Hawaii Child Support Definitions

State law requires the Family Court, the Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Office of Child Support Hearings to follow these guidelines in all cases involving child support unless there are "exceptional circumstances."

GROSS INCOME, includes income from all sources that are regular and
consistent, including but not limited to:

1. Employment salaries and wages, including tips, commissions, bonuses, profit sharing, deferred compensation, and severance pay;
2. Income from overtime and second jobs that occur on a regular basis;
3. Spousal Support;
4. Investment and interest income (including dividends);
5. Pension income;
6. Trust or estate income;
7. Annuities;
8. Capital gains, unless nonrecurring;
9. Social security benefits received by the party;
10. Veteran’s benefits, Military benefits (BAQ, BAS, VHA, BAF, etc.) and COLA;
11. National guard and reserve drill pay;
12. Benefits received in place of earned income, including workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, strike pay, and disability insurance benefits;
13. Monetary gifts, lottery and gambling winnings that are continuous;
14. Income from contractual agreements;
15. Income from self-employment, including rent, royalties, and other benefits allocated to an individual for a business or undertaking in the
form of a proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, close corporation, agency, or independent contractor (see Paragraph E below); and
16. Fringe benefits, including use of company car, free housing, and reimbursed expenses which reduce personal living expenses.

INCOME DOES NOT INCLUDE any benefits received from a needs-based public assistance program, including but not limited to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, Section 8 Housing Allowances, General Assistance Grants, Pell Grants, and benefits received from the Jobs Training Partnership Act or WIC.

ASSETS FOR PAYMENT OF SUPPORT may be applied when a parent has inadequate income to meet his/her child support obligation. If the parent owns assets, he/she may be required to convert all or some portion of said assets to cash for payment of support. Cleveland vs.
Cleveland, 1 Haw. App. 7 (1980).

SELF-EMPLOYED individuals must report gross income minus ordinary and necessary business/operating expenses, including a reasonable amount for ordinary wear and tear of capital assets and minus one-half of self-employment taxes (refer to tax returns). The court or administrative hearing officer will determine what (if any) depreciation (1) may be subtracted.

The Income Table reduces gross income to net income by subtracting state and federal taxes for filing single claiming one exemption, Social
Security (FICA) at 7.65%, and $633 (poverty income).

The self-employed individual pays an additional self-employment tax which is nearly equal to the 7.65% FICA usually contributed by the employer. For self-employed individuals with income under $10,150 per month, use the table for net income and then subtract of the self-employment tax (from tax returns) which is not reflected in the income table.

IMPUTED INCOME may be used when a parent is not employed full-time or is employed below full earning capacity. The reasons for this limitation must be considered.

If a parent’s income is limited in order to care for the child(ren) to whom the parties owe a joint legal responsibility, at least one of whom is younger than 3 years old, then no additional income will be imputed to that parent.

If a parent’s income is limited for any other reason, the parent’s income will be determined according to his or her income capacity in the local job market, considering both the reasonable needs of the child(ren) and the reasonable work aspirations of the parent.

If any custodial parent (with a child more than 3 years old) who is mentally and physically able to work, remains at home and does not work, no less than thirty (30) hours of weekly earning at the minimum wage may be imputed to that parent’s income. HRS Section 576D-7(a)(9), Cleveland vs. Cleveland, 1 Haw. App. 187 (1980); Saromines vs. Saromines, 3 Haw. App. 20 (1982).

EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES presented to the Court or Hearings Officer may warrant a departure from the guidelines’ computation. If you believe exceptional circumstances apply to your case, complete the Exceptional Circumstance Declaration form that can be obtained from your county court house.

The Court or hearing officer may order child support which deviates (varies) from the Guidelines only if exceptional circumstances warrant
such deviation, pursuant to HRS Sections 576D-7 and 576E-15.

In such cases, the court or hearings officer shall make oral findings of fact on the record at the hearing or prepare written findings of fact regarding the exceptional circumstances.

Although it is impossible to predict all exceptional circumstances that warrant departure, the following examples provide some guidance:

Payments to or for the benefit of the subject child or the subject child’s other parent where obligated by law, including extraordinary medical needs.

Extraordinary needs of the subject child or the subject child’s other parent, e.g., special educational and/or housing needs for a physically or emotionally disabled child.

Other child support obligations of a parent that render him/her unable to pay the Guideline’s level of child support for the subject child(ren).

A monthly income that would result in a computation higher than the children’s reasonable needs.

Private education expenses are considered as part of SOLA unless such expenses are so extraordinary that SOLA cannot adequately cover these expenses or if the child has been in private school with the agreement of the parties prior to separation.

Ordinarily, the existence of heavy debts will not constitute exceptional circumstances.

Total monthly child support obligation is greater than 70% of the parent’s net income.

MINIMUM CHILD SUPPORT is $50 per month per child.

CHILD SUPPORT WILL BE DIVIDED EQUALLY PER CHILD. For example child support for 3 children is $300 per month. The award of child support is $100 per month per child for a total of $300.