Some couples choose to separate and remain separated instead of divorcing, even though the marriage can’t be salvaged. If done for financial reasons, it is usually to maintain and preserve health care coverage, social security benefits or military benefits.  When this occurs, attorneys may recommend executing a legal separation agreement. This agreement establishes a temporary division of assets and debt, spousal and child support, and visitation on a short-term basis.

While there are some situations where it is beneficial to legally separate instead of divorcing, in Hawaii, legal separations are limited to two years after which the separation agreement automatically ends. At this time, the couple is still considered legally married, effectively ending any agreements regarding all financial support, child custody, and division of assets.

For religious reasons, some spouses prefer an annulment of the marriage instead of a divorce.  However, there is an annulment under a specific religion is not the same as a legal annulment.  In Hawaii, the qualifications for a legal annulment are extremely limited and are considered only in cases of incestuous marriage, underage marriage, bigamous marriage, mental incapacity, fraud or coercion and concealed “loathsome” disease.   

The legal team at PMK can assist with your questions regarding legal separation, annulment or divorce. We will help you explore all your options and explain your rights under the law so that you can make informed decisions that protect your best interests.