Step 2: Go to your appointment and fill out your petition with an advocate.
At your appointment, an advocate will help you fill out the paperwork to file for an order for protection and to request a TRO. A petition for a family court order of protection must be in writing and state that either:
- a past act or acts of abuse have happened; or
- threats of abuse or property damage with the intent of causing emotional distress are so strong that it is likely that abuse will happen.1
On the petition, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be called the “respondent.” Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language - words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “threatening,” “choking,” etc. - that fits your specific situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Describe any property damage, hospital visits because of the abuse, and whether the abuser owns or has threatened you with a weapon. Be specific. It may also be important to write any previous court action you have taken against the abuser.
Be sure to write your name and a safe mailing address and phone number. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office (P.O.) box, not a street address. When you have completed the paperwork, the advocate will instruct you to bring the paperwork to the family court in your county.
Note: It may also be useful to bring identifying information about the abuser such as a photo (which may be used in serving the order to respondent); addresses of residence and employment; a description and plate number of the abuser’s car; and information about his/her gun ownership.
If you prefer not to get help with filling out the petition and other paperwork, you can fill it out on your own. The paperwork is available at your local courthouse and online at the Hawaii Judiciary website. You will find links to the forms you will need at our HI Download Court Forms page. For information on the courthouse in your area, please see our HI Courthouse Locations page. However, you may want to consider going to the appropriate support office in your circuit as they can help you through the process and give you advice on safety planning.
1 HRS § 586-3(c)