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)
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)
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)