For the most part, divorces in Hawaii follow a similar process to most other states. There are however some divorce rules special to Hawaii that anyone divorcing needs to be aware of, for example:
- Short time to answer a Summons and Complaint – In Hawaii, the Respondent or Defendant in a divorce has only 20 days from service of the Summons and Complaint to file an Answer. Miss that deadline and you might be defaulted.
- Service by mail – The court pretty freely gives permission to serve the Summons and Complaint by mail, especially when the other spouse lives on the U.S. Mainland. Mail does have to be sent Certified, Return Receipt Required to be valid though.
- Most matters require a hearing and notice to the other side – Nearly everything requires a judge’s review and signature is going to need to be assigned a hearing date and notification to the other side. Making a motion for default, motions for temporary relief, even for entry of a stipulated (agreed) Decree of Divorce, all need hearing dates.
- Mailing the final Decree – Once the judge grants your divorce and the court files a Decree, it’s still not final until a certified copy is mailed to the other spouse and a certificate of mailing is filed with the court.
There are many more rules specific to divorce in Hawaii, these are just a sample few. The full listing of court rules can be found at the Judiciary’s web site http://www.courts.state.hi.us/legal_references/rules/rulesOfCourt