The report provides a broad, general discussion of issues relating to: child support, including enforcement measures and fatherhood initiatives to assist low-income fathers who are unable to meet their child support obligations; child custody and visitation; and marital property division.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Should Hawaii's child support guidelines be revised?
There is considerable agreement among commentators that child support orders, based upon state guidelines, generally are too low. However, the mandated four-year review process is underway for the Hawaii child support guidelines, with the final report of the review committee due to be completed in 2002. Consequently, the Bureau recommends no action at this time with respect to child support guidelines, pending the outcome of the report by the child support guidelines review committee.
B. There have been a number of complaints by custodial parents and obligors concerning the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) and the CSEA's automatic child support enforcement (KEIKI) system; should changes be made to the CSEA or to its operations?
The Auditor is conducting a comprehensive study of the CSEA's automatic child support enforcement (KEIKI) system, pursuant to section 41 of Act 259, Session Laws of Hawaii 2001, with the final report due to the Legislature prior to the commencement of the 2002 Regular Session. Given the intended comprehensiveness of the Auditor's study, the Bureau believes any recommendations concerning changes to the CSEA or its operations should await the outcome of the study.
C. Should publicly funded fatherhood initiatives be adopted in Hawaii?
A number of jurisdictions appear to be having considerable success with programs focusing on training, employment, and other assistance to low-income fathers who are unable to pay their child support obligations, and support for fatherhood initiatives appears to be building on a national level. At present, public assistance services provided in the State are parent-focused, not gender-biased, pursuant to Act 301, Session Laws of Hawaii 2001. Moreover, Act 301's emphasis on eliminating preferences that favor one parent over the other, may preclude adoption in Hawaii of fatherhood initiatives by state or county agencies. If the Legislature considers adopting fatherhood initiatives, the Bureau recommends that it revisit the language in Act 301 to ensure no conflict exists. Furthermore, if the Legislature is interested in pursuing such initiatives, the Bureau notes that the National Conference of State Legislature's Nurturing
Responsible Families Project provides informed assistance, including free onsite technical assistance, to policymakers in this area, as well as with other relevant issues such as child support, child custody, and visitation.
D. Should the Legislature adopt the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)?
The UCCJEA is a revision of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) of 1968, to achieve conformity with more recent federal statutes and greater uniformity among the varying jurisdictions' custody proceedings and enforcement procedures. The Bureau recommends that the Legislature closely consider enactment of the major provisions of the UCCJEA.