Temporary Restraining Orders


Family Court TROs

The Process

If you’re either a victim of abuse or accused of abuse, a temporary restraining order action may be initiated. Whether initiating an action or defending against a TRO, you’ll be given a court date, at which time a family court judge will determine whether to dismiss or uphold the TRO.

The Standard

Family Court TROs involve those defined as “family or household members” or those in a “dating relationship.” In order to uphold a TRO, a family court judge must find by a preponderance of the evidence that acts of domestic abuse have occurred.

At the Courthouse

At the courthouse, you’ll have to wait for your case to be called. Whether petitioner or respondent, you can introduce evidence to either support or rebut the allegations. You’ll need to follow the Hawaii Rules of Evidence, as well as all courtroom proceedings.

After Court

After Court, you may have an order of protection for or against you. In certain situations, the order can be modified and even dismissed. Violation of the order may also result in criminal proceedings.

District Court TROs

The Process

If you’re either a victim of abuse or accused of abuse, a temporary restraining order action may be initiated. Whether initiating an action or defending against a TRO, you’ll be given a court date, at which time a district court judge will determine whether to dismiss or uphold the TRO.

The Standard

In order to uphold a TRO, a district court judge must find by clear and convincing evidence that acts of abuse have occurred. Also, unlike Family Court TROs, a district court judge may order that the losing party pay the prevailing party’s attorneys fees and costs.

At the Courthouse

At the courthouse, you’ll have to wait for your case to be called. Whether petitioner or respondent, you can introduce evidence to either support or rebut the allegations. You’ll need to follow the Hawaii Rules of Evidence, as well as all courtroom proceedings.

After Court

After Court, you may have an order of protection for or against you. In certain situations, the order can be modified and even dismissed. Violation of the order may also result in criminal proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you are a victim of abuse, you may file a TRO with either the District Court or Family Court. Forms are available on the 2nd Circuit of Hawaii’s Judiciary website. It is very important to make sure you file the TRO in the right court, otherwise it may be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. We can assist you in filing your TRO in either court.

Our goal is always to work efficiently to get you the best result possible without unnecessary expense. Beyond legal fees, there are other unavoidable costs including filing fees, photocopying, postage, delivery fees, and subpoenas.

Make an appointment as soon as possible and start gathering information. Our office will likely need the TRO, if it’s been filed already; any photographic or video evidence to support or rebut the allegations in the TRO; any text messages or other communications involving the parties; and and any other personal relevant documents.

There are significant issues at stake when either proceeding with or defending against a TRO. Many times, a TRO prevents you from going to certain places, sometimes even your own home. Violations of TROs can result in criminal proceedings against you. In District court, if you lose you may have to pay the other side’s attorney fees and costs.

In either District Court or Family Court TROs, there are Petitioners and Respondents. Petitioners are those seeking a TRO, while Respondents are responding and defending against allegations within the TRO itself. Our office represents both Petitioners and Respondents.

You may defend yourself without an attorney at either District Court or Family Court TROs. However, because there are significant issues at stake, as well as the possibility of the outcome of a TRO court hearing leading to other court proceedings, we recommend you seek legal counsel immediately.