PMK Partner R. Laree McGuire spoke with Raelene Tenno on ThinkTech Hawaii’s Condo Insider on February 11, 2021. McGuire discussed decision making outside of a Board Meeting.


Grandparents often play a major role in children’s lives, particularly here in Hawaii where the importance of kupuna or elders is woven into our culture.  

During significant parental disputes such as a divorce, grandparents’ access to their grandchildren can become an issue. When it comes to visitation for grandparents in the event of a divorce, Hawaii has no law mandating access and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. However, Hawaii courts use the same rule of thumb that they do with all custody/visitation rulings – the best interest of the child.  

In Hawaii family court, in cases where grandparents have served as caregivers for the child when the parents are unable to do so, or if they have a longstanding emotional bond with the child and it would be detrimental to cut them out of the child’s life, the judge may ask the parents to agree on how they will allow the child to spend time with the grandparentsIf the parents cannot come to an agreement and the judge believes contact with the grandparents is essential for the child, he or she will step in and create a legal order.  

Such an order does not give the grandparents any custodial rights to the child such as making decisions for him or her or receiving any money on their behalf. The orders are typically limited to providing scheduled access to the child.  

Seth Harris, senior associate of the PMK family law division, can guide you through the visitation process to help ensure an outcome that is in the best interest of your child.

Some types of property, such as Separate Property acquired either before or during the marriage may be exempt from inclusion in a couple’s total assets. Separate Property includes anything owned by one spouse, usually by way of a written agreement (such as a premarital agreement or marital contract), that designates that property remain the property of only the spouse who owned it before marriage or received it during the marriage.

Separate Property must also be maintained and funded through resources other than regular marital assets and income. As a result of these significant limitations, this property is protected against being divided in a divorce, but also has strict requirements to remain in this category.

Regardless of your specific situation, the family law division at PMK, led by Senior Associate Seth Harris, is available to guide you through a seamless division of property.

PMK Partner R. Laree McGuire spoke with Jane Sugimura on ThinkTech Hawaii’s Condo Insider on January 14, 2021. McGuire discussed holding condo meetings in a pandemic – virtual meetings via your computer or phone.

Marital assets that may be included in division of assets in the event of a divorce can be anything that has a dollar value such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.)
  • A home or other real property
  • Vehicles
  • Business interests
  • Life insurance policies with a cash value
  • Retirement accounts or pensions
  • Personal property such as furniture, tools and other household effects

Conversely, debts that may be included are anything with a negative dollar value such as:

  • Car loans
  • Mortgages
  • Business loans
  • Student loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Credit card debt

Partnership Property is any other property that is not Separate Property (See our blog on What may be Exempt from Marital Assets), which for most couples is all or almost all of the property they own. Every asset and debt owned by one of both spouses that is not Separate Property is included in the Marital Estate, regardless of how or when each party received it. Each spouse receives a credit for the value of any property they owned prior to the marriage and for any property they received solely during the marriage as a gift or inheritance.

Any increase in the value of premarital or gifted/inherited property is divided 50/50. After accounting for the credits each party receives, the rest of the marital assets are divided so that each side receives approximately one-half each.

Regardless of your specific situation, the family law division at PMK, led by Senior Associate Seth Harris, is available to guide you through a seamless division of property.

In the next blog, learn what may be exempt from inclusion in marital assets.