Hawaii Child Custody Laws

All U.S. states, including Hawaii, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA), which is intended to minimize interstate child custody conflicts. Hawaii child custody laws, which came into compliance with the UCCA in 1973, allow parents and guardians the option of joint custody and recognize grandparent visitation rights.

Hawaii courts recognize legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make major life decisions, such as schooling and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the decision of which parent or guardian the child lives with. As in other states, either one (sole custody) or both (joint custody) parents may have legal and/or physical custody.

For example, a joint legal custody arrangement allows both parents to make major life decisions on behalf of the child. In a sole physical custody arrangement, the child lives with one parent full-time, even if the non-custodial parent has visitation rights or shares in the legal custody arrangement.

Hawaii child custody laws generally involve a judge overseeing custody decisions, with the court able to overrule any decision. The idea is for the court to be the final arbiter on what is in the child's decision best interests. A parenting plan generally recognizes the following:

  • The continuity of the parent-child relationship typically is in the child's best interest.
  • The needs of children change and grow as they mature.
  • Custodial parents make daily decisions (including emergencies) while child is with that particular parent.
  • Both parents are to have access to a child's official records

Parenting plans also identify now children will spend birthdays and other holidays; transportation arrangements; when supervision is required; and other considerations.

Learn more about Hawaii child custody laws in the table below, along with links to related articles and resources. See FindLaw's Child Custody section for additional information.

Code Section 571-46
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1973
Joint Custody an Option? Yes, §571-46.1
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, §571-46.3
Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Hawaii child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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