Any time parents divorce in Hawaii, the issue of child custody is a major point of contention. This process is difficult for parents and children alike, and not everyone will have the opportunity to have their preferences met by the court. That said, it is helpful to understand how custody is decided under the law. A Kona lawyer could help advise you on what to expect.
When the courts make a decision regarding custody, they do so with the best interest of the child in mind. That does not mean you don’t have rights as a parent, but your preferences will be second to the needs of your children.
The attorneys at Olson & Sons understand how important these issues are. The decision of the court in a child custody dispute could reshape the relationship you have with your children. Reach out right away for your free consultation with a Kona lawyer.
How Judges Decide Custody in Kona
There are different ways to determine child custody in Hawaii, and a Kona lawyer could assist with each of them. When parents have an amicable relationship, both sides could reach a settlement agreement that results in a mutual parenting plan. When this is not an option, the court is required to decide. Ultimately, the judge in the case is bound by law to determine custody based on the child’s best interests. To do so, they must take into account a number of factors, including:
- Any history of sexual or physical abuse of a child by a parent;
- Any history of neglect or emotional abuse of a child by a parent;
- The overall quality of the parent-child relationship;
- The history of caregiving or parenting by each parent prior and subsequent to a marital or another type of separation;
- Each parent’s cooperation in developing and implementing a plan to meet the child’s ongoing needs, interests, and schedule; provided that this factor shall not be considered in any case where the court has determined that family violence has been committed by a parent;
- The physical health needs of the child;
- The emotional needs of the child;
- The safety needs of the child;
- The educational needs of the child;
- The child’s need for relationships with siblings;
- Each parent’s actions demonstrating that they allow the child to maintain family connections through family events and activities; provided that this factor shall not be considered in any case where the court has determined that family violence has been committed by a parent;
- Each parent’s actions demonstrating that they separate the child’s needs from the parent’s needs;
- Any evidence of past or current drug or alcohol abuse by a parent;
- The mental health of each parent;
- The areas and levels of conflict present within the family; and
- A parent’s prior willful misuse of the protection from abuse process
While this process can seem confusing, our firm is ready to help you understand every aspect of custody laws that apply to your case.
What Types of Custody Are There in Kona?
There are two different considerations the court must make regarding minor children in a divorce case. These considerations include the physical and legal custody of the minor child.
Physical custody is the right to determine where a minor child resides. Typically, the parent with physical custody of a child has that child live with them in their home.
Legal custody relates to making important decisions on the child’s behalf. This form of custody could involve decisions regarding a child’s education or religious upbringing. It also covers decisions regarding their healthcare.
The custody of a child is not always an either-or proposition. According to Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-46.1 (2020), the law allows for something known as joint custody. Under joint custody, the parents will share these important rights. Joint custody could apply to physical custody, legal custody, or both options. For example, one parent might have sole physical custody of their child while sharing legal custody with the other parent.
Talk to a Kona Lawyer About Your Parental Rights
If you are going through a divorce, there are a number of factors that could impact your future custody rights with your children. One of the most important factors that could come into play is whether or not you hire a Kona lawyer to serve as your advocate.
The attorneys of Olson & Sons are ready to help you fight for your rights as a parent. Our team understands what is at stake during custody disputes, and we will aggressively pursue a favorable outcome in your case. Contact us for a free consultation today.