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Legal Information: Wisconsin

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

What types of domestic abuse orders are there? How long do they last?

In Wisconsin, there is a two-step process to get a domestic abuse injunction. The process starts by requesting a temporary domestic abuse restraining order.

Temporary domestic abuse restraining order
A temporary restraining order is a court order designed to protect you and your family from immediate danger. It can be granted without the abuser being in court and without his/her knowledge. A temporary order may be granted by a judge or court commissioner if s/he finds reasonable grounds to believe that the abuser committed or may commit domestic abuse against you.1 The temporary restraining order cannot be enforced until the abuser has been served with the order. In general, a temporary order will last until the court hearing for a final order, which will usually be within 14 days. Temporary restraining orders may be extended for two weeks if the abuser cannot be located before your first temporary order expires.2 After the judge has given you a temporary restraining order, a court date will be set for the final injunction hearing. If you did not receive a temporary restraining order, a hearing for a final injunction can be scheduled if you request a court date.3

Final domestic abuse injunctions
An injunction is a court order designed to protect you and your family from domestic abuse in a more permanent way than a temporary restraining order. An injunction can be issued only after the abuser has received notice and has an opportunity to attend a court hearing in front of a judge or court commissioner. At the hearing, you and the abuser will both have a chance to present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. The final injunction can last for the amount of time that you request, up to four years.4 However, there is a possibility that the injunction can last for up to ten years if you can prove there is a substantial risk that the respondent may commit any of these crimes against you: first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree intentional homicide, sexual assault or sexual assault of a child (sections (1) or (2)).5 If the respondent has been convicted of committing sexual assault in the first, second, or third degree (sections (1) to (3)) against you, you may request that the injunction be made permanent.6

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(3)(a)(2)
2 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(3)(c)
3 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(2m)
4 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(4)(c)(1)
5 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(4)(d)(1)
6 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(4)(d)(1m)