What’s the restraining order process in Wisconsin?

Restraining orders prevent one person from making contact with another. Restraining orders can also be used to make one person move out of a home when it’s alleged that threatening, stalking, or harassing behavior has occurred between two inhabitants. The Wisconsin Department of Justice explains the process of obtaining a restraining order in the state. 

The first step to obtaining a restraining order is to petition for a temporary order. Temporary restraining orders are in place until the official hearing can be held. This is usually a 14-day period, during which time the subject of the restraining order, also known as the respondent, is ordered to remain a certain distance from the person who filed the restraining order. This person is referred to as the petitioner by the court. 

The petition will contain important information about the alleged behavior. For example, a person may provide dates where incidents took place, witness testimony, or any other evidence to strengthen their case against the respondent. The court considers this information and makes a determination on whether to issues the temporary restraining order. If so, the hearing will be scheduled. Injunction hearings are used to establish the final order of protection if the court agrees one is warranted. 

If the evidence is considered viable and the court approves the final order of protection, the court will then make a decision on how long the protection order should be in place. This decision is typically based on the behavior that occurred leading up to the petition. If the issue involved child abuse, orders of protection can last up to two years. In other instances, orders of protection may be extended to four years. This is often the case with domestic abuse or harassment charges.