Hawaii Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “HI”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Hawaii is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the HI alimony law.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

What is Alimony?

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Aloha State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in HI

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Hawaii

In Hawaii, judges might order spousal support to be temporary, short-term (transitional or rehabilitative), or long-term.

Temporary Spousal Support in Hawaii

During the divorce proceedings, temporary spousal support is commonplace, and the judge may mandate it to help a lower-earning partner meet financial demands while the divorce is underway. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 580-9 (2018).)

Temporary support terminates when the divorce is finalized and (if necessary) short-term or permanent support is ordered.

Short-term transitional Support in HI

When the lower-earning spouse requires assistance adjusting to a new standard of living following the divorce, short-term transitional support is suitable. Transitional support is only available for a limited time, maybe as little as six months after the divorce. The most prevalent type of support provided in Hawaii is a rehabilitative short-term support.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support in Hawaii

When the lower-earning spouse requires financial assistance while completing job training or college education in order to obtain work and ultimately become self-sufficient, rehabilitative support is suitable.

Rehabilitative support stays as the court deems appropriate for the assisted spouse to find work, and you must provide a plan to the court that details how the approach will lead to appropriate jobs within a set time frame. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 580-47 (13) (2018).)

The court can impose long-term support for spouses who are unable to find work due to old age or illness, however, this is uncommon.

Spouses that want to have more influence over the type, quantity, and length of spousal support can discuss a support award, even if it differs from what the judge would award.

Who Pays Alimony in Hawaii?

In Hawaii alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Aloha State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Hawaii if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in HI?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long the alimony payment should last in Hawaii

The duration to pay alimony in Hawaii can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

Support is usually paid in monthly installments by the paying spouse. Numerous courts require payments to be made through the state’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). The maintained spouse will receive alimony payments straight from the paying spouse’s earnings if alimony is paid through the CESA.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Hawaii

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Hawaii, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors That Influence Alimony in Hawaii

In Hawaii divorce situations, alimony is not required to be paid. If spousal support is to be paid, the divorced spouses must agree on who will pay it, how much it will be, and how long it will last (otherwise the court will decide). Although most people believe it is, alimony is not a part of most divorce agreements.

The average amount payable as spousal support in Hawaii after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in HI, the courts in HI takes into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider
    (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 580-47 (2018).)

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Aloha State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in HI

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Hawaii

According to the statutes, the amount to be paid as spousal support in Hawaii is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in HI, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Hawaii Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Hawaii Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Hawaii and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. HI courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Hawaii, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are
both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of HI divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and
representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Iowa Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Hawaii Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in HI:

Can a Husband get Alimony in HI?

Yes. In Hawaii, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Hawaii?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in HI, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in HI?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Hawaii, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Hawaii?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Hawaii and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Aloha State?

Alimony is mandatory in Hawaii as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Hawaii?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in HI?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Hawaii. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a Hawaii court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in HI}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in Hawaii

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Hawaii

When necessary, Hawaii law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in HI usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and
effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Hawaii, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in HI. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 580-47 (13) (d) (2018).)

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Hawaii:

  • Retirement
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in HI

In Aloha State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
  • Remarriage – The remarried spouse shall notify the court of the remarriage within 30 days of the marriage, or face paying lawyer fees, charges, and spousal support repayment. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 580-57 (2018).)

Hawaii Resource

- Hawaii Child Adoption Guidelines
- Hawaii Childcare Guidelines
- Hawaii Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Hawaii Child Support Guidelines
- Hawaii Divorce Guidelines
- Hawaii Marital Property Guidelines
- Hawaii Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Hawaii Child Support Payment History

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.