Legal Information: Michigan

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 15, 2018

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)