Sheila Vierra, Attorney at Law, LLLC
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Honolulu Hawaii Family Law Law Blog

Dividing your marital property: Complicated cases

It's not always easy to divide your property, especially when there is plenty of it. When there are many different things to consider in your property division agreement, it can seem like it's never-ending. The good news is that there are easy steps you can take to identify all assets, have them appraised and then move on to divide them fairly.

Hawaii is not a community property state, which may be good news for you if you're the one who invested the most money into your marriage. You'll be able to argue for a fair share of your marital property, not just an equal split like in community property states.

Prevent the abduction of your child after a breakup

No one wants to imagine the possibility of the other parent absconding with his or her child to another state, or worse, to another country -- but it happens. Sometimes a parent gets angry at the judge's decision in a child custody case and chooses to escape with the child or children. Other times, the two parents get into an argument and one parent takes the children without permission.

Regardless of what motivates a parental child abduction, if the other parent goes to another country, it could take a lot of work and complicated legal proceedings to get the children back. For this reason, parents should do everything they can to prevent the possibility of a parental child abduction.

Preparing for divorce and getting through it: Protecting yourself

Living in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, you're used to a way of life few get to experience. Unfortunately, a divorce can throw a wrench into your calm way of living, making your relationship tumultuous at the best of times. The good news is that it's easy to get yourself in a position of power before a divorce is ever in the cards.

When you're seeking a divorce, there are a few things you should do to protect yourself. Here's a few tips for handling a divorce in Honolulu from start to finish, so you can be prepared when you meet with your attorney and after the divorce is finalized.

3 financial steps to help you prepare for divorce

If you are considering divorce, it is vital that you take certain steps to prepare yourself and your finances for your future life. While you probably expect to receive a fair amount of the property you and your husband own in Honolulu, you should still get your finances in order so that while your divorce is pending, you can still pay your bills and other living expenses.

In addition, it is important that you begin to establish a financial identity that is completely separate from your soon-to-be ex-husband's. This will be important when it comes time for you to buy a new house or car or make another purchase that requires credit.

You can fight back when your ex denies parenting time in Hawaii

One of the worst things about a divorce is how it impacts your relationship with your children. If your ex surprised you by filing for divorce, he or she may have received temporary custody of the children during the proceedings. Generally speaking, the courts will also include visitation for the other parent in a temporary custody order, as well as a requirement to pay child support.

As emotions rise and tempers flare, some parents may choose to use the children as a weapon or bargaining chip against their spouse. That could mean shortening your visitation, canceling it or simply refusing to exchange custody with you at all. Getting denied time with your children is heartbreaking, but, thankfully, you have the right to assert your parenting rights during and after a divorce in Hawaii.

2 challenges associated with a 'gray divorce'

Divorce after 50 used to be an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps this was because, in the past, the so-called "great generation" was from a different era when divorce was not really an option. These days, with more and more baby boomers retiring, we can see the effects that a different mindset has on marriage commitments. For the baby boomers of today -- who grew up during the social revolution the 60s -- getting divorced is the rational thing to do when one or more spouses don't want to be together anymore.

That said, there are unique challenges associated with a divorce after 50. Here are two of them:

Creating a parenting plan without conflict

Not fighting is a primary goal of most people going through divorce. The reality is that not all divorces are contentious, and for many, it's easy enough to come to an agreement.

If you and your soon-to-be ex are still able to be civil with one another, you may want to look into creating a parenting plan together before you go to court. If you do this, it helps you and your spouse come up with a plan that works for both your schedules. If there is a disagreement, though, you could want other options.

How do the Hawaiian courts handle homes in a divorce?

Hawaii may be paradise, but that doesn't mean that everyone who lives here ends up with that "happily ever after." Many couples living in Hawaii can find themselves facing divorce, even after long marriages.

It's only natural to worry about how the courts will handle your little piece of paradise in your divorce. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement or a very unusual situation (such as one spouse owning the home outright prior to marriage), the home you lived in is probably subject to division. Familiarizing yourself with Hawaiian divorce law can help you understand what to expect.

Budgeting after divorce: What to consider

When you decide to get a divorce, you know that you're going to have to make some financial changes. Even if your finances stay the same, the amount of bills you'll have to cover on your own may change.

The way you divide your assets also has an impact on how much you can afford and how well you can support yourself. Here are several things to consider, so you can start to budget for life after your divorce.

Protect your share of retirement assets with a QDRO

During the course of your marriage, you and your husband worked very hard to build a solid financial foundation. But, now that you are considering divorce, you will have to split the assets you have spent years accumulating and growing. For instance, you have to decide how to handle your Honolulu home. You can keep the house, take a fair amount of assets in exchange for letting your soon-to-be ex keep it or sell it and split the proceeds.

Another high-value asset you must divide are your respective retirement accounts. If the two of you accrued your retirement savings during the years you were married, you each might have a legal right to a portion of the other's 401(k) or pension plan. But if your spouse was the main breadwinner, you may be wondering how to protect your share of the money. This is where a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QRDO) comes in.