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.

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