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If you have a temporary restraining order (TRO) against you in Hawaii and want to get it dismissed or dissolved, this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step. We’ll cover the grounds for dissolution, the forms you need to fill out, how to file your request, what happens at the court hearing, and more.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: you need to file a Motion to Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order in Hawaii Family Court, serve the other party, attend the hearing, and convince the judge there are legal grounds for dissolution such as lack of abuse evidence.

Key factors are meeting notice requirements and providing strong evidence.

Grounds for Dissolving a Temporary Restraining Order

No Reasonable Grounds for Issuing the Order

One of the main reasons a temporary restraining order (TRO) can be dissolved in Hawaii is if there were no reasonable grounds for issuing it in the first place. To get a TRO, the petitioner has to show they would suffer immediate and irreparable injury if it’s not granted.

If the judge later determines this threat didn’t actually exist, they can dissolve the order.

For example, if a petitioner claimed they had evidence their spouse was plotting to harm them but can’t produce anything credible, the order could get thrown out. The respondent’s attorney would file a motion explaining why there’s no justification for restricting the respondent’s liberties.

If the judge agrees, the TRO would no longer be valid.

Order Was Obtained Through Fraud or False Statements

Judges also have the power to dissolve a TRO that was obtained fraudulently, such as through intentional false statements or fabricated evidence. This denies the respondent due process rights.

If a respondent suspects bogus information was given to get the protective order, their lawyer can ask the court to schedule a hearing. The petitioner would have to show up and defend the legitimacy of their claims.

If unable to, or if the respondent can directly disprove them, the order would get canceled.

For example, if a petitioner presented misleading texts or took conversations out of context to show “abuse,” the actual transcript could invalidate the TRO. Deliberately making up abuse that never occurred would also warrant judicial re-examination and dissolution of the restrictive order if proven false.

Order Is No Longer Equitable or Necessary

Courts constantly weigh whether a TRO remains fair and essential over time. As circumstances evolve, an order entered rashly or without full facts may become inequitable or pointless. Hawaii law lets respondents ask for reconsideration based on changes making the terms unwarranted.

Common reasons TROs lose equity or necessity include:

  • The petitioner no longer fears imminent harm from respondent
  • The parties have reached a formal agreement through mediation or negotiations
  • The petitioner consents to dissolving the protections
  • The restrained behavior has ceased or conditions have stabilized

For instance, if a volatile separation triggered the initial request but the parties now get along well in divorce proceedings, continuing the intrusive TRO may go too far. Either side could file to remove restrictions no longer seemed needed per the updated situation.

This appropriately balances liberty interests against protections in a fluid context.

Filing a Motion to Dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order

Complete the Required Forms

To start the process of dissolving a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Hawaii, you must first complete the required court forms. The main form you will need is called a “Motion and Declaration for Order Dissolving Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order”.

This allows you to make your legal arguments why the TRO should be dissolved and provide supporting evidence.

Other forms that may be required depending on your specific situation are an “Affidavit of Service by Mail” to prove you properly served the other party, or a “Notice of Motion” that informs the other party of the hearing details. All state court forms are available online at

File with the Court

After completing the forms, the next vital step is to file them with the court that originally issued the temporary order against you. This is usually done by mailing or submitting the documents in person to the court clerk’s office. Be sure to make copies before filing the originals with the court.

Filing fees in Hawaii typically range between $100-200 depending on the specifics of your request. The court will review your motion and schedule a hearing date, usually within 15-20 days, where you will argue your case before a judge.

Serve the Other Party

Per law, you must properly notify the other party that you have filed a motion to dissolve the restraining order. This is called “service of process”. Common ways to serve them include using a sheriff, process server, mailing them copies, or personally delivering them.

Be sure to serve the documents quickly after filing, and complete an “Affidavit of Service” to file with the court proving service was made. The other party has a right to know about and prepare for the hearing.

If you fail to serve them properly, the judge may delay ruling or deny your motion completely.

The Dissolution Hearing

Arrive Early and Dress Professionally

Attending the TRO dissolution hearing prepared and presenting yourself professionally can influence the judge’s perception. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time for any security screenings and check-in processes.

Reviewing your paperwork and evidence beforehand means you won’t scramble once in the courtroom. How you dress also conveys regard for the proceedings: opt for formal business attire rather than your most casual clothes. Calm and collected body language also makes a positive impression.

Bring All Evidence and Witnesses

The burden lies on you during a TRO dissolution hearing to convince the presiding judge why the temporary order should be dissolved. Provide any documentation that disproves the claims which led to its approval.

Examples can include financial statements, phone logs, signed affidavits from third parties about your whereabouts or past interactions with the petitioner. If you have any witnesses who can directly refute specific accusations, ensure they attend to testify at the appropriate time.

Having persuasive evidence and credible testimonies can be pivotal for the judge’s decision. Review procedures beforehand about the format and when you may present exhibits or question witnesses.

Make Your Case Effectively and Respectfully

When addressing the judge during your allotted time, maintain composure and avoid emotional language, accusations, or direct attacks regarding the petitioner or their motives. Logically outline why upholding the temporary restraining order seems unreasonable or unfair given additional context and facts.

You may refer to precedents in Hawaii where similar orders were reversed. Treat all legal staff, observers, and opposing parties with courtesy.

Brief statements defending your reputation may also help counter harmful impressions planted by accusations. However, the focus should remain on current evidence rather than trying to directly refute every past claim if documentation is unavailable.

Reiterating core arguments with supporting proof in an organized, calm delivery can effectively convince the court. Logical and fact-based persuasion tends to work better than pure emotion or outrage regarding the allegations against you.

Do Don’t
Arrive early and professionally dressed Show up late or underdressed
Have all documentation and witnesses ready Scramble to prepare materials
Speak calmly and respectfully Argue aggressively or attack the petitioner

After the Hearing

If Your Motion Is Granted

If the court rules in your favor and dissolves the temporary restraining order (TRO), you will regain your rights that were previously restricted. For example, you may be able to return home or have contact with the petitioner if that was prohibited under the initial TRO.

Be sure to get a copy of the court order showing that the TRO has been dissolved. Keep this document for your records in case there are any questions later about the status of the TRO. You should also consider next steps such as:

  • Retrieving any personal belongings that you were unable to access while the TRO was in effect
  • Resuming normalized contact and communication with the petitioner, if desired
  • Reviewing the reason why the initial TRO was filed, as dissolving it does not necessarily resolve the underlying conflict or issue

If you have any concerns about safely removing the restrictions from the dissolved TRO, consult an attorney or mediator to help make arrangements for a smooth transition.

If Your Motion Is Denied

If the court denies your request to dissolve the TRO, the restrictions outlined in the current restraining order will remain in full effect. You must continue to comply with the TRO until the listed expiration date passes.

There still may be certain steps you can take if your motion is unsuccessful:

  • Ask the judge or your lawyer to explain the reason for denying the request to dissolve the TRO
  • Consider refiling your motion with supplemental information or documentation that may help demonstrate why removing the TRO is reasonable
  • File an appeal within 30 calendar days to contest the court’s ruling
  • Wait for the current TRO to expire, then assess if pursuing a renewal makes sense for the petitioner

While the TRO remains active, be very cautious about engaging in any activity that could be interpreted as violating its terms. If you need to communicate with the petitioner for practical reasons like child custody or gathering personal property, consult your attorney first to understand how to interact safely and legally given the restraints imposed by the current court order.


Getting a temporary restraining order dissolved in Hawaii involves filing the right paperwork, meeting notice requirements, bringing strong evidence to court, and making an effective case to the judge. Pay close attention to deadlines and procedural details.

With proper justification and a strategic approach, it is possible to succeed in dismissing an unfair or unfounded TRO.

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