I mentioned in an earlier post that I began reading this book after realizing how little I knew procedurally about setting up an adoption. For the tweedledum and tweedledee lawyer who hasn’t a clue how to go about with an adoption in Hawaii, this is where you start.

Most helpful was the references to the Hawaii Revised Statute section 578, which gives the law regarding adoption. I say helpful, since I don’t happen to have a westlaw or lexis research account at this time (that itself is another story…) It lists the kinds of people who can adopt, who must receive notice (such as the “presumed father” and “concerned natural father”), and other useful details that your normal business transactions lawyer would have no clue.

Also useful was a library bank of adoption forms, which are probably outdated by now, in Appendix XI. If and when Family Court moves out to Kapolei, forms such as “Notice of Time and Place of Hearing” will need to be updated as Family Court will no longer be in town. But it is a place to start, after checking that the HRS references and law is still intact and holding, as well as any other things to consider in going about updating the form for current use.

One item that I would say I learned after reading this book was of the unusual status and need to check whether the adopted child is American Indian. This makes me wonder whether there are specific issues to consider when it comes to a Native Hawaiian, and if the Akaka Bill should pass, anything specific adoption-wise when it comes to an adopted child of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Also new to me was the ’10 year old’ getting child’s own input discussion. I’m not sure whether this is still the law, as my recollection from family law class was that they base it on whether the child is capable of stating a preference and not merely age alone. A question, I imagine, for someone with a client, time, money, and need to go look up themselves.

Another useful thing in the book was the types of questions and checklists to look into by the legal support staff to help in doing the filing material, such as the adopting parent’s family background, and other items that will help show the court that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.

If I ever have to do adoptions, I wonder if there is a newer edition of this book (1st Edition, 1984) and where one goes about buying it. The publisher is the Hawaii Institute for Continuing Legal Education. I suppose if I start joining the HSBA sections I’ll start getting the information I need to figure these things out.

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