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What factors impact child custody in a Hawaii divorce?

If you're considering getting a divorce in Hawaii, you may find yourself worried about the potential outcome. Maybe your spouse makes way more money or he or she has stayed home with the kids for years. Will that impact the outcome of you child custody case? If you have reason to believe your spouse will not work with you to find an amicable solution to custody, the courts will make the decision for you.

Not having direct control over something so important to the health, well-being and development of your children is nerve-wracking, to say the least. If you aren't sure how your spouse will react to service of legal divorce documents, it's natural to worry about the outcome of a custody battle.

The courts work in the best interests of the children

Typically, the courts make custody, child support and other parenting decisions with the best interests of the children in mind. Excepting certain extreme circumstances, the courts want to ensure that both parents have an ongoing and positive relationship with the minor children from the marriage.

Having fully shared custody means that you can both spend time together, and you may both share decision-making power about things like school and health care. Sometimes, one parent may get decision-making power but still share time with the other parent. These days, truly evenly split custody is more common than it used to be, with parents alternating days or weeks with the children. That helps ensure that both parents remain actively involved in the lives of the children.

Abuse, addition and abandonment can impact custody

Typically, the courts want to work to develop co-parenting arrangements, where both parents have active roles in the life of the children. However, there are certain special circumstances that can result in one parent getting sole custody. Other than having that request go through the courts uncontested by the other parent, there are only a few factors that could reasonably result in sole custody of your children.

These are all situations where one parent poses either a physical, social or psychological risk to the children. If your spouse has spent months or years away from the family, the courts may consider that abandonment. Sometimes, consistent refusal to pay child support may have a similar impact. That could impact his or her right to request custody. The courts may consider visitation and parenting classes a better first step.

If there have been documented instances of physical, sexual or emotional abuse of you or your children perpetrated by your spouse, that could also bolster a case for sole custody. If there's reason to believe your spouse will do harm to the children, the courts will generally take that seriously.

Finally, addiction to alcohol, prescription medication, street drugs or even gambling could also impact the outcome of your custody situation.

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