Sheila Vierra, Attorney at Law, LLLC
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The importance of child support in a Hawaiian divorce

Getting divorced is a difficult process. If you weren't expecting it, getting served can be a shock. You could come home and realize that your spouse has left, taking your children. Other times, you'll be the one who's expected to find somewhere else to live. Suddenly, you're only seeing your children on the weekends and even worse, you have to pay a chuck of each paycheck toward child support. It often doesn't feel fair.

Although it doesn't seem fair, the goal in divorce and family law in Hawaii is a fair outcome that considers the best interests of the children involved. Generally speaking, shared custody arrangements are much preferred by the courts, unless there's a serious history of abuse or chemical dependence. When your divorce goes to court, you will most likely get shared custody unless there is a compounding factor.

Child support impacts custody and vice versa

When your spouse has primary custody and you only have visitation, you will pay more in child support. After your divorce gets finalized, shared custody will impact the amount of child support. You will pay less if you have your children more of the time. The opposite is also true. If you don't see and care for your children, you could pay more in support.

While you wait for final custody arrangements, paying your child support on time is very important. It shows the courts that you are both willing and able to provide for your children's needs. It shows that you are willing to put their best interests before your own. That will likely have an impact on the final decision when the courts finalized custody arrangements.

Failing to pay child support can cause a host of issues

If you can't or don't pay child support for whatever reason, that could end up impacting your custody case. The courts could view your inability or unwillingness to financially support your children as a negative factor when determining custody.Before that even happens, however, you could end up facing child support enforcement efforts. Enforcement options include garnishment of wages, seizure of federal tax returns and suspending drivers' licenses and even professional licenses of those not in compliance with court ordered child support payments. Failing to pay child support can cost you your mobility and even your job. In extreme cases, you could even end up incarcerated for contempt of court.

Paying your child support is an important factor to providing for your children and gaining shared custody. If, for some reason, the amount of child support ordered is too high, you may consider asking the courts to review and adjust your support. In the meantime, they will expect you to continue paying support in full.

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