Property Division And Alimony

Property Division and Alimony

At the Honolulu law office of Blake T. Okimoto we have decades of experience with property division and alimony issues in a divorce. Property acquired during the marriage may be divided by the parties themselves and outlined in a Marital Settlement Agreement. If no such agreement is made, marital property will be divided by order of the court and set out in the divorce decree.

In Hawaii, property is divided according to an "equitable distribution." The court will classify all property and debt as marital or non-marital and assign a monetary value to each asset and debt. The court then distributes the property in an equitable fashion.

Many factors influence the division and distribution of the estate, including allocating responsibility for payment of debts. The court considers the following in making its determination:

  • The respective merits of the parties
  • The relative abilities of the parties
  • The condition each party will be left in by the divorce
  • The burdens imposed on a party for the benefit of the children
  • All other relevant circumstances

In addition to the property division, the court may order one party to pay support and maintenance (alimony) either temporarily or for an indefinite period of time. In determining the amount of support, the court considers various factors, including:

  • The financial resources and needs of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age of the parties and their physical and emotional condition
  • The occupation and vocational skills of the parties
  • Custodial and child support responsibilities

Valuation of Business

When one spouse owns a business, or if a business is owned jointly as marital property, the valuation of that business is a key component to dividing the marital estate. The monetary value placed on a business can vary wildly depending upon the valuation method used. For instance, how do you consider equity and inventory, or potential for future profits? How do you impute the value of the spouse's contribution to the business, should it be sold? How do you calculate goodwill? The advice of an experienced family law attorney is vital to achieving the correct result in this critical area.

Premarital Agreements

The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act allows enforceable voluntary written agreements regarding property division, payment of debts, and alimony. Each side must disclose assets and debts, and the agreement cannot be overly one-sided. Child custody and support remain within the court's purview and cannot be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.