PMK partnered with HUGS to sponsor a Mom’s Night Out on May 23rd in celebration of Mother’s Day. 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 enjoyed a delicious family style dinner at et al., including Hamakua mushroom risotto, grilled kona kampachi, garlic chicken with mochi waffles, and an assortment of yummy desserts. The night was filled with laughter and talking story and was a much-needed break for these hard-working moms. To learn more about HUGS, visit

Tax season is upon us, so now is the time to begin thinking about how financial aspects of your life, such as child-related expenses, can impact your taxes.   

Here are some general rules of thumb when it comes to taxes and dependent expenses and benefits: 

  • Child Support – Child support is not taxable. The tax is paid when it is initially received by the party who earned the income. The support payment is not taxed and is not reported on tax returns as taxable income.  
  • Claiming a Child as a Dependent – The parent who has primary custody of the child usually claims them as a dependent on their taxes. There are exceptions, such as if the parents agree to a different arrangement or if a judge orders an alternative situation. In those cases, the IRS usually requires the custodial parent to sign a waiver recognizing that the other parent is claiming the child.  
  • Tax Deductions for Educational Expenses – There are potential tax credits and/or deductions for some education expenses and for contributing to college savings plans, such as a 529 college savings plan.   

Some child-related tax benefits are capped or reduced for higher-income earners. In those cases, a parent may be able to use those benefits as an additional value to allocate in a divorce or custody proceeding to assist with a settlement.  

Seth Harris, a senior associate at the PMK family law division, is available to help you work through any issues related to divorce and child custody, as well as all family law needs. For more information, go to  

Note: The attorneys of PMK do not provide tax advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax advice. You should consult your own tax advisors before engaging in any action. 

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 or go to 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