Going through a divorce is stressful enough for a family without navigating complicated fee schedules from an attorney. To simplify the process and remove some of the pressure, PMK is now offering fixed-rate services for uncontested divorces. Please contact Seth Harris, senior associate of the PMK family law division at family@HawaiiLegal.com to learn more about this service. For more information about uncontested divorces, go to https://hawaiilegal.com/advantages-of-an-uncontested-divorce/. 

What happens if you no longer wish to be married but you believe you shouldn’t have to go through a divorce? In such a case, you may wish to pursue an annulment.  

The difference between an annulment and a divorce is that a divorce cancels a legally valid marriage while an annulment is a court declaration that confirms a marriage never actually existed.  

Because the grounds for annulments are very limited, Hawaii family court judges rarely grant them. If you seek an annulment and it is denied, you can still file for divorce if you are legally married.  

Here are the cases in which the court will allow annulments, as long as one or both spouses show legal proof:  

  • Blood relations – If you and your spouse are related (cousins or closer) even if you were aware of the blood ties before the marriage.  
  • Age – If you or your spouse were not legally old enough to be married, which in the state of Hawaii is 18, or as young as 16 with written consent from both sets of parents.  
  •  Already married – If one or both has a living spouse that they are still married to.  
  • Mental capacity – If one party lacks the mental capacity to consent, such as if they were under the influence of alcohol, or if they didn’t have the mental capacity to consent, such as due to an ongoing health condition.   
  • Physical incapacity – If one or both of the parties is impotent, unable to have children, or physically incapable of getting married.  
  • Force, duress, or fraud – If you are forced to go through with marriage while under duress, or if your spouse misrepresented an essential aspect of your marriage. In this case, an annulment is granted only if you didn’t live with your spouse before you were married. 
  • Disease – If your spouse was afflicted with a “loathsome disease” at the time of your marriage and hid it from you.  

Here are the two major benefits of an annulment versus a divorce:   

  • Each spouse leaves the marriage with any money or possessions that they brought into it without litigation. However, there are specific provisions for child custody 
  • If your spouse was already married and you didn’t know about it, you may be entitled to a financial allowance. 

Do you need help deciding whether you should seek an annulment or a divorce? Seth Harris, a senior associate at the PMK family law division, is available to assist you with annulment, divorce, and any other family law needs. For more information, go to www.hawaiilegal.com/practice-areas/family-law-2/.

PMK partnered with HUGS to sponsor a Mom’s Night Out on June 7th.  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.

The moms remotely joined traveling Beach Workout Instructor Des Adams who led a thoughtful and customized virtual workout for HUGS Moms from a beach in Makaha. This workout was appropriate for moms at all levels in a minimal amount of space and focused on incorporating healthy “systems” into everyday life to set and reach personal goals. Foodland gift cards were provided to moms for healthy “refueling” after future workouts.

To learn more about HUGS, visit https://www.hugshawaii.org/

Partner R. Laree McGuire was a featured panelist at the Hawaii Council of Community Associations (HCCA) May 26th Webinar – Debt Collection and Foreclosure. McGuire discussed the new laws passed during the 2022 Legislative Session affecting condominium and homeowners associations.

High school graduation is an exciting time full of celebrations and ceremonies. As a parent, it’s a moment of pride as you watch your child prepare for his or her upcoming college journey.  

While the transition to college is exciting, it can also be very expensive. If you’re divorced, you might be grappling with which and/or how much each parent will contribute to your child’s higher education.   

In most cases, Hawaii law requires both parents to provide financial support for their children (including for education) until they become an adult. After the child graduates from high school and turns 18, the court may also obligate parents to continue to pay child support until they graduate from college or turn 23, as long as they are enrolled full-time in an accredited college, university, or vocational program.   

If you were divorced when your child was very young, either or both of your financial situations may have changed drastically necessitating a review of how much each parent should contribute. If you need to file a legal motion to change a previous decision or establish a post-high school educational cost arrangement, be sure to do so when your child is a junior, if not sooner. Waiting longer puts you at risk of not having enough time for a court to decide before graduation.   

Here are some additional considerations when it comes to higher education costs for the children of divorced parents:   

  • Be sure to define “higher education costs.” For example, your former spouse may believe these costs should include tuition only but there are other costs to consider, including books, room, and board, and even travel to Hawaii and back from the mainland if they attend school out-of-state.   
  • How much does each parent earn? If one parent makes significantly more than the other, a judge may decide that each parent should pay a percentage of the child’s higher education expenses based on their income.   
  • If you don’t know what college your child will be attending, consider adding a legal provision that you and your former spouse together will contribute at least as much as Hawaii state tuition.   

Giving yourself ample time to address these issues will ensure a smoother college transition for the recent high school graduate and you!   

Seth Harris, a senior associate at the PMK family law division, is available to assist you with higher education financing concerns or any other family law needs. Contact him at Family@HawaiiLegal.com.