In a divorce in Hawaii, the Hawaii Family Court will divide all “marital assets” and “marital debts” between the divorcing spouses. In Hawaii, a marital asset is any tangible or intangible item of value which was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except by gift or inheritance. The item is considered a marital asset even if it was purchased by only one spouse using income exclusively from that spouse’s employment, is titled in the name of one spouse, is used exclusively by one spouse, etc. You and your spouse each own 50% of all marital assets.
Marital debts are bills and debts acquired by either your or your spouse during the marriage. Again, it does not matter in whose name the debt was acquired, who benefitted from the funds giving rise to the debt, etc. You and your spouse are each responsible for 50% of all marital debts.
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse can agree on how to divide the marital assets and marital debts. So long as you agree, and your agreement is not induced by fraud or duress, you may agree to divide your marital assets and debts in proportions other than 50-50. If you cannot agree, the Family Court will divide your marital assets and debts according to what the judge believes is “fair and equitable.” This generally means that the judge will divide your marital assets and marital debts, awarding and assigning approximately 50% of each to you and 50% to your spouse. Our Honolulu divorce lawyers can help you analyze your property distribution.
Beware: The divorce decree issued in either an uncontested or contested divorce is only binding on you and your spouse – it is not binding on your creditors and creditors can simply ignore it. Thus, even though you and your spouse agree, or the judge orders, that your spouse will, for example, be solely responsible to pay the Visa credit card account that was opened in both of your names, you are still liable for the debt. Therefore, if your spouse misses a payment when due, there will be a negative entry on your credit report, and the creditor can sueyou.
Call today to make an appointment to meet with one of our Honolulu Family Law Attorneys.
Click on the links below to learn more about the Hawaii family law.
01. Hawaii Family Law
02. If You are “Served”
03. Legal Effect of Hawaii Divorce
04. Residency Requirements
05. Grounds for Hawaii Divorce
06. Hawaii Child Custody/Support
07. Hawaii Spousal Support
08. Property Division
09. Hawaii Paternity