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A restraining order is a legal document, a court order, that orders someone to stay away from you, stop threatening you, stop harassing you, or orders them to leave the residence you may have shared with them.

What are the different types of restraining orders in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, there are four (4) different types of restraining orders (or orders of protection), including ones for:

  • Harassment
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Child Abuse
  • Individual at Risk

The first two are the most common types of restraining orders in Wisconsin. Harassment orders are appropriate whenever an individual engages in physical conduct, such as kicking, pushing or striking, or repeated acts of harassment or intimidation that serve no purpose. This is a broad category and can encompass a myriad of behaviors.  

Domestic abuse restraining orders are used for a different purpose. These are only available to people in certain relationships. To get one of these orders, the person against whom you are seeking protection must be related by blood or adoption, someone who lives or lived with you, a co-parent, someone who provides in-home or community care for you or a current or ex romantic partner. Behaviors that constitute domestic abuse include intentional infliction of physical pain or injury, intentional damage to property, stalking, sexual assault or a threat to do any of these things.  

Child abuse restraining orders are for children and against an individual who has caused physical injury to the child, trafficking a child, sexual assault or exploitation of a child, neglect or manufacturing methamphetamines when a child is present.  

Lastly, restraining orders are available for individuals at risk. An individual at risk is an adult with a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the ability to care for their own needs or an elder over the age of 60 who is experiencing or is at risk of experiencing any type of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, treatment without consent, harassment or restraint.  

Who can I get a restraining order against in Wisconsin?

Who you may get a restraining order against ultimately depends upon the type of restraining order you get. For domestic abuse protective orders, you must be or have been in some sort of special relationship with the individual against whom you need protection. This can include a spouse, parent, romantic partner or ex. For the other types of restraining orders, you can get a restraining order against any individual who commits one of the prohibited acts.  

How do I file for a restraining order in Wisconsin?

The first step in filing for a restraining order in Wisconsin, is to request a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court. You make this request through a Petition, a document in which you explain to the judge why you need protection from this other person. You would be the Petitioner, and the party from whom you are seeking protection is the Respondent.  

If the judge determines that the person seeking the order is in imminent danger of physical harm and decides to grant the TRO based on the information in your Petition, they will schedule a hearing for you to appear within fourteen (14) days. This hearing is called an ‘injunction hearing’. At this hearing, the judge will hear both parties’ sides of the story and determine whether a permanent restraining order, called an “injunction,” is necessary.  

Can anyone go with me to the hearing?

Every county has a domestic violence agency that is dedicated to assisting individuals through this process. These agencies have several advocates who can not only attend court hearings with you, but can help you file your Petition for a temporary restraining order if necessary.  

How much does a restraining order cost in Wisconsin?

There is no filing fee to file a Petition for an injunction, or restraining order and the sheriff will not charge to serve the papers on the person against whom you seek protection.  

There may, however, be a filing fee associated with filing a Petition for harassment restraining orders. If the Petition does not list any stalking or domestic abuse behaviors in the Petition, the fee will be assessed.  

How long do restraining orders last in Wisconsin?

An injunction, the final and permanent restraining order in Wisconsin, may be granted for a maximum of two (2) years for child abuse and a maximum of four (4) years for domestic abuse, harassment or individual at risk.

What constitutes a restraining order violation in Wisconsin?

Once a restraining order is approved by a Wisconsin judge, the person against whom it is filed will be notified of the terms of the order, including the need to relinquish firearms, stay away from certain locations and discuss the penalties for violating the order.  

To prove a violation of a restraining order, the state must prove that a legal, valid restraining order was in fact issued against the individual accused of violating the order, that this person knew a restraining order was issued in their name, and that the person engaged in prohibited behavior.  

What are the penalties for a restraining order violation in Wisconsin?

Violation of a Wisconsin restraining order is a criminal misdemeanor. A misdemeanor violation can carry fines of up to $10,000 and up to nine (9) months in jail.  

Do I need a lawyer to get a restraining order in Wisconsin?

You do not have to use the services of an attorney to get a restraining order in Wisconsin. However, it is important to understand your rights when you want protection and understand your responsibilities if an order of protection is entered against you. O’Flaherty Law understands the complex process of obtaining a restraining order in Wisconsin. Our lawyers have years of experience in restraining orders. We can prepare you for the expected and unexpected issues that may arise.  

To better understand your rights and obligations, call our office at (630) 324-6666, email, or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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