PMK sponsored the HUGS Mom’s Night Out on July 7th. The moms were excited to be treated to an evening at the Old Spaghetti Factory. After not being able to gather in person for over a year, they enjoyed being together to support each other and shared lots of laughter. PMK is a proud supporter of HUGS (Help, Understanding & Group Support), a Hawaii nonprofit organization assisting families with seriously ill children.
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:
- Gross income changes due to job change or loss
- A significant change in health insurance costs
- Different custody arrangements
- A significant change to a child’s educational expenses
- 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: www.hawaiilegal.com/practice-areas/family-law-2/.
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, ages one and seven.
When it comes to child support some guidelines are fairly universal, while others are specific to Hawaii.
Here are some rules of thumb that you should know about child support in the Aloha state, whether you are the paying parent or the recipient.
- As is generally the case across the country, the Hawaii law mandates that parents be financially responsible for their children. As a result, a family court can order a parent to pay child support if their child does not live with them.
- Hawaii uses a child guidelines worksheet to determine the default amount for how much child support you will pay or receive. Child support should not exceed the reasonable needs of the child.
- The child support amount can be modified due to a “material change in circumstances,” such as a job loss, or if the paying parent contests the child support amount and the court agrees with their request.
- In Hawaii, if a child is in college, the court can mandate that the paying parent pay child support up until 23-years-of-age. If the child has special needs that require that they receive extra care, the court can require child support even beyond 23.
- In the Aloha State, parents can go through either the state’s Family Court or the state’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) for child support decisions. CSEA is usually quicker and won’t require an attorney. Family Court is useful if multiple issues require resolution, such as alimony and child support.
- Child support is not taxable to the parent receiving it.
Seth Harris, a senior associate at the PMK family law division, is available to assist you with child support and all of your family law needs. For more information, go to www.hawaiilegal.com/practice-areas/family-law-2/.
Partner R. Laree McGuire was a featured panelist at the June 12th Hawaii Council of Community Associations (HCCA) Board of Director Training Webinar. McGuire spoke on Association and Board Governance covering HRS 514B-121-126 and 421J, as well as an update on the new laws passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, Fair Housing and Foreclosure Law.