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Halling & Cayo, S.C.

Southeastern Wisconsin Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction Lawyers

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is a court order prohibiting a person from having any contact whatsoever with another person until an Injunction hearing can be held in front of a judge or court commissioner.

Prohibited contact includes the following:

  • In person
  • With the person’s residence, place of employment, or any other location temporarily occupied by the person
  • In writing
  • By telephone, text, email, tweet, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or by any other electronic device or social media platform
  • Through any third party
  • By any other means

Once a petition is filed, an on-duty judge or court commissioner will review the petition while the petitioner waits.  The judge or court commissioner may grant the request for a TRO if, based on the allegations contained in the petition, he or she believes there are reasonable grounds to believe that, depending on the type of petition filed, harassment, domestic abuse, or child abuse has occurred or may occur in the future, or that an adult individual at risk has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing, abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.

If the petition is granted, the TRO lasts for no more than 14 days or until an Injunction hearing is held.  If the petition is denied, the petitioner is still entitled to an injunction hearing within 14 days, so time is of the essence in retaining experienced, respected, and effective counsel.

An injunction hearing is a court trial.  It is a contested, evidentiary hearing, at which the petitioner has the burden of convincing a judge or court commissioner by clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has engaged in, or may engage in, domestic abuse, harassment, or child abuse, or that an individual at risk is experiencing, has experienced, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation, depending on the type of petition filed.

If you are representing yourself at an Injunction hearing, you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage, particularly if the other party is represented.  Even if the other party is unrepresented, however, your failure to have an experienced lawyer representing you means that you will not be able to present key elements of your petition or defense in the most effective and convincing manner.

An experienced attorney can help the petitioner meet his or her burden of proof by eliciting clear, compelling, and concise testimony through direct examination, by properly submitting important demonstrative evidence in the form of photographs, emails, texts, videos, and other useful exhibits, and through effective cross-examination of the opposing party.  

An experienced attorney is also essential in defending a respondent against harmful allegations of abuse, harassment, neglect, and financial exploitation.  A competent attorney is able to poke holes in the petitioner’s case through careful and thorough cross-examination, the submission of key exhibits, and a well-prepared, methodical direct examination.

Attorney Ryan Harrington is happy to speak with you and provide you with a free telephonic consultation to explain your options and answer any questions that you may have about the TRO process and what to expect in your case.

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Domestic Abuse

Who can file a petition for a Domestic Abuse Restraining Order?

  • A spouse, parent, adult child, or other person related by blood or adoption
  • A current or former member of the household, such as a roommate or live-in nanny
  • A former spouse
  • An individual with whom the party has a child in common
  • A person with whom a party has, or has had, a dating, romantic, or intimate social relationship.  This does not include other casual or business-related relationships.
  • An adult guardian of an incompetent individual may file for a petitioner if the petitioner and respondent have one of the above relationships

What is ‘Domestic Abuse’?

Domestic Abuse is defined as

  • Any intentional infliction of physical pain, physical injury, or illness
  • Any intentional impairment of the petitioner’s physical condition
  • Damage to personal property
  • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse without consent

How long can a judge or court commissioner impose a Domestic Abuse Injunction?

The injunction can be for up to 4 years, but it may be as long as 10 years if a commissioner or judge finds that there is a substantial risk of homicide or sexual assault.

For more information, and to learn what to expect for your TRO case, contact Halling & Cayo with any questions about your case.

Harassment

What qualifies as “Harassment”?

  • Striking, shoving, kicking, or subjecting a person to unwanted physical contact
  • Attempting or threatening to do any of the above
  • Engaging in a repeated course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts that harass or intimidate a person and which serve no legitimate purpose
  • Physical abuse, sexual abuse or assault, or stalking as defined in §940.32, Wis. Stats.

How long can a judge or court commissioner impose a Harassment Injunction?

The injunction can be for up to 4 years.

For more information, and to learn what to expect for your TRO case, contact Halling & Cayo with any questions about your case.

Child Abuse in Southeast Wisconsin

Who can file a petition for a Child Abuse Restraining Order?

  • The alleged child victim
  • A parent, step-parent, or legal guardian of the alleged child victim
  • A Guardian ad Litem, if a proceeding is brought alleging the child to be in need of protection or services (CHIPS)
  • Any party to or any governmental or social agency involved in the proceeding, if a proceeding is brought alleging the child to be in need of protection or services (CHIPS)

What qualifies as “Child Abuse”?

  • Physical injury inflicted on a child other than by accidental means;
  • Serious physical harm inflicted on an unborn child or the risk of serious harm to the child when born caused by the habitual lack of self-control of the expectant mother in the use of alcohol, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree;
  • Causing a child to expose or exposing genitals or pubic area to a child
  • Sexual intercourse or sexual contact
  • Child enticement or exploitation under 948.05, Wis.Stats.;
  • Permitting, allowing or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution;
  • Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity;
  • Manufacturing methamphetamine with a child physically present, on the premises, in a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child’s home where the child can smell, hear or see the manufacture, or under any other circumstance in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child; OR
  • Emotional damage for which the child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

Will a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) be appointed for the alleged child victim?

Most likely, yes.  The court on its own motion or on the motion of any party may order that a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) be appointed for the child victim. The court must appoint a GAL, if the respondent is a parent of the child victim. The GAL shall represent the best interests of the child and shall make a recommendation to the court as to whether the issuance of the order is in the child’s best interests.  However, the court is neither obligated nor legally bound to follow the GAL’s recommendation.

Individuals at Risk

An “Individual at Risk” is one of the following

  • An adult who has a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs his or her ability to care for his or her needs and who has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing, abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation
  • An adult who is 60 or older who has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing, abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.

Who may petition for an Individual at Risk Restraining Order?

  • Any person acting on behalf of an individual at risk
  • An elder-adult-at-risk agency or an adult-at-risk agency.

If someone other than the victim is seeking the restraining order, however, the petitioner must give notice to the individual on whose behalf the restraining order is sought, and the court must appoint a GAL to independently investigate and report to the court whether the issuance of an injunction order is in the individual’s best interests.

What must be alleged in a petition for an Individual at Risk Restraining Order?

Any of the following:

  • The respondent has interfered with, or based on prior conduct of respondent, the respondent may interfere with, an investigation of the individual at risk, the delivery of protective services to the individual at risk, the delivery of protective placement, or the delivery of services to an elder adult at risk
  • The interference complained of, if continued, would make it difficult to determine whether abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect has occurred, is occurring, or may recur
  • Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, treatment without consent, unreasonable confinement or restraint, financial exploitation, neglect, harassment, or stalking of an individual at risk or the mistreatment of an animal/pet belonging to the individual at risk.