Child support can be a particularly hot-button issue for former partners. When to initiate it, how much it should be and when to make changes are all situations that can lead to disagreements. 

The state of Hawaii uses a child support guidelines worksheet to determine how much child support a parent should pay. The disbursements can be paid directly to the payee or through Hawaii’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). After the court first creates the order, it can take anywhere from six weeks to two months for the CSEA to process the documents, therefore, the court may add a provision for interim payments, such as direct payments pending the start of withholding.  

Once CSEA or the Family Court determines a dollar figure, that amount won’t change unless both parties agree or if a court order requires it. Here are some circumstances that merit a review and possible adjustments to child support:  

  1. Gross income changes due to job change or loss  
  2. A significant change in health insurance costs  
  3. Different custody arrangements 
  4. A significant change to a child’s educational expenses  
  5. Every four years when the family court reviews and modifies the state’s child support guidelines worksheet  

Seth Harris, a senior associate with the PMK Family Law Division, is available to serve as a dedicated, compassionate advocate for all of your child support needs. For more information, go to: