How to get a restraining order in Wisconsin

Once “Temporary Restraining Orders,” also known as a TROs, are filed, a Commissioner decides whether there is probable cause for the TROs to be granted. If it is granted, the Respondent cannot have any contact with the Petitioner during the time the parties are waiting for their hearing.

The parties will receive a hearing date within 14 days. The first hearing is called an injunction hearing. At the injunction hearing, both the Petitioner and Respondent must appear, and the Commissioner will hear evidence from both sides to determine whether an injunction should be granted. They will base their decision on the facts given in the written petition. An injunction may be issued for up to four years, or it can be dismissed.

As many people have shared, it is incredibly valuable to have a knowledgeable attorney supporting you throughout this process. Be sure to visit Renier Hotopp Law Offices, LLC’s testimonials page for a deeper look at what we can provide for you.

FAQs about Restraining Orders

How long does it take to get a temporary restraining order?

A TRO can be obtained nearly instantly if the judge or court commissioner who reviews your petition believes s/he has reasonable grounds to grant it. The injunction hearing to extend the TRO to a permanent injunction must be held within 14 days of the filing of the Petition, unless the time is extended for an additional 14 days by the court upon on written consent of both parties, if a new judge is requested, or if the respondent was unable to be served.

What if I disagree with the Commissioner’s decision?

If the first hearing is held before a court commissioner, both the Petitioner and Respondent have the option to request a “de novo review,” or new hearing before the judge. Regardless of whether the Commissioner grants or dismisses the injunction, the non-prevailing party has a certain number of days (depending on the county) to request a de novo review by filing a request with the Court. After the request for a de novo hearing is filed, a new hearing will be set, and if the commissioner initially granted the restraining order, it remains in effect until the date of the de novo hearing.

Do you need an attorney for a restraining order?

If you’re in a situation where you feel unsafe and need a sense of security, obtaining a restraining order can provide you with the protection you need while you and your attorney work on your case. In the context of divorce, dealing with a violent partner can significantly complicate an already challenging process, particularly if you’re facing abuse from a spouse or an ex-partner who makes you uneasy. While an attorney is not a legal requirement to file a restraining order, we always highly recommend getting in touch with an attorney during this difficult time. The last thing you want is for your order to be rejected on technicalities or missed paperwork. 

Types of restraining orders in Wisconsin:


A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) may be issued when a Petition for a restraining order is filed if a judge or court commissioner determines there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has committed harassment or domestic abuse, based on the specific restraining order sought. It’s crucial to understand that the issuance of a TRO occurs ex parte, meaning it is granted without a hearing and relies solely on the allegations presented by the petitioner in the Petition.

Domestic Abuse Restraining Orders

On the other hand, a Domestic Abuse Restraining Order requires the Court to believe that the respondent has engaged in or might engage in domestic abuse against the petitioner. This involves any conduct by an adult family or household member, caregiver, former spouse, dating partner, or co-parent that inflicts physical pain, injury, or impairment. It also covers sexual assault, stalking, property damage targeting the victim’s belongings, or threats to perform such actions, as per Wis. Stat. §813.12 (1) (am).

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

To issue a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, the Court needs to find reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has harassed or intimidated the petitioner with intent. Harassment encompasses various actions as outlined in Wis. Stat. §813.12 (1), including physical contact like striking or shoving, child abuse, sexual assault, stalking, or threats to commit these acts. It also includes repeated acts or conduct that intimidates or harasses another person without any legitimate purpose.

Renier Hotopp Law Offices, LLC Are Here for You

We understand that involvement with a restraining order can be stressful. Our family law firm handles all aspects of Wisconsin restraining orders, including filing the correct paperwork, guiding you through the process and representing you at your hearing. Whatever your circumstances are, we are here to represent you in restraining order matters. Please submit our online form, call (262) 977-7717 or email: [email protected] for a consultation.