When your circumstances or those of your ex-spouse change, it can impact your ability to meet child custody or support obligations.
Luckily, it is possible to change child support or child custody agreements in Hawaii.

When is Child Custody and Support Established in Hawaii?

Various issues arise during divorce, and things can get contentious. And while child custody and child support are the most common reasons for disagreements during a divorce, they will be outlined in their child custody agreement when the parties agree on the terms. However, if parties cannot agree on these issues, the Family Court will decide for them.
Divorcing couples aren’t the only ones that face custody or support issues. Unmarried couples that are separating, unwed mothers seeking support for their child, and fathers seeking visitation rights will also have to deal with child custody and child support issues.

What is Paternity & Why Does it Matter

Establishing paternity involves determining whether the man in question is the child’s biological father. This is done through genetic testing, which compares the child’s genetic material to the presumptive father’s.
Establishing paternity is vital in child support and custody cases. Paternity will help set the visitation or custodial rights and obligations of the father to the child. It will also establish the beneficiary status and freedoms of the child if their father passes away.

Can I Change the Parenting Plan or Child Support Amount?

Parenting plans and child support orders are enforceable by law. Violating your parenting plan or child support order can result in legal action against you. But, child custody and support are not set in stone.
When a child custody or support plan is not working due to changes in circumstances of one or both parents, it can be modified in Family Court.

The Family Court can modify the child custody order if you can demonstrate:

  1. There has been a significant change in your circumstances, and this change affects the welfare of the child
  2. Modifying the child custody or support order would be in the child’s best interests.

Common Reasons Custody & Support Are Changed in Hawaii

The physical relocation of one party

If the primary parent plans to relocate, this can substantially affect child custody. The non-custodial parent can reach out to the Family Court for modifications to child custody.
The court will consider factors such as whether there is a valid reason for the move and the impact relocation would have on the child. The court may limit the primary parent’s ability to relocate if it is in the child’s best interests.

Failure of one parent to adhere to custody terms

Once child support and custody have been set, both parties must follow the order. When one parent refuses to adhere to the charges, say by bringing the child home late or refusing to allow the child to visit with the non-custodial parent at the agreed-upon times, the other parent can ask for the parent to be held in contempt of court.

However, to modify the parenting plan, you must provide the court with evidence that the other parent failed to adhere to the agreement or court order. It is best to work with an experienced child custody attorney for this.

A significant change in the child’s needs

If the child’s needs have changed, the court may agree to a modification of the child custody order. For example, if the child has developed a physical or mental condition that requires more care and attention, it may be that one parent is more suited to provide care to the child than the other. This parent may file for a modification to the child custody agreement to have sole custody of the child.

Changes in a parent’s situation

Family Court recognizes that the circumstances of either parent can change over time. For example, you may now have a stable job with more income than when the agreement was set. You may be able to get a modification to the child custody agreement to spend more time with your children.

Enforcing HI Child Custody & Support Orders

If a parent is not paying child support or not allowing you to see your children, you can enforce child custody or child support orders with the help of a family law attorney. This may involve putting a lien on their property, filing a contempt court proceeding, or preventing them from getting a new passport.

Do I Need a Family Lawyer to Modify Custody and Support Orders?

Modifying or updating child custody and child support orders can be complex and emotionally draining. Attorney Michael Fayard is experienced in dealing with child support, child custody, child support, or custody issues in Hawaii’s family court system. He will provide you with the help and guidance you need. Contact our law firm for a consultation.
Call today at (808) 445-6708 or complete our contact form, and we can call you for a free consultation.