Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the nation to live -- and also one of the most expensive. Everything from housing to the price of milk can be more expensive than it is on the mainland.
Does the state's cost of living affect the way that residents marry, live and -- quite often -- divorce? Many people think that it does.
Many people can only afford the expense of a mortgage if they have two incomes. The desire for a better standard of living may encourage a lot of people to marry. Some of those marriages, naturally, don't last -- and that can have lasting financial consequences for both parties. In Hawaii:
- Debt may be a large factor in the 5,000 or so marriages that end each year. Financial pressure can drive huge emotional wedges between couples and ultimately kill a marriage.
- Alimony, or spousal support, is very unusual. Fewer than 9 percent of divorces will see an order for spousal support included. Since the cost of living is so high, it's very unusual for only one spouse to work -- which means that both are likely to be self-sufficient after a divorce.
- Divorce often means changing the kids' school -- especially if the children were going to private school. The cost of maintaining two households is simply too much to afford private school as well.
- Both halves of the couple have to adjust to a lower standard of living. Most likely, neither will be able to afford to continue holding onto the marital home, if there is one.
- Custody issues can be harder to deal with. One parent often wants to relocate to the mainland due to financial concerns -- and that can take a financial and emotional toll on the other parent and children. Custody cases can become very complex when parents seek to relocate.
If you're considering a divorce in Honolulu or elsewhere in the state, it's important to consider all of the aspects of your divorce very carefully. Many people try to handle their cases themselves to save money -- but that may just result in bigger problems down the line. Take the time to consult with an attorney before you make any decisions.