Partner R. Laree McGuire was a featured panelist at the April 1st Hawaii Chapter Community Association Institute Webinar, “Fire & Life Safety; Sprinklers Updates.” McGuire spoke about Ordinance 21-3 which addresses fire safety, sprinkler system and alarm requirements and emergency plans for residents.
The Family Court is seeing an increased backlog of unresolved cases, especially because of the complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hearings – even those deemed urgent – are being scheduled months out. Even more so than in the past, the court is encouraging people to seek alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to avoid what can be a months-long wait for a hearing. Alternative dispute resolution can also be less expensive than going through the Family Court.
Parents or spouses can use alternative dispute resolution to navigate divorces, and custody or child support disputes.
Forms of alternative dispute resolution include:
- Mediation – The parties work together with a trained mediator to facilitate conversation and resolution.
- Arbitration – The parties hire a family law attorney or expert who acts as a private judge to resolve the remaining disputes.
- Custody Issues – Third-party evaluators, such as a Family Court-approved, licensed, trained custody evaluator, can determine what arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
Seth Harris, senior associate at the PMK family law division, can help determine if alternative dispute resolution is a good option for you. For more information, go to https://www.hawaiilegal.com/practice-areas/family-law-2/.
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:
- Government Economic Stimulus Payments – These are not taxable. The government pays the stimulus to the parent who claims the child as a dependent for their taxes. However, both parents may choose to share it, especially if they have joint custody.
- 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 https://www.hawaiilegal.com/practice-areas/family-law-2/.
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.
As the kupuna of our families go through the aging process, there may be times when other family members need to take over as decision-makers for certain aspects of their lives.
This type of arrangement, known as guardianship for an incapacitated adult, can occur if any adult relative becomes mentally or physically incapacitated.
Guardianship for incapacitated adults can be limited or unlimited. In a limited guardianship, the court grants specific powers, such as only medical decisions or tasks, which might include ordering prescriptions, obtaining a disabled parking pass, or securing a service animal.
An unlimited guardianship allows one to make all of the decisions for the incapacitated adult, including financial decisions, such as receiving money on their behalf and using that money to pay for their expenses. Whenever feasible, the Court grants only those powers which are necessary due to the adult’s limitations.
In order to establish legal guardianship of an adult, one must file a standard petition with the court explaining who requires guardianship and why, the proposed guardian, and a note from a physician explaining how that adult is incapacitated.
The court prioritizes potential guardians in the order of relationship to the incapacitated person in the following order:
- Unrelated caregivers
The person petitioning for guardianship will also need to notify any other potential guardians and request a waiver and consent from them.
The court then schedules a hearing in which the petitioner provides the judge with the doctor’s letter, any waivers from other potential guardians, and a financial report for the incapacitated person. If there is a current caregiver, such as a nursing home, they will also need to be notified.
A petition for guardianship is usually granted if the reason for the request is confirmed by a physician and there are no objections by other potential guardians.
Following an approved petition, the potential guardian will need to file reports to the court annually, including information about the condition of the incapacitated adult and the status of their finances.
Overall, establishing guardianship for an incapacitated adult in the state of Hawaii can be easily navigated with the help of an experienced attorney. Seth Harris, senior associate with the PMK Family Law Division, is able to take you through the steps so you can make the best possible decisions for your kupuna.
Every year, in celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society, the President of the United States proclaims March as Women’s History Month. It began in 1982 as Women’s History Week to recognize the specific achievements women have made throughout American history in a variety of fields. In 1987, it became Women’s History Month. In recognition of this important designation, the staff of PMK wishes to thank the women of the law firm for their extensive contributions to the company and their community.
- Laree McGuire – Partner
- Rebecca Szucs – Of Counsel
- Cheryl Fraine – Associate
- Kaitlyn Mark – Associate
- Nari Song – Associate
- Patricia (Hann) Biro– Office Manager
- Bernaden Agudo – Accounts Payable
- Diana Borengasser – Paralegal
- Jenny Caban – Paralegal
- Kimberly McCaskey – Paralegal
- Meredith Ross – Paralegal
- Melody Sakado – Paralegal
- PattiAnn Miyoshi – Paralegal
- Susan Im – Paralegal
- Tracie Kahooilihala – Paralegal
- Anne Lefai – Legal Assistant
- Dawn Daido – Legal Assistant
- Lyn Morillo – Legal Assistant
- Marie Lum – Legal Assistant
- Nanealani Willson – Legal Assistant