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Legal Information: Michigan

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of March 27, 2024

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?

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.

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 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 follow (comply with) 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?

The law says there is no fee to get the forms for a PPO.1 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 a county charges you to apply for a PPO, you can contact a local legal services organization to advocate on your behalf so you will not have to pay any fee.

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. 

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)

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)