How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Hawaii

Learn how to calculate child support in Hawaii, when the amount of support may be different than what’s calculated under the state’s guidelines, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , J.D. · University of Missouri School of Law

How to Use the Hawaii Child Support Calculator

To calculate the amount of support under Hawaii's current child support guidelines, you can use the official Hawaii Child Support Calculator, which the court provides as a fillable Excel Spreadsheet. You'll need to download the Excel Spreadsheet to complete the fields, and the spreadsheet will calculate the amount of child support to create a child support worksheet. This worksheet will be one of the forms that you'll submit to the court along with your divorce papers and request for child support (more on that below).

You'll need to have some basic information on hand before doing the calculations, including both parents' income, what your physical custody (parenting time) arrangements will be, and your expenses for the child's health insurance coverage and work-related child care. If you're still negotiating issues like custody and alimony, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

Are Other Child Support Calculators Accurate?

Watch out for other websites with so-called child support calculators for Hawaii. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that these calculators are accurate and up-to-date. Hawaii updates its child support guidelines regularly, and you usually can't tell whether any of these other websites have kept up with the latest changes.

It's best to stick with the official state calculator to get the most accurate estimate of the amount of child support you may pay or receive. But notice that word "estimate." As we discuss in this article, the judge may order a different amount in your case. Of course, the accuracy of the child support calculation will also depend on the accuracy of the information you provide.

When Child Support May Be Different Than the Guideline Calculation

Hawaii presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is appropriate, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that using the amount calculated under the guidelines would be warranted because of exceptional circumstances that would make the guidelines unjust or inappropriate. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-52.5, Hawaii Child Support Guidelines § II.B.2 (2024).)

Learn more about how child support works in Hawaii, including factors judges must consider when deviating from the guidelines, what gets counted as income when calculating support, and the adjustments to support that you may use.

How to Apply for Child Support in Hawaii

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Hawaii. You'll include your completed child support worksheet along with the other divorce papers.

If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General. If needed, the CSEA may also help with establishing the child's legal paternity or parentage and locating absent parents.

How to Collect Child Support in Hawaii

The CSEA will collect and process all court-ordered child support payments.

If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the CSEA can also help enforce court-ordered child support. Depending on how much the other parent owes, the agency has several ways of enforcing child support, including withholding support from paychecks, reporting the debt to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, seizing money from bank accounts, placing liens on property (so the delinquent parent can't sell it or borrow money before paying off the debt), and suspending the parent's driver's or other licenses.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

Either parent may request a modification in the amount of child support in Hawaii. Generally, you'll need to demonstrate that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances, such as a parent's involuntary job loss or a change in child custody, and that the proposed modification will be in the child's best interests. If the child support order is more than three years old, you can request a change even without a material change in circumstances. (Hawaii Child Support Guidelines § IV.B (2024).)

You may request a review of your current child support order from the Hawaii CSEA. You also have the option of filing a request directly with the court. But without CSEA assistance, you should consider speaking with a family lawyer.

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