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)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.