Law Office of Mei Nakamoto
Hawaii Divorce And Family Law Attorneys

Determining Spousal Support In Hawaii

In Hawaii, alimony or spousal support is available only to married people. There is no "palimony" in Hawaii.

There is no predetermined formula for awarding or calculating spousal support. In fact, there is no guarantee that spousal support will be awarded.

Instead, courts evaluate several factors to determine whether alimony should be awarded and, if so, how much and for how long. These factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each party's financial ability to provide for his or her own needs
  • Each party's age, physical condition and specific needs
  • Each party's occupation and earning capability
  • Each party's child-related responsibilities, such as custody, child support and tuition support
  • The property division that will result from the divorce

Factors the courts do not consider include extramarital affairs, abuse (other than financial abuse) and a loveless marriage.

Types Of Spousal Support

Several types of spousal support may be awarded in Hawaii, although most spousal support orders are temporary.

The court may order temporary support while the divorce proceedings are underway, or support may be ordered after the divorce is finalized, or both.

Temporary alimony during the divorce proceedings is not common. It is ordered to maintain some financial stability while separation of family obligations (e.g., bills) is sorted out.

Alimony upon divorce, if ordered at all, falls into three categories. Permanent support is awarded in Hawaii only if the receiving spouse's earning capability is significantly hindered by poor health, a permanent disability or advanced age. This award is rare.

Transitional alimony can be awarded to help a lower-earning spouse transition to a less expensive way of living. This kind of support is usually short in duration.

Rehabilitative alimony can be ordered to help a lower-earning spouse obtain more education or training prior to starting employment. A spouse who requests rehabilitative support is required to create a plan for obtaining employment and submit the plan to the court.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to fulfill spousal support obligations by making a lump-sum payment.

Divorcing spouses may also avoid the courtroom by coming to an agreement about spousal support through collaborative divorce or mediation.

Resolving Spousal Support Disputes

As with child support, former spouses may disagree about the amount of alimony to be paid and received. If you pay or receive spousal support — and you believe the amount should be modified — speak with an experienced divorce lawyer about your options. A substantial change in your circumstances or those of your former spouse may warrant a spousal support modification.

Likewise, if your former spouse is refusing to pay spousal support, a divorce attorney can assess your situation and take legal action to enforce the support order.

Contact Us

For a consultation regarding spousal support or other divorce issues, please contact the Law Office of Mei Nakamoto. We advise and represent clients in Honolulu and throughout Hawaii.

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