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Legal Information: Wisconsin

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

Who is eligible to file for a child abuse restraining order?

The child victim or a parent, step-parent or legal guardian of the child victim may petition the court for a child abuse restraining order.1

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.122(2)

What are the steps for getting a child abuse restraining order?

The steps for getting a child abuse restraining order are similar to the steps for getting a domestic abuse injunction. The forms will be slightly different, so be sure to ask the clerk for the paperwork to file for a child abuse restraining order. You can combine a petition for a child abuse injunction into the same case with a petition for domestic abuse or harassment if the abuser is the same.1 See our WI Download Court Forms page for the forms that you might need.

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.127

Can a child abuse restraining order be extended?

A judge can extend the order based on your statement that the extension is necessary to protect the child victim. The order can only be extended for up to two years or until the child turns 18 years of age, whichever occurs first.1 The judge can extend the order in this way without giving prior notice to the respondent.2

However, there is a possibility that the injunction can be extended for up to five years if you can prove there is a substantial risk that the respondent may commit any of these crimes against the child victim: first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree intentional homicide, sexual assault or sexual assault of a child (sections (1) or (2)).3 If the respondent has been convicted of committing sexual assault  or repeated acts of sexual assault  against the child victim, you may request that the injunction be made permanent.4

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.122(5)(d)(3)
2 Wis. Stat. § 813.122(5)(d)(4)
3 Wis. Stat. § 813.122(5)(dm)(1)
4 Wis. Stat. § 813.122(5)(dm)(1m)


Can the respondent modify or terminate a permanent child abuse restraining order?

If you have a permanent order based on the abuser being convicted of sexual assault against the child victim, the abuser can file a motion to have the order reviewed if the criminal conviction is vacated. The judge is required to change (modify) or remove (vacate) your order if the abuser proves that the conviction was vacated, and the judge will consider all relevant factors when deciding what to do. If your order has been in effect for longer than the maximum amount of time it could have been granted without the sexual assault conviction, the judge will vacate it.1  

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.126(1m)

I was not granted a child abuse restraining order. What are my options?

If you were denied a temporary or final child abuse restraining order, you may file a motion requesting a new (“de novo”) hearing within 30 days. The hearing will then be held within 30 days unless there is a good reason for delaying it further. If the judge issued any temporary order in your case, that order will remain in effect until your motion for a new hearing is resolved.1

If you believe the judge made an error of law by denying you the order, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. You may find a lawyer on our WI Finding a Lawyer page, and you can read about appeals on our File an Appeal page.

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.126(1)