If you’re going through a divorce and believe your spouse is hiding something, you may be tempted to hire a private investigator.
Whether or not you should depend on the information you are trying to obtain. While employing a private investigator is common on TV, it’s rarely worth the time or money to enlist the services of a PI in a Hawaii divorce case.
Hawaii is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a judge won’t make any decisions regarding whether either spouse’s actions were right or wrong during the marriage. So even if you suspect your spouse is having an affair and hiding it, it won’t affect who gets custody of your children or how your property is divided.
In addition, most of the information you need will be revealed during the discovery phase or the custody evaluation process. If you believe your spouse is concealing assets, it’s usually easier to confirm through formal discovery requests or a forensic accountant and/or by subpoenaing a financial institution, or any entity that has that information.
If you believe your spouse is not telling the truth about how they are caring for your child, that information will likely become clear through the work of a guardian ad litem or a custody evaluator.
One of the few times it might be worth hiring a private investigator is if you suspect your spouse is exposing your child to a dangerous or abusive situation or person and that information hasn’t yet been proven. However, even in such cases, a private investigator’s credibility may be questioned as biased because they are paid by one party and not appointed by the court.
Do you need legal assistance with any aspect of a divorce? Seth Harris, senior associate with the PMK Family Law Division, provides sound legal advice and a compassionate ear. Contact him at Family@HawaiiLegal.com or go to www.hawaiilegal.com for more information.
Porter McGuire Kiakona, LLP (PMK) is pleased to announce that Gabrielle Brizel and Natalie Younoszai have joined the firm as associate attorneys.
Gabrielle Brizel earned her J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. While in law school, she participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, served as President of the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Organization and Dean of the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, and interned at the Managing Director’s Office of the City and County of Honolulu. She also received the International Law Certificate and the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Certificate. As a member of PMK’s community association, commercial and construction litigation, and family law division, Brizel will be working with clients on Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Natalie Younoszai earned her J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining PMK, she worked as a staff attorney at the Hawaii State Judiciary Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) and clerked for ICA judges Daniel R. Foley and Craig H. Nakamura. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law and has been actively involved in Hawaii Women Lawyers, for which she served as President from 2015 to 2016. While in law school, she held a variety of positions including research assistant to a Wills & Trusts professor and a Torts professor and research editor for the Texas Journal of Business Law. Natalie currently serves as a volunteer judge for the Punahou Speech and Debate Team.
As a member of PMK’s condominium and community association section, Younoszai will be working with clients on Oahu and the neighbor islands.
PMK partnered with HUGS to sponsor a Dad’s Night Out on January 17th. HUGS is an organization that helps strengthen Hawaii’s families and improve their quality of life as they face the emotional and financial hardships of caring for a seriously ill child.
Thirteen Dad’s were treated to a fun night of DIY Yakiniku Night at the HUGS house. They shared great conversations about family, food and football. Mahalo to HUGS Dad, Toni for cooking the Korean BBQ. These events are very meaningful for our parents and allow them to share and support each other through their challenges. To learn more about HUGS, visit https://www.hugshawaii.org/
PMK partnered with HUGS to sponsor a Mom’s Night Out on January 10th. HUGS is an organization that helps strengthen Hawaii’s families and improve their quality of life as they face the emotional and financial hardships of caring for a seriously ill child.
HUGS Moms were treated to a relaxing and delicious dinner at Off the Wall Hawaii. The night was filled with cheers, conversation, and laughter, with a mixed group of both long-time and newcomer moms. To learn more about HUGS, visit https://www.hugshawaii.org/
PMK Senior Associate Seth Harris is passionate about family law
Family law attorneys often meet people during very emotional events in their lives, such as divorces or custody disputes. Such situations require steady, compassionate guidance. The opportunity to help clients through these difficult times is exactly what attracted Seth Harris to family law.
“You don’t have to just struggle through this experience and be lost,” said Seth, who joined PMK in 2017. “I feel strongly about helping my clients get through what can be a tough process. That’s a big part of what motivates me and why I continue to do this.”
Seth received his Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He has 20 years of experience practicing law, 14 of which are in family law, and built PMK’s family law practice from the ground up.
In his free time, Seth enjoys Kendo (Japanese Fencing) and has earned a 6th degree black belt. He is married with two children.