Temporary Restraining Order/Injunction Information

The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service 800-362-9082 for additional assistance.


Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) - a term used in Wisconsin law to refer to a restraining order that only lasts for a short period of time, generally less than two weeks. A temporary restraining order is a temporary civil court order that orders one person to avoid having contact or certain kinds of contact with another person. Temporary restraining orders are different from bail or bond conditions, probation rules, or a 72-hour no contact as condition of arrest order. You do NOT need an attorney-Wisconsin law allows you to seek a restraining order without a lawyer's help. Many people feel more comfortable hiring an attorney, especially if there are concurrent criminal or family law cases that stem from the abuse.

Injunction - a term used in Wisconsin law to refer to a restraining order that lasts for a longer period of time, as compared to the temporary restraining order. An injunction is a final civil court order of protection that can be granted up to four years, but can last up to 10 years.

Petitioner - the person seeking protection against harm. The Petitioner is one party in the restraining order case. This person files a petition with the court, which is a document asking the court to issue a restraining order.

Respondent - the person against whom protection is being sought and may be ordered not to contact the Petitioner.

Petition - a written statement of facts by the Petitioner asking the court to issue a restraining order.

Service of Process - a legal term used to describe the act of giving notice of a lawsuit or court hearing to another person.

Proof of Service - a document filed with the court as evidence to show the legal documents have been successfully delivered on the opposing party or a witness in a lawsuit. This is also termed as return of service or return of process.

Guardian ad Litem - an attorney appointed by the court to represent the interests of minor children, the unborn, or incompetent persons in legal actions.

See Restraining Order Glossary of Terms (PDF) for more information.