Filing a Personal Protection Order

Steps for Filing a Personal Protection Order in Michigan

Leaving an abusive partner is a difficult first step. Once you’ve left, protecting yourself from this person may still be an issue; many abusers continue to haunt their partners longer after the decision to leave.  Obtaining a personal protection order, known as a PPO, is one way for those facing violence or threats from a domestic partner to find more adequate legal protections. Not only will it mean another layer of protection for you, a record of a PPO may protect other people in vulnerable situations from this person’s violent tendencies. Here’s what you need to do to obtain a PPO against an abusive partner in Michigan.

We will explain the steps, but here at the Women’s Center ,we can help you through the process.

Steps for Obtaining PPOs in MI

The first step for obtaining a PPO is to file a petition with the circuit court clerk. The one in Marquette is located on 234 W. Baraga Avenue, but you can file in any Michigan county. Your petition, which you can download here, should detail the abuse you have suffered at the hands of your partner and how you’ve been emotionally and physically harmed. You are the “petitioner” and the abuser is the “respondent.” When possible, offer dates or time of the year you suffered abuse, threats, or fear. Though police reports or medical evidence are helpful, they aren’t necessary. If you have them, attach them to your PPO petition.

Ex Parte Orders for Immediate Danger

If you are in eminent danger or fear your abuser will try to harm you immediately, ask for an emergency order, called an ex parte order. In these cases, if a judge gives you an ex parte order, you won’t have to wait for a hearing. In these situations, the abuser won’t know you are asking for a PPO until after you have one in hand. Ex parte orders become active as soon as a judge signs them. They are usually valid for six months but must be served to be effective.

For other PPOs where victims aren’t in immediate danger or if a judge needs more information before granting a PPO, there must be a court hearing. This hearing will be within 21 days of your filing the PPO. Before the hearing, you must serve the abuser a notice of the hearing.

How to Serve a PPO

For an ex parte order or a PPO hearing, you must serve your partner notice. The sheriff’s department in Marquette can serve notice for $26 (applications are available for those who can’t afford the fee). You can send the PPO through registered mail, or you can have a friend or adult family member hand the notice to the abuser. Keep in mind, this is not an optional component to obtaining a PPO. If you get a PPO but never serve it, your domestic partner cannot be prosecuted for violating the order.

What Happens After Filing a Protection Order

After you file, a judge will review your petition. If a judge immediately grants your ex parte order, it’s effective immediately, and you just need to serve it. In other cases, a judge may request a hearing or deny your petition for a hearing. Even if you do not receive a PPO, know that the police are there to protect you – call someone for help if an abusive partner is threatening harm or actively pursuing harming you.

If you’ve filed a protection order and the courts have granted it, keep a copy with you. Though it can’t guarantee your safety, it may stop an abuser from:

  • Having access to shared domestic records, like telephone numbers or work addresses
  • Buying a firearm
  • Entering your home or stalking you

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and many orders depend on the situation or the types of abuse.

When to Get a PPO

You may consider obtaining a PPO in preparation for leaving an abusive relationship if you fear this person will continue their abuse after you leave. If you’ve left someone who continues to threaten or abuse you or your children, it’s time to file a PPO. When you need help getting protection from an abuser or getting out of an abusive relationship, talk to one of the counselors at the Women’s Center, available 24/7. We believe in empowering sufferers of domestic abuse and work to make their lives better.

Why You Should Be Shopping At PakRatz

Why You Should Be Shopping At PakRatz


If you haven’t discovered PakRatz ReSale Shop in Marquette yet, you are missing an Upper Michigan gem. Conveniently located near the shores of Lake Superior at 1310 S. Front St, PakRatz features a spacious showroom and ample parking. It is a favorite stop among locals and out-of-towners alike.


PakRatz receives fresh inventory almost daily and is excellent at keeping the merchandise timely – which allows for some awesome end-of-season clearance sales! The best part? All proceeds from PakRatz support the mission of The Women’s Center.


Here’s the kind of gently used items you can expect to find during your visit to PakRatz:


  • Women’s Clothing
  • Men’s Clothing
  • Children’s Clothing
  • Housewares
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Decorative Items
  • Jewelry
  • Accessories
  • Books

…and much more!


They even have a special boutique section for name brand finds. Current Women’s Center board member, JoAnne Garrow, notes she often goes a bit early to board meetings so she can take a peek at what’s new. “I love coats, so I’m often looking for a unique one to buy just before winter,” says Garrow.


When you shop at PakRatz, you are not only getting a good deal, you are supporting your community and a great cause to boot! Revenue generated from the PakRatz Resale Shop is reinvested into The Women’s Center’s endeavors. Shopping and helping make your community a better place — it’s a perfect combination.


For more than 45 years, The Women’s Center has been supporting victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Alger and Marquette counties through programs that:


  • The Women’s Center provides 24/7 acute intervention services. They operate Harbor House, the only safe house of its kind in Marquette and Alger counties. They also provide assistance to women seeking Personal Protection Orders (PPO).


  • Education is provided to victims/survivors regarding their rights and the services available to them. It also educates the public about the prevalence and danger of domestic and sexual violence in our community.


  • Our professionals offer court support and provide judicial officers with information on resources when possible.


  • Trained staff answer questions on our 24/7 call line. Additionally, one-on-one and group counseling is provided by The Women’s Center.


  • The Women’s Center strives to empower all victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our community through education and awareness.


So, the next time you are doing a bit of spring cleaning or looking for a new pair of jeans, stop by PakRatz. They are doing great things!

Staying Strong After Leaving an Abuser

Staying Strong After Leaving an Abuser

Even in the best divorce or separation, it’s often hard for people to get back on their feet. To leave an abusive relationship, you have the same difficulties, coupled with the strength it takes to walk out the door. It’s not easy, especially after your partner has likely pained not just the body but poisoned the mind into believing a lesser version of yourself. At the Women’s Center, we believe in you – not as a victim but as the empowered individual that you are. If you’re having trouble staying strong in your decision to leave an abuser, here are some reminders of how amazing you are. Remember, too, that it takes more courage to leave than to wait for someone to change.

You Are Courageous

People describe others as being brave when they face challenges, but the most brave people are the ones who have lived in fear and overcome that fear. When you decide to walk away from an abusive relationship, you are overcoming fears many people have never had to face – and that takes courage.

You Are Loving

To believe the good of a person who hurts you – long enough to stay in a relationship – is evidence that your heart is loving. Unfortunately, the message from the media, friends, and even family tells those who’ve lived in abusive relationships that they made a mistake by loving someone. Loving someone is not a mistake, though you should never stay with someone who hurts you. What’s crucial to remember is that the abuser is the one who did something wrong, not you.

You Are Empowered

Just by reading this blog, right now, you are arming yourself with the strength you need by finding answers to tough questions. That simple act is helping you discover the next step to take. Those who suffer abuse don’t have to think of themselves as victims; walking out the door to a new life – though terrifying – is empowering.

You Are in Control

Living in an abusive relationship often means giving up control, but if you’ve given it up, know that it’s in your power to take it back. No one has power over you unless you give it to them. Whether you are leaving an abusive partner today or planning to in the future, know that you are in control of you. Whatever power this person thinks they have over you is only temporary and dissolves when you say so.

You Are Ready

A million reasons may pop into your head about why you should stay, but if you’re here, you’re ready to make a change – a change that means no longer living in fear or anxiety. Don’t let those million reasons stop you from acknowledging the most important reason to go – your safety.

For help with the next steps of leaving an abusive relationship or what to do after you’ve already gone, find help from the Women’s Center of Marquette. We believe in empowering victims and survivors. We believe in empowering you.

How to Prep for a Dangerous Days

Despite previous abuse, the day your spouse goes one step too far and puts you or your children in danger, you likely won’t have time to pack up what’s most necessary before walking out the door. If you are worried that your spouse may become too violent for your safety but aren’t ready to leave, consider some small preparations. Just in case an episode gets out of control, these small measures can be a lifeline.

Stay Safe by Planning Ahead

Don’t assume one incident will be the only time a spouse loses control. If your spouse has made you afraid once and you fear another such eventuality, take these precautions ahead of time.

  • Keep a digital record. You may not have time or access to your home to retrieve social security cards, birth certificates, or bank statements. Take photos of these important documents to keep stored on a device. You will eventually need the originals, but, in the meantime, having evidence of these documents as well as their information may be crucial to your next steps.


  • Leave a bag with a friend. Some situations mean you should immediately walk out the door – even the time to snatch a pre-packed bag may be scarce. To avoid the fear of needing to walk out with nothing but the shoes on your feet, prepare a bag with an extra set of car keys, some clothes, cash (if available – but don’t let lack of money keep you in a dangerous relationship), medications, and a prepaid phone. Leave the bag with a trusted friend in case you need to get out fast.


  • Memorize phone numbers. An abusive partner might take your phone, or you may need to leave before you can grab it. Even if you are able to leave with your phone in hand, many smartphones are easily tracible. If you share a phone plan with your partner, access to that technology may be easy for your partner to get. Instead of revealing your location by using your phone, have the phone numbers of at least one friend and the Women’s Center in your head. Our number is 906-226-6611.

If you are actively planning to leave an abusive situation, you may consider further measures to ensure you and your possessions are safe. Slowly packing, stashing away funds, and planning for your next living situation are a few things to consider. Creating a safety plan is a great first step. If you need a computer, consider using the library’s or a friend’s. The personal computer in your home may expose information to your spouse about your plans or your future living arrangements.

Call for Help If You Are Scared of Your Spouse

No one should live in fear. If you are in an abusive relationship, it’s best to get help immediately. However, if danger is a possibility and you haven’t been able to leave, prepare ahead. Take these steps if you have reason to believe your partner might become unexpectedly violent. For more help on next steps when you are ready to leave, contact Marquette’s Women’s Center. Find shelter, counseling, career help, and more when you need it most.

Women’s Center Receives Challenge for Transformational Gift

Women’s Center Receives Challenge for Transformational Gift

The Women’s Center, Inc. announced today a matching gift opportunity that would eliminate the mortgage on the only domestic violence shelter in our area.   Lucy Grove, the organization’s president, said, “Harbor House will be completely paid for when we complete a matching gift offered to us by generous donors who hold the Women’s Center dear to their heart.”

The donors, Rod and Holly Aldrich, will match all gifts in 2018 that are directed to pay off the $507,000 mortgage.  Any pledge of $20,000 or more can be paid in two or more installments though 2019, Grove added.

“Paying off Harbor House will greatly improve our ability to help women, men and children in crisis well into the future,” said Grove.

See entire press release: Women’s Center PR 7-10-18