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Know the Laws: Michigan

UPDATED August 16, 2016

Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Orders

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A domestic relationship personal protection order ("PPO") is a civil order that  provides protection from harm by a family member, household member, someone with whom you have a child in common, or someone you have dated or are dating.

After the hearing

back to topWhen will my PPO go into effect?

As soon as a judge signs a PPO, it can be enforced anywhere in Michigan.  Once the abuser has been served with paperwork notifying him of the PPO, it can be enforced throughout the country.*

* MCLA 600.2950(9)

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back to topWill someone be able to search on the Internet to see that I have a PPO?

Probably not.  A new law that went into effect in September 2014 makes it clear that courts are prohibited from making available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration of, filing of a petition for, or the issuance of PPO if such publication would be likely to publicly reveal the identity or location of the party protected under the order.*

* MCR 3.705(C)

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back to topWhat should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Make several copies of the PPO as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • Take steps to safety plan, including possibly changing your locks, if permitted by law, and your phone number.

Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.   People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.   Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not.  It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe.  Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.

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back to topWhat can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. It can be a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way.  A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court if you file a violation/contempt petition in the court where you got the order to report the violation to the judge. In addition, the police can arrest him/her.  If the police witnessed the violation or have probable cause to believe the violation occurred, they are supposed to arrest him/her.  If the police are not involved or do not arrest him/her or file a criminal complaint against him/her, you still have the right to go to the District Court and take out a criminal complaint against the abuser.  It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

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back to topCan a PPO be changed, terminated or extended?

You can file a motion to modify (change) or terminate the personal protection order and request a hearing at any time after the personal protection order is issued.*  You can file an ex parte motion to extend your order, without a hearing, by requesting a new expiration date. The motion must be filed with the court that issued the PPO at least 3 days before the order is set to expire (and the court must act on the motion within 3 days after it is filed).  However, even if you don't file the motion to extend on time, you may still be able to start a new PPO proceeding against the abuser.**  There are no fees to file a motion to modify, terminate, or extend a personal protection order.***

Note: The respondent (abuser) has the right to file a motion to modify or terminate an ex parte personal protection order or an ex parte order extending a personal protection order within 14 days after being served with, or receiving actual notice of, the order.  If the respondent files any other motion to modify or terminate a personal protection at any other time, s/he must first show that there is "good cause" to do so.****

For any other changes, call the clerk of court to find out how you can include them on your order. You can find this contact information on the MI Courthouse Locations page.

* MCR 3.707(A)(1)(a)
** MCR 3.707(B)(1)
*** MCR 3.707(D)
**** MCR 3.707(A)(1)(b)

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back to topWill my PPO still be valid if I move?

Your domestic relationship PPO can be enforced anywhere you go in Michigan, and anywhere within the United States or its territories. If you move within the state, it may be a good idea to let the law enforcement in your new area know about your order.  To read more about this please visit our Moving to Another State with a PPO page.

Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.  Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area.

If you are moving out of state, you may want to call ta domestic violence program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders.  Go to State and Local Programs and enter your new state for contact information for local domestic violence organizations.

If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order there.

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back to topWhat can I do if a domestic relationship PPO is not issued against the abuser?

If the court refuses to grant a domestic relationship PPO, the judge must state in writing the specific reasons s/he refused to issue a personal protection order.  If a hearing is held, the judge must also immediately state on the record (so that it is in the transcript) the specific reasons s/he refuses to issue a PPO.  If you believe that an error was made in denying you the order, you may want to show the transcript to a lawyer to ask if there are any legal grounds to appeal the decision.  You can read some basic information about appeals on our Filing Appeals page and for legal referrals, you can go to our MI Finding a Lawyer page.

If you are not granted a PPO, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you devise a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. To find a shelter or advocate in your area please visit our MI State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page.

Also, if an additional incident occurs, you may decide to re-apply for a PPO based on the new incident.

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