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Steps to Obtain a Restraining Order

A restraining order is a court order that instructs the respondent not to contact, harm, or harass you, to stay away from you or to move out of the house. A restraining order is a big step, yet very important to acquire if suffering from harassment or in danger of harm by another individual. Remember, it is important to obtain a criminal defense attorney if you are in a domestic abuse situation. You can learn more about the different types here.

In Wisconsin, you can obtain a restraining order through a two-step process. The first step is to seek a temporary restraining order, and the second step is to hold an injunction hearing at a later date.

Step 1

A Temporary restraining order (TRO) is typically used when a person is in immediate danger, typically a domestic violence case. The temporary restraining order lasts until the date of the injunction hearing. It is around fourteen days until a domestic abuse injunction and about seven for other types.

You can obtain these forms at your courthouse, and after they are filled out, you attend an ex parte hearing. A temporary restraining order hearing is called an “ex parte hearing” because only the petitioner is present. The respondent does not have to be present when a TRO is issued.  When granted, law enforcement will serve the TRO on the respondent.


Step 2

On the day of the injunction, the petitioner must appear in court. The restraining order will not be granted unless the petitioner is present. The respondent, on the other hand, has the right to appear. The hearing will continue whether or not the respondent is present, unless they have requested the date to be extended.

The restraining order will be granted if the two parties come to an agreement. If they don’t agree, each side will come forward with their share of the story. Every piece of information and evidence is important, including witnesses, recordings, or past court findings. If this petition meets mandates of the law, the injunction will be granted. Both parties will be informed of the length. If the respondent was not present, he will be served the injunction forms by the law enforcement agency.


If you are in need of a restraining order because of a harassment issue or domestic violence case, it is important to acquire a criminal defense attorney. We receive calls frequently from people who tried to obtain a restraining order, but could not present their case. It’s important to obtain attorneys in these situations because they’re aware of the legal process and the court procedures. Our attorneys at Hart Law Office can assist you in dealing with complex legal matters such as harassment or domestic violence. Situations such as these should not be handled on your own. Contact us for a free consultation.

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