Family courts in Hawaii consider several factors when determining child custody. The primary criteria for awarding child custody in Hawaii is the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Child Custody in Hawaii should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
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Best Interests of the Child
A family court in Hawaii will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, a Hawaiian family court will consider the following:
- History of sexual or physical abuse of a child by a parent
- History of neglect or emotional abuse of a child by a parent
- Child's relationship with the parent
- Physical, emotional, or educational needs of a child
- History of past drug abuse by a parent
- Parent's mental health
Factors Considered When Awarding Child Custody in Hawaii
A Hawaiian court will consider the following factors when making a custody determination:
- Custody should be awarded to one or both parents based on the best interests of the child
- A parent's frequent, meaningful, and continuous contact with a child
- Child's wishes, which are only considered for children of a "sufficient" age and capacity to make intelligent decisions (the general rule of thumb is over the age of 12)
- Results of a child custody evaluation as to the child's care, custody, and welfare, if an evaluation is ordered by a Hawaiian court
- Expert testimony as to what's best for a child's physical, mental, moral, or spiritual well-being
Domestic Violence and Child Custody in Hawaii
In a Hawaiian family court, if there is violence in the family, the court prefers not to place a child in the sole custody, joint custody, or joint physical custody of the accused abuser. However, a court will consider the following:
- Safety and well-being of the child
- Accused abuser's history of domestic violence
A court will order visitation to an accused abuser if the child can be protected at all times, such as supervised visitation. A court in Hawaii may also order a perpetrator to attend a counseling course.
Child Custody Modification
A Hawaiian court will grant a custody modification if the original custody order no longer serves the best interests of the child.
For more information about child custody in Hawaii, please visit the Hawaii Revised Statues or speak with a qualified Hawaiian attorney.