Hawaii Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
Understanding Hawaiian family law is important when you are creating a child visitation schedule because it will help you submit a properly written plan that encompasses the law and maintains the best interests of your child.
The State of Hawaii requires that a parenting plan be submitted in all child custody and visitation proceedings, and one of the key elements of the plan is a child visitation schedule.
The law explains that upholding the child's best interests is the State of Hawaii's main objective in cases of family restructuring.
The Hawaii Revised Statutes contains the laws of the state, and Chapter 571 deals with the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation.
It is important to understand some of the laws of the state prior to writing your child visitation schedule. As Chapter 571-46 of the Revised Hawaiian Statutes details, the court has no tolerance for family violence.
A parent or parents found to engage in family violence, especially if the violence has been directed at the child or committed in front of the child, will be subject to strict visitation rules.
Visitation with a parent that has been evidenced to have engaged in family violence, if permitted at all, may be limited, ordered to be supervised, and/or executed in ways that minimize the risk of endangering the victim parent and the child.
This may include meeting in a neutral, public location to exchange the child.
Visitation with a parent who has committed family violence will only be granted if provisions can be made to ensure the safety and well-being of the child and the other parent.
The court shall consider the previously committed violence and decide whether or not ongoing contact would be detrimental to the child or if the child would benefit from ongoing contact with the perpetrator.
In most cases, perpetrators of family violence will be required to attend educational and behavioral training and/or counseling in order to resume any contact or visitation with their child.
The court may require any party involved in a child custody proceeding in the State of Hawaii to attend parenting classes or counseling if the court feels it would be beneficial to the child (HRS Chapter 571-46.2).
In the spirit of protecting the child and maintaining the child's best interests, custody of a child in the State of Hawaii may be awarded to anyone, including a step-parent or non-relative, should they apply for custody.
In order to get custody, a non-parent would have to prove the parent(s) to be unfit, that continuing or allowing the child to reside with the parent(s) would be harmful to the child, and/or that the child has benefited from residing with the non-parent and continuing or resuming the living arrangement by awarding custody to the non-parent would be in the child's best interests.
Yes. Grandparents are afforded the opportunity to petition the court for visitation rights and may be awarded these rights should the court find continuing visitation with a grandparent to be in the child's best interests (HRS Chapter 571-46.3).
Awarding a grandparent visitation rights does not give them any custodial rights or lessen the custodial rights of the parents, but they are able to file for custody if the conditions are appropriate to facilitate such action.
When creating your child visitation schedule, do so with the best interests of your child as a guide, for it is the best interests of the child that the court uses to determine custody issues.
The court will award custody to both or either parents, and considers ongoing, frequent, and meaningful contact with both parents to be in the child's best interests.
Other factors the court considers when determining the best interests of a child include:
- The wishes of the child (if the child is of an appropriate age and maturity to make such a decision)
- The ability of the each parent to provide the child with a loving, affectionate, nurturing, and safe home
- The overall quality of each parent-child relationship
- The prior histories of care giving
- Each parent's involvement in the child's life
- The child's relationship with any siblings and other people important in the child's life
- The child's educational needs
A complete listing of the factors the court considers when determining the best interests of the child is found in the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 571-46-14-b.
In order to have a thorough schedule, you should include the following:
- A residential schedule that shows where the child is during the week and on weekends
- A special events schedule that shows where the child is during holidays, birthdays, school breaks, vacations, and other special occasions
- Any provisions or information about the practical implementation of the schedule that can help the parents cooperate or communicate
Many parents simply rotate holidays and alternate them every other year, but you are free to develop the visitation schedule however you would like.
Perhaps one parent celebrates Christmas while the other parent does not. It would then make sense for the child to spend every Christmas with the parent that celebrates it.
If your child's school (or future school) closes to observe certain days, such as Prince Kuhio Day, you may include it and/or any other special days in the schedule.
Vacation schedules may be written flexibly, as personal vacation time tends to be less structured, but do allow time with both parents during the child's school vacations.
You should draft the child visitation schedule in a manner that works best for your child and in a way that will optimize the time your child spends with both parents.
The top ten cities in Hawaii (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Honolulu, Hilo, Kailua, Kaneohe, Waipahu, Pearl City, Waimalu, Mililani Town, Kaului, Kihei.