Legal Separation and Divorce in Hawaii
The state of Hawaii recognizes legal separation, also known as a bed and board decree, but it limits it to 2 years. After this period, the court order is nullified and you will be required to take the next step in your marriage, which is in most cases divorce. The primary difference between legal separation and divorce is in the period that it takes for the respective court orders to take effect and the status of your marriage.
In legal separation, you will file a Hawaii Marital Separation Agreement that will not nullify the marriage, but instead give you two a chance to decide what happens next. Should you decide to dissolve your marriage, you will still need to file the right documents as the legal separation will not automatically evolve to divorce once it expires.
To file a Marital Separation Agreement in Hawaii, you will not need to show fault. You will only need to cite ‘irreconcilable differences.’ During this separation, the couple will be required to live separately – not under the same roof. The agreement filed by the party seeking separation is to be equitable as it will leave one party to pay the other for the period of separation.
No additional matrimonial action can be taken during this time after the court order has taken effect, meaning that each spouse can keep assets and liabilities acquired during the time they were legally separated. Those items will not be brought up during the divorce should that be the next step in this marriage.
Requirements and Conditions for Divorce in Hawaii
Parties to a divorce must be residents of Hawaii for at least six months before filling. None of that residency status is required for legal separation. There is no waiting period for divorce in the state, as long as these conditions have been met. First, the court requires that you agree the marriage is broken to the point of no salvage. If one party feels like it could be salvaged, your matter may be held for between 30-60 days as you go through mandatory counseling.
Second; you can opt for absolute divorce if your legal separation period has expired without reconciliation, or you have been living separately for at least two years even without the bed and board decree.
Whether you decide to separate legally or get divorced, the court will urge that you draft your own agreements on rights and liabilities. If you cannot come up with proper drafts, the court will help you along, dividing your assets and responsibilities as it deems right and according to your financial capabilities.
Distribution of Rights
If you have children, the state will decide who to grant physical and legal custody based on what’s best for the children. Both divorce and legal separation address alimony and the court will grant it depending on financial capabilities of each party. In case of marriage dissolution, alimony automatically ends when the court dictates so or when the beneficiary remarries.
What’s the Better Option?
When it comes to legal separation and/or divorce in Hawaii, there is no right answer to that question as situations differ from one party to the next. Should you wish to proceed with a legal separation in the state of Hawaii, we offer templates and online samples of Marital Separation Agreements to make the process that much faster and smoother.
Whether you live in Honolulu or any other city of Hawaii, you can use our legal forms easily.