This Web site contains only general information and readers shoud not take any
actions without first consulting a qualified attorney about their specific situation.
Who is eligible for spousal support?
There is a great deal of misinformation about spousal support, also called "alimony." People often believe that there must be a minimum period of marriage, or that a spouse with a job is ineligible. In Hawaii, the only requirement for alimony is a valid marriage and that the spouse seeking it did not waive the right to seek alimony in a pre-marital, marital or divorce agreement. A party to an unmarried relationship cannot obtain alimony, but if there is a child born of the relationship, the court will order child support.
How is the amount of spousal support determined?
Unlike child support, where there is a rigid formula, there are no guidelines or worksheets for spousal support. The court will usually approve whatever the parties agree upon. When there is no agreement, and the court must decide, the central issues are the need of the party seeking alimony and the ability of the other party to pay. There are subjective factors that the court considers, such as length of the marriage, what financial condition each party will be left in after the division of assets and debts, and the post divorce ability of each spouse to earn income.
Can spousal support be modified after divorce?
If a party waived alimony in a divorce decree, it cannot later be ordered. However, if alimony of a certain amount and duration is specified in a divorce decree, it can be modified if there is a material change in circumstances, even if the decree says that alimony is non-modifiable. Remarriage usually terminates the right to receive alimony, unless the decree says otherwise.
Can spousal support be paid through CSEA?
Yes. An order for income withholding can specify a total amount that includes child support and spousal support to be deducted by the employer and sent to the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
What if my ex fails to pay spousal support?
Generally, the same remedies are available as for payment of child support, except that CSEA will not enforce a spousal support order except in conjunction with a child support order.