Hawaii Marital Property Laws

When individuals get married, they make a tacit agreement to share just about everything they acquire from that point on. This is called marital property and is subject to division if the couple gets divorced. While some property may be purchased with "commingled" funds -- for instance, purchasing a house together with individual funds -- most assets acquired prior to the marriage are considered separate property and not subject to division. Other types of property considered "separate" in most states include personal gifts and inheritances from family members.

States tend to differ on how marital property is divided in a divorce proceeding, ranging from strict community property guidelines to the more popular "equitable division" approach. While community property states divide property 50/50, more or less, equitable division considers the means and needs of each party and other, more practical concerns.

Hawaii Marital Property Laws at a Glance

Hawaii is not a community property state, which means the judge will decide how property is divided on the basis of the skills and employability of each spouse, any special medical (or other financial) needs, and the value of unpaid work such as raising children and maintaining the home, for instance. If the parties are able to reach an agreement on their own, the judge will approve it as long as there is no evidence of coercion or hidden assets.

See the following chart for additional information about Hawaii marital property laws, and FindLaw's Divorce and Property section for additional articles and helpful resources.

Community Property Recognized? No, but Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act (UDCPRDA) adopted. (§§510-21, et seq.)
Factors Considered by Judge when Dividing Property
  • The age and health of each spouse (including any special medical needs)
  • The skills and employability (i.e. future earning potential) of each spouse
  • Current economic condition of each spouse
  • Any violations of law, such as hiding assets, or other culpable behavior
  • The impact of property division on any dependant children
Dower And Curtesy Statutory right to elective share of surviving spouse recognized. (Uniform Probate Code §§560:2-201, et seq.)

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but sometimes through voter approved ballot initiatives or other means. Make sure you contact a Hawaii divorce attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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