WHAT'S THE LAW?
Divorcee needs OK to move with kids
This week marks the first anniversary of the debut of "What's the Law?" To celebrate, we are re-posting a few of our most commonly asked questions:
Q: I am considering a move to the mainland and plan on taking my kids. Even though I have sole custody, my husband says I cannot "just pick up and move with them" without his OK. Is that so?
A: According to Nicole Forelli, Legal Aid-Maui managing attorney, it is a common misunderstanding among parents who have sole legal and/or sole physical custody of their kids that they can "just pick up and move with them." In actuality, if the other parent is not in agreement and has visitation rights, the parent who wants to move needs a court order to do so.
Q: I moved from one apartment to another more than a month ago, and I haven't heard anything from my former landlord about my security deposit. What can I do?
A: From Legal Aid's housing unit: Landlords are required to notify tenants within 14 days of vacating a rental whether they plan to keep the deposit (or part of it) and provide receipts for the deductions, or return the entire deposit (or the part they're not keeping).
If your landlord fails to contact you within 14 days, you can take him to small claims court. If your landlord returns the deposit but you dispute any deductions taken, you can take him to small claims court -- but neither you nor your landlord is allowed to bring an attorney.
Q: I want to file for divorce and am hopeful that it will be over as soon as possible. How long will it take to get my divorce?
A: According to Heather Brown, Legal Aid-Maui staff attorney, it depends on whether you and your spouse agree on all of the issues. If you agree and you bring the papers to court and serve them on your spouse in a timely manner, it can take as little as two months to finalize it. However, if you do not agree or if you are unable to locate your spouse to serve the papers, it can take longer.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.