The Rainbow State is a place like none other in the Union, and not just because it’s the land where palm trees sway. Hawaii also has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, along with one of the highest marriage rates. In other words, lots of people tie the knot, and very few people untie it.
Depending on your perspective, these statistics could be good or bad. But one thing is certain. When their marriages dissolve, very few Hawaiians know what to expect.
That’s when you need an experienced Kamuela divorce lawyer. A good attorney should be more than an effective advocate. Your attorney should also give you solid legal advice as to your options, and also about the procedure involved in a divorce case. The more you know what to expect, the less frightening divorce becomes.
Starting the Process
After a spouse files divorce paperwork, the other spouse must receive official notice of that action. Generally, service of process is not very difficult. But in other cases, it can be one of the most time-consuming phases of a divorce.
In many cases, the nonfiling spouse already has a Kamuela divorce lawyer, so service of process is not a problem.
In other situations, however, the spouse either intentionally dodges a process server or has left the area for parts unknown. Substitute “nail and mail” service may be available. The process leaves a copy of the paperwork at the person’s last known address, and also mails a copy to the LKA. But many judges do not approve of this method.
Service via social media may be available as well, especially if the spouse has no known address. The state-approved method involves running a printed advertisement in a designated newspaper. But this method is quite expensive and cumbersome. Besides, no one reads the legal notices section in the newspaper and everyone checks their Facebook messages.
About two weeks after service of process is complete, the Hawaii County judge usually holds a temporary hearing. This hearing is more than just a procedural matter. The judge makes very important decisions about child custody, spousal support, and other matters. Once made, these decisions are difficult, but not impossible, for a Kamuela divorce lawyer to undo.
To modify these temporary orders, the challenging spouse must present new evidence which was unavailable at the time of the original hearing. Additionally, on a practical level, the new evidence must be very convincing. The judge that hears the modification action is usually the same judge who entered the orders in the first place. And, no one likes to admit that they were wrong.
So, aggressive advocacy from a Kamuela divorce lawyer is essential at the temporary hearing. Otherwise, you may be playing from behind for the rest of the game. However, your attorney must not be overly aggressive. This strategy usually backfires. Many judges believe that intransigent spouses will make poor co-parents. So, custody and visitation decisions may go the other way.
Information Gathering and Discovery
Typically, a Hawaii County divorce includes both emotional and financial issues. This next part of the divorce process addresses both these areas.
Child custody is often an issue. The parents may disagree as to who should be the residential parent (primary custodian) or the parenting time division. If the parties cannot work things out among themselves, most judges appoint social workers. These individuals perform investigations and make recommendations to the court.
In terms of property division, Hawaii is an equitable division state. Marital property, including both property and debts, must be divided in such a way that the divorce is not an unfair financial burden on either party.
Especially after long marriages, property becomes commingled. For example, Wife may use funds from her paycheck (marital property) to pay off student loans she took out before the marriage (nonmarital property).
Finally, spousal and child support resources may be an issue. Many spouses try to conceal income. Intentional over-withholding is one of the oldest tricks in the book. A person increases voluntary IRS withholding, claims s/he cannot pay as much support, and then gets a large tax refund in the spring. If a Kamuela divorce lawyer does not pay attention to details, it could cost you or your children thousands of dollars.
How does a Kamuela Divorce Lawyer Resolve Marriage Dissolution Cases?
Divorce trials are almost unheard of. Many Kamuela divorce lawyers spend their entire careers doing family law and only try a handful of divorce cases.
Mutual agreements resolve many divorce cases. Generally, both the parties already agree on most issues and on broad, overall principles. Often, then, it’s just a matter of hammering out the details.
Mediation resolves most of the other cases. If the trial date approaches and there is still no agreement, a third-party mediator, who is usually a retired judge, works to facilitate a settlement between the parties. If both spouses negotiate in good faith, mediation is successful about 75 percent of the time.
Count on an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Kamuela, HI
A little knowledge makes marriage dissolution easier. For a confidential consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Kamuela, contact Olson & Sons L.C. We routinely handle matters in Hawaii County and nearby jurisdictions.