One of the most difficult situations when it comes to divorce in Hawaii is if one parent wants to relocate with their children to another island in-state, a state on the mainland, or even a different country.

In the state of Hawaii, such a decision is especially consequential because joint custody or extensive visitation is virtually impossible, and planning for visits with the noncustodial parent can be burdensome and expensive.

In deciding where children will live, judges – often after consideration with a report from a fact-finder or custody evaluator – look at what is in the best interest of the children. To make a decision, the court examines evidence of factors relevant to their lives such as:
• Academic opportunities
• Accessibility to medical services
• Additional family support
• Religious opportunities
• Cultural opportunities
• Safety and who else resides in the prospective home
• The physical residence and the neighborhood for which it resides
• Childcare
• Quality of life, climate, and demographics
• Travel to see the noncustodial parent
• Communication with the noncustodial parent
• Community resources

Providing a thorough relocation plan that addresses the above issues can strengthen a parent’s case. International relocations have additional complications such as cultural and language concerns.

If you wish to relocate with your children following a divorce, or if your former spouse or significant other is seeking to relocate your children against your wishes, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate this process and advocate for your preferred location.

Seth Harris, a senior associate at the PMK family law division, can help you prepare a relocation plan to strengthen your case for why a move is in the best of your children, or assist you with any of your legal needs related to child relocation and divorce. For more information, go