Hawaii created their Family Courts in 1965 to serve families and children in crisis. Their mission is: “to provide a fair, speedy, economical, and accessible forum for the resolution of matters involving families and children.” Family Courts focus on the three main areas of children, domestic relations and domestic violence. These courts also hear matters involving guardianship and adults who require supervision and care.
Some of the types of cases resolved in Family Court are child delinquency, child abuse, and neglect, termination of parental rights, adoption, detention, and guardianships. In terms of domestic relations cases, Family Court handles paternity, child support, annulment, divorce, visitation, child custody and miscellaneous matters related to adults with children. Family Court is also a forum where abused family members can request help with protective orders, harassment, and stalking. This court fields felony cases where the charges involve offenses against household members.
Each section on the Hawaii State Judiciary website has detailed information for users to get help. On the page detailing Family Court, there are links to fees, information on juvenile cases, instruction on how to get a protective order in place, downloadable forms for each type of case and a link to the biographies of each judge who sits in Family Court. They even have a section all about kids and how to assist them when their parents are going through a divorce. The goal of this website is to make navigating the court process easy for individuals and families and in these types of cases where the subject matter is sensitive, it makes a big difference.
Family Courts average 26,000 new filings per year. Of that total, 4,500 are for marital issues like annulment and divorce. Another 5,388 are for domestic protective orders and abuse, 11,000 are for protection or related to children, and their wellbeing and 3,000 are for criminal offenses.