This Web site contains only general information and readers shoud not take any
actions without first consulting a qualified attorney about their specific situation.
How is paternity established?
There are three ways. A child born during marriage is presumed to be the "lawful issue" of both spouses. There is no need to "establish paternity" for such a child unless someone is claiming that the husband is not the child's father. When a child is born to persons who are not married, the most common way that paternity is established in Hawaii is that the father signs an affidavit of paternity at a "birthing facility" when the child is born (this works only for children born after 1997). The other way is to file a petition to establish paternity in the Family Court. If paternity has already been established under the law of some other state, Hawaii will usually give full credit to that other state's order.
How do I get custody now?
If you are the mother, and paternity has never been established, you have custody until there is a court order awarding custody. If paternity has been established, or if you are a father, you must file a motion with the Family Court seeking an award of custody.
How can I get to see my child?
If you are a parent and are not being permitted to see your child, but you are not seeking custody, then you must file a motion asking for a visitation schedule.
How can I get child support?
There are two ways that child support can be established. The faster way is usually to file a motion in the Family Court. This usually requires an attorney, and you will incur attorney's fees, but in most cases you will begin to receive child support much sooner. If the other parent is not in Hawaii, or you can't afford to hire an attorney, the answer is to apply to the Child Support Enforcement Agency for establishment of support through its administrative process. This is slower, but is a minimal cost to you, and the agency has some special procedures available for dealing with out-of-state parents that are not available to the private bar.