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Michigan Family Law Blog

4 Things You Didn't Know About Protective Orders in Michigan

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Sep 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Protective orders in Michigan also get called restraining orders or “personal protection orders” (PPOs). If someone hurts, harasses, threatens, or stalks you, a court can enter an order telling the person to stop. You must convince the judge that you have a reasonable fear for your personal safety or liberty to get a PPO.

Many incidents that can lead to a judge issuing a PPO occur when a romantic relationship like dating, living together, or marriage, is crumbling. During the breakup or divorce and shortly afterward are two additional times of high-risk for these situations.

A Michigan divorce attorney can help you go after a protective order if you meet the statutory requirements for one. Here are four things you didn't know about protective orders in Michigan.

There Are Different Types of Personal Protection Orders in Michigan

Michigan law created three kinds of personal protection orders (PPOs). Each one has different qualifications.

Domestic Relationship PPO

A Domestic Relationship PPO is available for someone with a domestic relationship with the alleged abuser. For the purpose of this type of PPO, a domestic relationship exists with:

  • Your former or current spouse
  • Someone with whom you have a child in common
  • A person with whom you have or have had a romantic (dating) relationship
  • A person with whom you currently live or did in the past.

Nondomestic (Stalking) PPO

If you do not qualify for a domestic relationship PPO based on your involvement with the alleged abuser, you might be able to get a Nondomestic (Stalking) PPO. The defendant must have harassed you at least two times by engaging in contact that you do not want, that has no legitimate purpose, and that causes you to experience reasonable emotional harm or fear.

Cyberstalking can lead to a Nondomestic Stalking PPO. Also, unwanted text messages, phone calls, and going to where you live or work can be the basis for a Nondomestic Stalking PPO.

Nondomestic Sexual Assault

The third type of PPO in Michigan is the Nondomestic Sexual Assault PPO. Sending obscene material to someone under the age of 18 can be sexual assault in our state. Regardless of the victim's age, the judge can issue a Nondomestic Sexual Assault PPO to protect the petitioner from someone who has sexually assaulted the victim or threatened to do so and does not have a domestic relationship with the victim.

Enforcing a PPO

Once the judge signs the PPO, law enforcement officers can enforce the order throughout the state of Michigan. After the defendant gets served with the signed PPO, it is enforceable anywhere in the United States.

Always Have a Copy of the PPO with You

You will have to show law enforcement a copy of the signed PPO and the Proof of Service for them to enforce the order. Make sure that you always have these papers with you wherever you are. Make extra copies and distribute them to anyone who needs to have them, like your workplace and your child's school or daycare.

The Defendant Can Get Arrested Against Your Wishes

Let's say that you and the defendant reconcile, and you no longer feel in fear. Unless you get the judge to modify the PPO, the police can arrest the defendant for violating the terms of the order, even if you consent to the behavior.

Going through a turbulent situation like a divorce, stalking, or another conflict can be stressful. A Michigan divorce attorney can help protect your legal rights and navigate the legal system on your behalf.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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