In re ABAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) and the order of the family court in this case concerning the proper consideration and weight of a hānai relationship in the context of a child welfare proceeding, holding that a hānai relative who is a child's resource caregiver has an interest in that child's custody sufficient to allow intervention in such proceedings under Rule 24(a)(2) of the Hawai'i Family Court Rules.
Child lived with Father and his girlfriend, KL. After Father moved out, Child remained in the same home as KL. The family court later changed Child's placement to her great aunt and uncle's home in New Hampshire. At the hearing changing Child's placement, KL sought to have to have interest in the proceeding recognized. The family court denied the request. The ICA ruled that because KL had filed a petition to adopt Child she had a sufficient interest in Child's custody to intervene. KL sought further review, arguing that her status as a hānai relative conferred a substantive interest in Child's placement. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the family court erred by not allowing KL to intervene in the placement hearing based in part on her status as Child's hānai parent.