILL BE AWARDED?
Because of the numerous factors set forth above, and the fact that the ultimate decision about alimony (if it should be awarded, how much, and for how long) lies in the authority of a Family Court Judge, projecting alimony with exactness is very difficult. However, an experienced family law attorney may be able to give you an idea of what the alimony result would be in a particular case.
HOW IS ALIMONY PAID?
Typically, alimony is paid in monthly or semi-monthly (twice a month) installments, either paid directly from the payor to the payee, or using the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) to handle the payments. If alimony payments go through CSEA, the Agency will typically be receiving the payments directly from the payor’s paycheck each pay period. In certain cases however, if the circumstances justify (such as if the paying party does not have much income, but a large amount of assets), the Court may instead order a LUMP-SUM alimony payment.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Alimony in Hawaii is dependent on many factors. If you would like to speak with experienced Hawaii divorce attorneys about potential alimony, or wish to set up a consult, e-mail us or give us a call at 593-2199. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific issues.