Hawaii Child Support & Overnight Calculations
Hawaii uses overnights or where the children sleep as the basis for figuring shared custody timeshare percentages in its child support formula.
Besides income, overnight totals are a key part of the Hawaii child support formula. Your overnights directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Hawaii attorneys and judges often rely on overnight estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting overnights is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your overnight totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
To calculate overnights, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each night for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.
The leading overnight calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your overnights to see if they were estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total overnights, and you can see how your overnights change each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how many overnights you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Hawaii family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. A parenting time percentage is included in the child support formula for joint custody.
Hawaii sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to overnight visitations. In Hawaii, sole physical custody is given to the parent with whom the children spend the most time with. The non-residential parent hosts fewer than 143 overnights.
The non-custodial parent can also participate in extensive time sharing, which means more than 143 but fewer than 182 overnights.
Hawaii joint physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. Hawaii statutory law defines joint custody as any arrangement in which the child has regular and continuing contact with both parents.
Joint physical custody in Hawaii means near equal parenting time.
Hawaii family courts use a formula that considers both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount. The parenting time percentage adjustment only figures into sole physical custody cases.
Sole custody formula: To qualify for a parenting time adjustment credit, the non-residential parent must host the children for at least 143 overnights but no more than 182. The number of overnights translates to a parenting time percentage, which is plugged into the formula.
Joint custody formula: Hawaii family courts use a different formula to figure out child support for equal parenting time. It calculates the difference between the two incomes, allowing the children to enjoy the same standard of living in both households. The higher earner generally pays child support to the lower earner.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert, the non-residential parent, hosts the children for 144 overnights. This is the minimum required to qualify him for a parenting time credit, so he pays $947 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #2: If Robert hosts two more weeks of overnights per year, to 158 nights, he pays $711 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #3: If Robert adds two more weeks of overnights to total 172, he pays $455 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #4: If Mary is the non-residential parent, and hosts the children for 144 nights, she qualifies for a parenting time credit. She pays $482 in child support to Robert.
In Hawaii, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: If Robert and Mary agree to equal parenting time, Robert pays $236 in child support to Mary. This is because his income is higher.
- Scenario #2: If Robert and Mary both earn $4,000 per month, no child support is paid or received. This is because there is no net difference in their incomes.
- Scenario #3: If Mary earns $4,000 per month and Robert earns $2,400 per month, Mary pays $236 in child support to Robert. This is because she is the higher earner.
In Hawaii joint custody cases, the higher earning parent pays child support to the lower earning parent.
Hawaii's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:
- Overnights: Unlike some states, Hawaii does not factor in daytime visitations into a child support formula—only overnights. The non-residential parent must host the children for more than 143 overnights but fewer than 182 to qualify for shared custody.
- Eligible children: Qualifying children in Hawaii must be under 18 or still in high school, or up to 23 if enrolled full time in post-secondary schools. Disabled children who must remain with the residential parent may require child support past these limits.
- Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. Hawaii law requires the use of both parents' incomes from the equivalent of one full-time job to determine a child support amount.
- Specific deductions: There are some factors that allow for an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Hawaii law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Hawaii, remember these 5 things:
- In Hawaii, the family courts follow Hawaii Revised Statutes 576D-7 and 580-47 when determining child support amounts. These statutes ensure that child support orders are sufficient to meet the needs of the children, relevant to the parent's ability to pay.
- When a Hawaii family court awards extensive time sharing credit, the children must spend at least 143 overnights with the non-residential parent, but no more than 182.
- For joint physical custody, Hawaii family courts use a formula that calculates equal shared time and uses the net difference between each parent's child support obligation as child support.
- In sole custody, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income. In joint custody, the higher earning parent pays the lower earning parent, regardless of residency.
- Hawaii parenting time percentages only count overnight visits. Child visitation just during the day or into the evening does not affect total parenting time percentages.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate the total overnights for the Hawaii child support formula.