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Legal Information: Michigan

Michigan Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another. In Michigan, restraining orders are known as personal protection orders ("PPOs"). Below is information about domestic relationship personal protection orders, non-domestic stalking personal protection orders, non-domestic sexual assault personal protection orders, and moving in and out of Michigan with a PPO.

Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Orders

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.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Michigan?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a domestic relationship personal protection order ("PPO").

A judge can issue a domestic relationship PPO when the judge believes that a current or former spouse, someone with whom you have a child in common, someone you are/were dating, or someone who lives/lived in the same household as you may commit any of the following acts:

  • Entering (unlawfully) onto premises;
  • Assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding you;
  • Threatening to kill or physically injure you;
  • Unlawfully removing minor children from you when you have legal custody of them and removing them is not permitted in the custody or parenting time order;
  • Purchasing or possessing a firearm;
  • Interfering with your efforts to remove your children or personal property from premises that are solely owned or leased by the abuser;
  • Interfering with you at your job or school or acting in a way that harms your job or school relationship or environment;
  • Having access to information in records concerning a minor child of both you and the abuser that will tell the abuser about the address or telephone number of you/your child or about your work address;
  • Committing stalking or aggravated stalking against you (even if s/he is not arrested for those crimes);
  • Injuring, killing, torturing, neglecting (or threatening to injure, kill, torture, or neglect) an animal in which you have an ownership interest, with the intent to cause you mental distress or to exert control over you; or
  • Any other specific act or behavior that interferes with your personal liberty or that causes a reasonable fear of violence.1

1 MCLA 600.2950(1),(4)

What is a domestic relationship PPO and what types are there?

"Domestic relationship personal protection order" is the name Michigan uses for restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.  A domestic relationship personal protection order (PPO) is a civil court order that is designed to stop violent and harassing behavior and to protect you and your family from an abuser. To qualify, you must have a specific relationship with the abuser and s/he must have committed or be likely to commit specific acts -- see What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Michigan? for more information.

When you apply for your PPO, a judge can issue you an ex parte domestic relationship PPO without a full court hearing and without the abuser present.  The judge has to decide whether or not to grant your request for an ex parte order within 24 hours of when you file the petition.2  An ex parte PPO should be issued (and effective) without prior notice to the abuser or his/her attorney if you can clearly show that immediate and irreversible injury, loss, or damage will result from the delay that would be required to notify the abuser or that the notice will itself cause you harm before a PPO can be issued.1  An ex parte domestic relationship PPO is valid for at least 182 days (approximately 6 months).  The abuser can request a hearing to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) the PPO.3  If the judge issues you a PPO after this hearing, it would be called a final domestic relationship PPO.

1 MCLA 600.2950(12)
2 MCR 3.705(A)(1)
3 MCLA 600.2950(13)

What protections can I get in a domestic relationship PPO?

In a domestic relationship personal protection order, a judge may order the abuser to:

  • not go into a specific place;
  • stop assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting or wounding you;
  • stop threatening to kill or physically injure you;
  • not remove minor children from you when you have legal custody of them and removing them is not permitted in the custody or parenting time order;
  • stop stalking you;
  • stop contacting you or harassing you at your workplace, residence, school, child's daycare (you must specifically request these places);
  • not attend school in the same building as you -- but this only applies if you are a minor who has been the victim of sexual assault and you and the abuser are both enrolled in a public or private school (from kindergarten to 12th grade);
  • not buy or have in his/her possession a firearm;
  • not interfere with your efforts to remove your children or personal property from premises that are solely owned or leased by the abuser;
  • not interfere with you at your job or school or act in a way that harms your job or school relationship or environment;
  • not have access to information in records concerning a minor child of both you and the abuser that will tell the abuser about the address or telephone number of you/your child or about your work address;
  • not commit stalking or aggravated stalking against you;
  • not do (or threaten to do) any of the following with the intent to cause you mental distress or to exert control over you: injure, kill, torture, or neglect an animal in which you have an ownership interest; not remove the animal from your possession or take/keep the animal; and
  • not do any other specific act or behavior that interferes with your personal liberty or that causes a reasonable fear of violence.1

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 MCL 600.2950(1)

When 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/her of the PPO, it can be enforced throughout the U.S.1

1 MCLA 600.2950(9)

Who is eligible for a personal protection order

Who can get a domestic relationship personal protection order?

You may be eligible to file a domestic relationship PPO against:

  • your current or former spouse;
  • someone with whom you have a child in common;
  • someone you are dating or used to date; or
  • anyone who lives in your home or has lived in your home.1

If you do not qualify for a domestic relationship PPO, you may qualify for Non-Domestic Stalking Personal Protection Orders or a Non-Domestic Sexual Assault Personal Protection Order

If your children are being abused, you should know that:

  • Unemancipated children are not eligible to file for a domestic relationship PPO against a parent.2
  • A minor can file for a domestic relationship PPO with the help of a "next friend" (an adult who can file on behalf of the minor).3
  • If your child is experiencing abuse but you do not qualify for a domestic relationship PPO, you may want to consider speaking with an advocate at your local domestic violence organization (see MI Advocates and Shelters) and/or talking to a lawyer to understand all options that may be available to you.  Go to our MI Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

 1 MCLA 600.2950(1)
2 MCLA 600.2950(27)(b)
3 MCR 3.703(F)(2)

Can I get a domestic relationship PPO against a same-sex partner?

In Michigan, you may apply for a domestic relationship personal protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get a domestic relationship personal protection order?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Michigan?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

Can a minor get a domestic relationship PPO?

If you are a minor (under 181), you can get a PPO with the assistance of a "next friend." The "next friend" can be a parent or other trusted adult over the age of 18 who will file for the PPO on your behalf. If you are between the ages of 14 - 17, you may be able to appoint a "next friend" to file on your behalf. If you are 13 or younger, then the court will appoint a "next friend" for you.2 However, you cannot get a domestic relationship PPO against your parent (unless you are emancipated).3

You may want to contact the clerk of court in your area or a local domestic violence organization for more information on getting a personal protection order as a minor. Depending on the county, the process or the forms may be different, but the law is the same. For a list of local organizations in your area, please go to MI Advocates and Shelters page. For a list of courthouses, please go to MI Courthouse Locations.

1 MCR 3.702(6)
2 MCR 3.703(F)
3 MCLA § 600.2950(26)(b)

Can I get a domestic relationship PPO against a minor?

It is possible to get a domestic relationship PPO against a minor if you meet all other requirements.1 If the respondent (abuser) is under 18 years old, his/her parent, guardian, or custodian must also be served a copy of the order in addition to serving the minor.2

Note: The criminal consequences that minors under age 17 may face for violating a PPO could be different than the consequences for people age 17 and older.3

1 MCR 3.703(C)
2 MCLA 600.2950(18)
3 See MCLA 600.2950(11)(a)(ii),(23)

Will I have to face the abuser in court to get a PPO?

A judge can issue you an ex parte domestic relationship PPO without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. An ex parte domestic relationship PPO is valid for at least 182 days (approximately six months). Once the PPO is issued, the abuser will be notified that you have an order against him/her.1

The abuser has the right to file a motion to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) the ex parte personal protection order and request a hearing within 14 days of being served with the order (unless s/he has a good reason to extend the time to file the motion).2 If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 14 days3 and you may have to face the abuser at that hearing. (If the abuser is licensed to carry a gun due to his/her job, such as a job in law enforcement, the hearing will take place within five days instead of 14).4 You must attend that hearing if you want to keep your PPO unless the judge gives you permission to appear via video conferencing.5 If you do not appear at the hearing in some way, a judge may take away your PPO.

If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you will probably not have to go back to court. However, you should check with a domestic violence organization or legal resource in your community - the court in your area might have its own rules about this. To find an organization in your area to for legal help please visit MI Advocates and Shelters or MI Finding a Lawyer.

You may have additional court hearings if you want to change or extend your PPO, or if the abuser violates the PPO. The abuser may come to those hearings. See How do I change or extend my domestic relationship PPO?

1 MCL § 600.2950(13)
2 MCL § 600.2950(11)(g),(13)
3 MCL § 600.2950(14)
4 MCR 3.707(A)(2)
5 MCR 3.705(B)(3)

How much does it cost to get a domestic relationship PPO?

There is no fee to get the forms for a PPO1 but it seems that some counties may charge a fee to file the forms in court. Michigan law specifically says that fees cannot be charged to file a motion to modify, terminate, extend, or to enforce a personal protection order if it is violated2 and Michigan law states that a fee cannot be charged to start a civil action for a PPO.3

When it comes to service, the petition and order can be served by anyone who is not a party to the case who is over 18. However, if you want law enforcement to serve it, service of domestic relationship PPO may cost anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 depending on the travel costs associated with locating the respondent.4

1 See MCL § 600.2950b(4)
2 MCR 3.707(D); MCL § 600.2529(1)(e)
3 MCL § 600.2529(1)(a); MCL 3.703(A)
4 See PPO Instructions on Michigan Courts website

Do I need a lawyer?

Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a domestic relationship PPO, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel.  This is especially important if the abuser has a lawyer.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence agencies on the MI Places that Help page. The domestic violence agencies in your area may be able to help you with the forms if you cannot find a lawyer.  In addition, the law allows court staff to help you fill out the forms (if you request it) and to explain the proper way to serve the papers but the law does not require the court staff to do so.1  Your will find contact information for courthouses on the MI Courthouse Locations page.

1 MCLA 600.2950b(4)

Steps for getting a PPO

Step 1: Go to court to get and file the petition.

You can go to the family division of the circuit court to get a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. To find the courthouse in your area, go to MI Courthouse Locations.

You may also get a sample petition online on our MI Download Court Forms page.

At the courthouse, tell the clerk of court that you want to file a petition for a personal protection order. Let the clerk know whether you are filing for a domestic relationship PPO (or a non-domestic PPO). 

Step 2: Fill out the necessary forms.

The clerk will provide you with the forms that you need to file. On the complaint form, you will be the "petitioner" and the abuser will be the "respondent."  You can write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language - words like "slapping," hitting," "grabbing," threatening," "choking," etc. - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific.

Be sure to give a safe mailing address and phone number - and ask to keep your home address confidential if the abuser doesn't know where you live. If you are staying at a shelter, you may want to ask the shelter if they have a Post Office Box that you can use.

If you need assistance filling out the form, you may want to ask the clerk for help. Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you. Another option is to find help through one of the domestic violence agencies or legal organizations listed on our MI Advocates and Shelters page or MI Finding a Lawyer page. You can also find some of the forms you will need from our MI Download Court Forms page.

Note: Remember to bring some form of photo identification of your own (a driver's license or other identification that includes your picture) since you may likely have to show that when you sign your petition in court.  Be sure to sign the forms in front of the court clerk.

Step 3: The "ex parte" hearing

When your case number is called, you will be brought to the judge's chambers for an ex parte hearing.  At this hearing, the judge will read your petition and ask you why you want a PPO. The abuser will not be present for the ex parte hearing.  At the end of this hearing, the judge can grant you an ex parte domestic relationship PPO that will be valid for at least 182 days.1 

If the judge grants an ex parte PPO, the court clerk will give you a copy of the order.  Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct.  If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how you can correct the order before you leave.

An ex parte domestic relationship PPO is enforceable anywhere in Michigan as soon as it is signed by a judge - even before it is served on the abuser.2  However, it may not be enforceable outside of Michigan until the abuser has been served with papers that tell him/her about the PPO. If you plan on leaving Michigan before the abuser has been served, please speak with an advocate at a domestic violence organization in your area to figure out a safety plan.  Go to our MI Advocates and Shelters for organizations near you.

1 MCLA 600.2950(13)
2 MCLA 600.2950(12)

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be "served," or given papers that tell him/her about your domestic relationship PPO.

A police officer, a process server, or another adult must personally serve the respondent with the PPO and other court paperwork. You cannot serve the respondent yourself. The abuser may also be served by certified mail, return receipt requested. The mail must be specifically directed to the abuser (you must include his/her name as the name for delivery and not some other person who lives with the abuser). Check with the clerk to be sure of the proper instructions for service. If the abuser is a minor (under 18), his/her parent, guardian or custodian must also be served either personally or by certified mail.1

In most counties, there is no charge to have the authorities serve the abuser (although some sheriff's offices may charge a fee for service and mileage). You cannot serve the papers on the abuser yourself.

1 MCLA 600.2950(18); Michigan Court's Instructions for Personal Protection Forms

Step 5: The hearing

Unlike many other states, a hearing for a final order isn't automatically scheduled by the judge after you get your ex parte PPO.  The abuser has the right to file a motion to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) the personal protection order and request a hearing within 14 days of being served with the ex parte order (unless s/he has a good reason to extend the time to file the motion).1  If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 14 days unless s/he uses a gun for his/her job - in that case, it would take place within 5 days.2 

You must go to the hearing, if the abuser requests one.  If you do not go to the hearing, a judge might take away your ex parte PPO. See the Preparing your Case section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.  If the abuser requested a hearing, but does not show up, the judge may continue with the hearing without the abuser or s/he may order a new hearing date.

You have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. If you need more time to find a lawyer (especially if you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not), you may ask the judge for a "continuance" to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself.  Go to our MI Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

1 MCLA 600.2950(11)(g),(13)
2 MCLA 600.2950(14)

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Michigan have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

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

Probably not. The law says that courts are prohibited from making available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration of a PPO, the filing of a petition for a PPO, 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.1

1 MCR 3.705(C)

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted a PPO.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your workplace, 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.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

You may also wish to make a safety plan. 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 orders of protection, but some do not and 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 Safety Tips.

What 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. In Michigan, if an abuser violates a domestic relationship personal protection order and is 17-years-old or older, the police can arrest him/her, and if s/he is found guilty of criminal contempt, the judge can sentence the abuser to serve up to 93 days in prison and pay a $500 fine.1 If the abuser is younger than 17-years-old and violates the order, police can take the abuser into custody and s/he may be subject to juvenile proceedings.2 If the police are not involved or do not arrest him/her, you still have the right to go to the Circuit Court and file a motion for criminal contempt (or motion to show cause) against the abuser.3 It may be 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.

1 MCLA 600.2950(11)(a)(i)
2 MCLA 600.2950(11)(a)(ii)
3 Michigan Court Motion and Order to Show Cause for Violating Valid Personal/Foreign Protection Order form.

Can a PPO be changed, terminated or extended?

You can file an ex parte motion to extend your order (without a hearing) by requesting a new expiration date. The motion to extend must be filed with the court that issued the PPO at least three days before the order is set to expire (and the court must act on the motion within three 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.1

You can file a motion to modify (change) or terminate the personal protection order any time after the personal protection order is issued.2 A hearing would be held where both parties can be present and the judge would decide whether or not to grant your request.

There are no fees to file a motion to modify, terminate, or extend a personal protection order.3

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.4

1 MCR 3.707(B)(1)
2 MCR 3.707(A)(1)(a)
3 MCR 3.707(D)
4 MCR 3.707(A)(1)(b)

What happens is I move? Will my PPO still be effective?

Your order is good throughout Michigan and the United States.  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.1  If you do move within the state, it might be a good idea to call the clerk to change your address but be sure to tell the clerk that you need it to be kept confidential if the abuser does not know where you are living.

You may also want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order out of state.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265

What 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.1  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 Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that 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.

1 MCLA 600.2950(7)

Non-Domestic Stalking Personal Protection Orders

A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from someone with whom you do not have a family or household member relationship.

Basic info

Who is eligible for a non-domestic stalking personal protection order?

A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) can be issued based on stalking (including aggravated stalking) or cyberstalking, as defined below, even if it's never reported to the police. (If you have one of the domestic relationships described here, you would file for a domestic relationship PPO instead.)

Stalking is when someone commits harassment against you two or more times and it reasonably causes you to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered ("molested"). Harassment is repeated, unwanted contact that has no valid purpose and that reasonably causes you to suffer emotional harm (distress). It includes, but is not limited to:

  • following you or appearing within your sight;
  • approaching or confronting you in a public place or on private property;
  • appearing at your workplace or home;
  • entering onto, remaining on, or putting an object on property that you own, lease (rent), or that you are currently occupying;
  • contacting you by telephone; or
  • sending you mail, email or text messages.1

Cyberstalking, for the purposes of this PPO, is when the respondent commits the crime of posting or attempting to post messages about you through the Internet, computer, or any other form of electronic communication without your consent; it doesn’t matter if the information posted is true or not true. To qualify for a protection order under this ground, all of the following must be true:

  • The respondent knows or should know that posting the message could cause two or more separate acts of harassment (by anyone) against you.
  • The respondent has the intention of causing someone to act in a way that would terrorize, frighten, intimidate, threaten, harass, or bother ("molest") you and you actually do feel one of those emotions as a result of actions someone committed based on the post.
  • You suffer emotional distress as a result of actions someone committed based on the post.3

Note: Someone who is in prison cannot apply for a stalking personal protection order while incarcerated.4

1 MCL § 750.411h(a)-(e)
2 MCL § 750.411i(2)
3 MCL § 750.411s(1)
4 MCL § 600.2950a(31)

What kinds of non-domestic stalking personal protection orders are there? How long do they last?

A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) can be issued ex parte or after the respondent is notified and a hearing is held.

Temporary ex parte order
When you file for a stalking personal protection order, you could get a temporary ex parte order, which means it is issued without written or oral notice to the respondent or his/her attorney. The judge must make a decision on whether to issue you an ex parte order within 24 hours of when you file the petition. An ex parte personal protection order is only supposed to be issued if the allegations in your complaint clearly show that:

  • immediate and severe injury, loss, or damage will result if you have to wait for the respondent to be notified before you get the order; or
  • notifying the respondent would put you in danger.1

A temporary stalking personal protection order will generally last for at least 182 days (approximately six months) unless the respondent request a hearing and, at that hearing, the judge shortens or dismisses the order. The respondent generally has 14 days from when s/he is served with the order in which s/he can file a motion to modify or dismiss the order and request a hearing. The time to file the motion can be extended beyond 14 days if there is "good cause."2 The hearing will generally be held within 14 days of when the motion was filed, except it will be held within five days if the respondent:

  • has a license to carry a concealed weapon and is required to carry a weapon as a condition of his or her employment;
  • is a police officer sheriff, a deputy sheriff or a member of the Michigan department of state police;
  • is a local corrections officer or a department of corrections employee; or
  • is a federal law enforcement officer who carries a firearm during the normal course of his or her employment.3

Final personal protection order
If there is a hearing on a petition for PPO and the judge issues an order after the hearing, the order will be a final order that can last for any length of time ordered by the judge.

You may also be able to extend your order. See Can my non-domestic stalking PPO be extended?

1 MCL § 600.2950a(12); see also MCR 3.705(A)(1)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(13)
3 MCL § 600.2950a(14); see also MCR 3.707(A)(2)

What protections can I get in a non-domestic stalking personal protection order?

In an ex parte or final non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO), the judge can order the respondent not to:

  • follow you or appear within your sight;
  • appear at your home or workplace;
  • approach or confront you in a public place or on private property;
  • enter onto or remain on property that is owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • send you mail or other communications (such as email);
  • contact you by telephone;
  • place an object on (or deliver an object to) property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • threaten to kill or physically injure you;
  • attend school in the same building as you -- but this only applies if you are a minor who has been the victim of sexual assault and you and the abuser are both enrolled in a public or private school (from kindergarten to 12th grade);
  • purchase or possess a firearm; and
  • post any messages through the Internet, a computer, or any electronic medium that violates the law against posting messages through an electronic medium without consent.1

1 MCL § 600.2950a(1); see Michigan Courts website, PPO petition form cc380

Getting the order

Can a minor file for an order?

A minor can file for an order. However, a minor cannot get an order against his/her own parent (unless the minor is emancipated).1

1 SeeMCL § 600.2950a(27)(b)

Can I get an order against a minor?

You can file for an order against a minor who is at least ten years old.1 You would file in the county where you live or where the respondent lives. If the minor does not live in Michigan, you would file in the county where you live.2 However, you cannot get an order against your own minor child (unless s/he is emancipated).1

1 MCL § 600.2950a(27)(a), (27)(c)
2 MCR 3.703(E)(2); MCL 712A.2(h)

How do I file and serve a non-domestic stalking PPO?

Filing
You can file for a non-domestic stalking personal protection order in the family division of circuit court.1 If the respondent is 18 or older, you can file in any county in Michigan, regardless of where you and the respondent live.2 If the respondent is a minor, you can file in the county where either you live or the respondent lives (if s/he does not live in Michigan, you would file in the county where you live).3 The respondent does not have to be arrested or charged with stalking or any other crime to qualify.1 The steps to file may be similar to the steps for getting a domestic relationship PPO. You can find the forms for a non-domestic stalking PPO on our MI Download Court Forms page.

Service
The order can be served upon the respondent in one of the following ways:

  • personally;
  • by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, with delivery restricted to the addressee (respondent) at his/her last known address(es); or
  • by any other method allowed by the Michigan Court Rules.

If the respondent is under 18 years old, his/her parent, guardian, or custodian must also be served in one of the ways listed above.4 If it is not clearly written on the order, you may want to ask the judge how you are supposed to serve the order.

A law enforcement officer or clerk of the court who knows that the order exists can serve the respondent with a copy of the order at any time, including orally "serving" him or her by telling the respondent the following:

  1. the order exists;
  2. the specific terms of the order;
  3. the penalties for violating the order; and
  4. where the respondent can get a copy of the order.4

This type of oral notice (or oral "service") is considered valid service.4 It might happen if, for example, the respondent is pulled over by the police for a traffic stop and while running his/her name through their system, the officer is alerted that there is an un-served order. In addition, oral notice of the order may happen if you call the police due to a violation of the order and when the police arrive, they realize that the respondent has not yet been served. At that point, the officer is supposed to serve the respondent with a true copy of the order or “serve” him/her orally. Then the respondent would be given the chance to comply with (follow) the PPO before s/he can be arrested for violating it.5

1 MCL § 600.2950a(1)
2 MCR 3.703(E)(1)
3 MCR 3.703(E)(2) & MCL 712A.2(h)
4 MCL § 600.2950a(18)
5 MCL § 600.2950a(22)

How much does it cost to file for a non-domestic stalking PPO and to have it served?

There is no fee to get the forms for a PPO1 and there should be no fee to file the PPO; however, it seems that some counties may be charging a fee to file the forms in court. Michigan law specifically says that fees cannot be charged to file a motion to modify, terminate, extend, or to enforce a personal protection order if it is violated2 and Michigan law states that a fee cannot be charged to start a civil action for a PPO.3 Therefore, if your county is charging you to file for a PPO, you may want to connect with a local legal services organization to see if they can advocate on your behalf so that you don't have to pay any filing fees.

When it comes to service, the petition and order can be served by anyone who is not a party to the case who is over 18. However, if you want law enforcement to serve it, service of PPO may cost anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 depending on the travel costs associated with locating the respondent.4

1 See MCLA 600.2950b(4)
2 MCR 3.707(D); MCLA 600.2529(1)(e)
3 MCLA 600.2529(1)(a)
4 See PPO Instructions on Michigan Courts website

Will I have to face the abuser in court to get a PPO?

A judge can issue you an ex parte non-domestic stalking PPO without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. An ex parte non-domestic stalking PPO is valid for at least 182 days (approximately six months).1 Once the PPO is issued, the abuser will be notified that you have an order against him/her.

The abuser has the right to file a motion to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) the ex parte personal protection order and request a hearing within 14 days of being served with the order (unless s/he has a good reason to extend the time to file the motion). If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 14 days1 and you may have to face the abuser at that hearing. (If the abuser is licensed to carry a gun due to his/her job, such as a job in law enforcement, the hearing will take place within five days instead of 14).2 You must attend that hearing if you want to keep your PPO unless the judge gives you permission to appear via video conferencing.3 If you do not appear at the hearing in some way, a judge may take away your PPO.

If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you will probably not have to go back to court. However, you should check with a domestic violence organization or legal resource in your community - the court in your area might have its own rules about this. To find an organization in your area to for legal help please visit MI Advocates and Shelters or MI Finding a Lawyer.

You may have additional court hearings if you want to change or extend your PPO, or if the abuser violates the PPO. The abuser may come to those hearings. See Can my non-domestic stalking PPO be extended?

1 MCL § 600.2950a(13)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(14)
3 MCR 3.705(B)(3)

After an order is in place

Can my non-domestic stalking PPO be extended?

To extend a non-domestic stalking PPO, you can file a motion to extend the order in which you request a new expiration date. The motion must be filed with the court that issued the PPO no later than three days before the order is set to expire. The court must act on the motion within three days after it is filed.1

If you do not file the motion to extend within this timeframe, you may still be able to file a new petition for a new PPO against the respondent and start the process all over again.

1 MCR 3.707(B)(1)

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

Michigan law makes it clear that courts are cannot make available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration, filing, or issuance of a PPO if such publication would be likely to reveal the identity or location of the victim.1

1 MCR 3.705(C)

Non-Domestic Sexual Assault Personal Protection Orders

A non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order (PPO) is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from someone with whom you do not have a family or household member relationship who has committed or threatened sexual assault against you or given obscene materials to a minor.

Basic info

Who is eligible for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order?

A non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order (PPO) can be issued against someone who is not a family or household member who has committed sexual assault against you or threatened sexual assault against you. In addition, a minor may be eligible to apply against someone who gave him/her obscene material. (Note: If you have one of the domestic relationships described here, you would file for a domestic relationship PPO instead.)

You may be eligible to file for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order if any of the following are true:

  • s/he has been convicted of a sexual assault against you;1
  • s/he has subjected you to, threatened you with, or placed you in reasonable fear of sexual assault but has not been convicted for doing so;2
  • s/he has previously been convicted of giving you (if you are a minor) obscene material;1 or
  • s/he has given you (if you are a minor) obscene material but has not been convicted for doing so.2 (Note: Obscene material is defined as written material containing obscene language, or obscene prints, pictures, figures or descriptions that could "corrupt a child’s morals." You can read the full definition on our MI Statutes page).

1 MCL § 600.2950a(2)(a)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(2)(b)

What kinds of non-domestic sexual assault personal protection orders are there? How long do they last?

A non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order (PPO) can be issued ex parte or after the respondent is notified and a hearing is held.

Temporary ex parte order
When you file for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order, you could get a temporary ex parte order, which means it is issued without written or oral notice to the respondent or his/her attorney. The judge must make a decision on whether to issue you an ex parte order within 24 hours of when you file the petition. An ex parte personal protection order is only supposed to be issued if the allegations in your complaint clearly show that:

  • immediate and severe injury, loss, or damage will result if you have to wait for the respondent to be notified before you get the order; or
  • notifying the respondent would put you in danger.1

A temporary non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order will last for at least 182 days (approximately six months) unless the respondent request a hearing and, at that hearing, the judge shortens or dismisses the order. The respondent generally has 14 days from when s/he is served with the order in which s/he can file a motion to modify or dismiss the order and request a hearing. The time to file the motion can be extended beyond 14 days if there is "good cause."2 The hearing will generally be held within 14 days of when the motion was filed, except it will be held within five days if the respondent:

  • has a license to carry a concealed weapon and is required to carry a weapon as a condition of his or her employment;
  • is a police officer sheriff, a deputy sheriff or a member of the Michigan department of state police;
  • is a local corrections officer or a department of corrections employee; or
  • is a federal law enforcement officer who carries a firearm during the normal course of his or her employment.3

Final personal protection order
If there is a hearing on a petition for PPO and the judge issues an order after the hearing, the order will be a final order that can last for any length of time ordered by the judge.

You may also be able to extend your order. See Can my non-domestic sexual assault PPO be extended?

1 MCL § 600.2950a(12); see also MCR 3.705(A)(1)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(13)
3 MCL § 600.2950a(14); see also MCR 3.707(A)(2)

What protections can I get in a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order?

In an ex parte or final non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order, the judge can order the respondent not to:

  • go onto a specific piece of property or into a specific place;
  • threaten to sexually assault, kill, or physically harm you or someone else;
  • attend school in the same building as you -- but this only applies if you are a minor who has been the victim of sexual assault and you and the abuser are both enrolled in a public or private school (from kindergarten to 12th grade);
  • buy or have a firearm;
  • interfere with your efforts to remove your children or personal property from a home or place that is solely owned or leased by the respondent;
  • show up at your home or workplace;
  • interfere with you at your workplace or school or do anything that harms your employment or educational relationships/environment;
  • follow you or come within your sight;
  • approach you or confront you in a public place or on private property;
  • go onto, remain on, place an object on, or deliver an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • contact you by telephone, text message, mail, or email;
  • post any messages through the Internet, a computer, or any electronic medium that violates the law against posting messages through an electronic medium without consent; and
  • do any other specific act or behave in a way that interferes with your personal liberty or that causes you to be in reasonable fear of violence or sexual assault.1

1 MCLA § 600.2950a(2),(3)

Getting the order

Can a minor file for an order?

A minor can file for an order. However, a minor cannot get an order against his/her own parent (unless the minor is emancipated).1

1 See MCL § 600.2950a(27)(b)

Can I get an order against a minor?

You can file for an order against a minor who is at least ten years old.1 You would file in the county where you live or where the respondent lives. If the minor does not live in Michigan, you would file in the county where you live.2 However, you cannot get an order against your own minor child (unless s/he is emancipated).1

1 MCL § 600.2950a(27)(a), (27)(c)
2 MCR 3.703(E)(2); MCL 712A.2(h)

How do I file and serve a non-domestic sexual assault PPO?

Filing
You can file for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order in the family division of circuit court.1 If the respondent is 18 or older, you can file in any county in Michigan, regardless of where you and the respondent live.2 If the respondent is a minor, you can file in the county where either you live or the respondent lives (if s/he does not live in Michigan, you would file in the county where you live).3 The respondent does not have to be arrested or charged with sexual assault or any other crime to qualify.1 The steps to file may be similar to the steps for getting a domestic relationship PPO. You can find the forms for a non-domestic sexual assault PPO on our MI Download Court Forms page.

Service
The order can be served upon the respondent in one of the following ways:

  • personally;
  • by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, with delivery restricted to the addressee (respondent) at his/her last known address(es); or
  • by any other method allowed by the Michigan Court Rules.4

If the respondent is under 18 years old, his/her parent, guardian, or custodian must also be served in one of the ways listed above.4 If it is not clearly written on the order, you may want to ask the judge how you are supposed to serve the order.

A law enforcement officer or clerk of the court who knows that the order exists can serve the respondent with a copy of the order at any time, including orally "serving" him/her by telling the respondent the following:

  1. the order exists;
  2. the specific terms of the order;
  3. the penalties for violating the order; and
  4. where the respondent can get a copy of the order.4

This type of oral notice (or oral "service") is considered valid service.4 It might happen if, for example, the respondent is pulled over by the police for a traffic stop and while running his/her name through their system, the officer is alerted that there is an un-served order. In addition, oral notice of the order may happen if you call the police due to a violation of the order and when the police arrive, they realize that the respondent has not yet been served. At that point, the officer is supposed to serve the respondent with a true copy of the order or “serve” him/her orally. Then the respondent would be given the chance to comply with (follow) the PPO before s/he can be arrested for violating it.5

1 MCL § 600.2950a(1)
2 MCR 3.703(E)(1)
3 MCR 3.703(E)(2) & MCL 712A.2(h)
4 MCL § 600.2950a(18)
5 MCL § 600.2950a(22)

How much does it cost to file for and serve a non-domestic sexual assault PPO?

There is no fee to get the forms for a PPO1 but it seems that some counties may charge a fee to file the forms in court. Michigan law specifically says that fees cannot be charged to file a motion to modify, terminate, extend, or to enforce a personal protection order if it is violated2 and Michigan law states that a fee cannot be charged to start a civil action for a PPO3 (but as of 2017, some counties are still charging to file a PPO).

When it comes to service, the petition and order can be served by anyone who is not a party to the case who is over 18. However, if you want law enforcement to serve it, service of PPO may cost anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 depending on the travel costs associated with locating the respondent.4

1 See MCL § 600.2950b(4)
2 MCR 3.707(D); MCL § 600.2529(1)(e)
3 MCL § 600.2529(1)(a); MCR 3.703(A)
4 See PPO Instructions on Michigan Courts website

Will I have to face the abuser in court to get a PPO?

A judge can issue you an ex parte non-domestic sexual assault PPO without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. An ex parte non-domestic sexual assault PPO is valid for at least 182 days (approximately six months).1 Once the PPO is issued, the abuser will be notified that you have an order against him/her.

The abuser has the right to file a motion to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) the ex parte personal protection order and request a hearing within 14 days of being served with the order (unless s/he has a good reason to extend the time to file the motion). If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 14 days1 and you may have to face the abuser at that hearing. (If the abuser is licensed to carry a gun due to his/her job, such as a job in law enforcement, the hearing will take place within five days instead of 14).2 You must attend that hearing if you want to keep your PPO unless the judge gives you permission to appear via video conferencing.3 If you do not appear at the hearing in some way, a judge may take away your PPO.

If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you will probably not have to go back to court. However, you should check with a domestic violence organization or legal resource in your community - the court in your area might have its own rules about this. To find an organization in your area to for legal help please visit MI Advocates and Shelters or MI Finding a Lawyer.

You may have additional court hearings if you want to change or extend your PPO, or if the abuser violates the PPO. The abuser may come to those hearings. See Can my non-domestic sexual assault PPO be extended?

1 MCL § 600.2950a(13)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(14)
3 MCR 3.705(B)(3)

After an order is in place

Can my non-domestic sexual assault PPO be extended?

To extend a non-domestic sexual assault PPO, you can file a motion to extend the order in which you will request a new expiration date. The motion must be filed with the court that issued the PPO no later than three days before the order is to expire. The court must act on the motion within three days after it is filed.1

If you do not file the motion to extend within this timeframe, you may still be able to file a new petition for a new PPO against the respondent and start the process all over again.

1 MCR 3.707(B)(1)

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

Michigan law makes it clear that courts are cannot make available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration, filing, or issuance of a PPO if such publication would be likely to reveal the identity or location of the victim.1

1 MCR 3.705(C)

Moving to Another State with a Personal Protection Order

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your Michigan personal protection order is still enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my personal protection order from Michigan enforced in another state?

If you have a valid Michigan PPO that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid PPOs granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my PPO is good under federal law? to find out if your PPO qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state PPOs in the same way it enforces its own orders, which means if the abuser violates your out-of-state PPO, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by "full faith and credit." To make this even clearer, every Michigan PPO says that the order is enforceable in any state as long as the defendant has been notified of the order.1

1 MCL § 600.2950(11)(b)

How do I know if my PPO is good under federal law?

A PPO is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    •  In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have a temporary ex parte order. Can it be enforced in another state?

An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my PPO is good under federal law?1

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

Getting your PPO enforced in another state

How do I get my PPO enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your personal protection order (PPO) enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid PPO is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your PPO with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need anything special to get my PPO enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your PPO. A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Michigan, a certified order has a court seal on it and either the judge’s original signature or a stamp of the judge’s signature along with a “true copy” stamp.

The copies you originally received should have been certified copies.1 If your copy is not a certified copy, you can go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. There is usually no fee or a minimal fee for certified copies of orders.

1 MCL § 600.2950(15)(b)

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your PPO enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state to which you move. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your PPO, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help page.

Do I need to tell the court in Michigan if I move?

You are not required to tell the court in Michigan if you move. However, it might be a good idea to give the court a current address so that you can be notified of any actions that are taken regarding your PPO.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my PPO. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Whether or not you can relocate your kids out of the state may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your PPO. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws and who can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance on our MI Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my PPO. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a PPO can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 USC § 2266

Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in Michigan

If you are planning to move to Michigan or are going to be in Michigan for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Michigan

Can I get my protection order enforced in Michigan? What are the requirements?

Your protection order can be enforced in Michigan as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a), (b)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Michigan?

Generally, only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will usually have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Michigan, you may be able to get a new one issued in Michigan but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Michigan. To find out more information on how to get a personal protection order (PPO) in Michigan, visit our MI Restraining Orders page.

I was granted temporary custody with my PPO. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in MI?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Michigan can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here MI Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Registering your out-of-state order in Michigan

If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

How do I register my protection order in Michigan?

There is currently no uniform procedure for registering an out-of-state order in a Michigan courthouse unless the abuser has violated the order while you have been in Michigan. If the abuser has violated the order, you can file a motion and order to show cause for violating a foreign order and the court will start a new case and hold a violation hearing.

However, it is possible that a specific county may have its own registration process. To find out more about registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Michigan for assistance or your local courthouse. You can find contact information for domestic violence organizations in your area here on our MI Advocates and Shelters page and for courthouses on our MI Courthouse Locations page.

Do I have to register my protection order in Michigan in order to get it enforced?

No. Michigan state law gives full protection to an out-of-state ("foreign") protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.1 It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Michigan police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.2

1 Mich. Laws §§ 600.2950j(1); 600.2950l(3)
2 Mich. Laws § 600.2950l(4)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1 However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to. It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living. We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page. You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our MI Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

The law is clear that there can be no fee charged to register a custody order from another state in a Michigan courthouse1 but there is not a similar law that specifically says that no fee can be charged to register a foreign protection order in a Michigan courthouse. You may want to call the clerk at the courthouse to see if there is a fee or not. Go to our MI Courthouse Locations page for contact information.

1 MCR 3.214(D)

If I don't register my protection order, will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order for it to be enforced. However, if your order is not entered into the state registry and you do not have a copy of it with you, a Michigan law enforcement officer will have to try to verify the order in some other way (such as contacting the state that gave you the order).1 This process can take time, meaning it might take longer to have your order enforced, and if the official cannot verify your order, it might not be enforced.2

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Michigan. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in MI, go to our MI Advocates and Shelters page.

1 MCL § 600.2950l(5)
2 MCL § 600.2950l(7)