How to File a Restraining Order in Michigan

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A restraining order, known as a personal protection order (PPO) in Michigan, is a court order that requires one individual to cease all communications and other forms of contact with another. They are issued to protect domestic violence victims and would-be victims from harm at the hands of their abusers.

In Michigan, the three types of PPO are:

Read More: What Happens at a Permanent Restraining Order Hearing?

  • Domestic relationship PPO.
  • Non-domestic stalking PPO.
  • Non-domestic sexual assault PPO.

A domestic relationship PPO can protect the petitioner against harm from any person he has dated, is or has been married to, has a child in common with, and currently lives with or has lived with in the past. A non-domestic stalking PPO protects the petitioner from stalking and harassment from an individual with whom he has never had a domestic relationship, and a non-domestic sexual assault PPO protects him from contact with an individual with whom he has never had a domestic relationship and who has either sexually assaulted or threatened to sexually assault him. All types of PPOs are issued by the circuit court of the county where the petitioner resides.

Petition the Circuit Court

The individual who seeks a restraining order Michigan is known as the petitioner. The individual against whom the restraining order is sought is known as the respondent.

In the petition, the petitioner provides all the relevant information about herself and the respondent, such as both parties’ names, addresses and phone numbers. She also provides information about why she is seeking the PPO, and she may provide documents like a photograph of the respondent and images of his vehicle and license plate. Apart from the PPO, the petitioner may also request an immediate protection order known as an ex parte order.

If the petitioner does not request an ex parte order, the court schedules a hearing for a restraining order Michigan. Similarly, if the court denies her request for an ex parte order, she may request a hearing for an order of protection within 21 days. Additionally, the respondent may request a hearing within 14 days of being served a copy of the petition.

Obtain an Ex Parte Order

Before a final restraining order is filed, the court may issue an ex parte order. This is a temporary restraining order that goes into effect the moment it is issued, even before the respondent is served. Within 24 hours of the petitioner filing her petition, the judge handling the case must determine whether to grant her an ex parte order.

To increase the likelihood of the judge approving her request for an ex parte order, the filer must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that she is in immediate danger of harm at the hands of the respondent if the order isn’t issued. This can include threatening messages and voicemails she has received from him or proof of previous abuse, such as records of her receiving medical attention for abuse-related injuries.

An ex parte PPO is valid for up to 182 days. If there is no ex parte order, the next step is to serve the respondent with the petition and attend the follow-up final hearing.

Serve the PPO Michigan

The respondent must be served with a copy of the petition and notice of the upcoming hearing. However, the petitioner cannot serve the respondent himself – this must be done by law enforcement, a process server or by certified mail. Upon receiving these documents, the respondent may file a motion to alter or cancel an ex parte order and request a hearing within the next 14 days. For a non-ex parte order, the respondent must attend the scheduled hearing.

Attend the Final Order Hearing

At a restraining order Michigan hearing, both the petitioner and the respondent have the opportunity to explain their sides of the story. This hearing only happens if the respondent requests it upon being served with the PPO Michigan petition.

After hearing both parties’ positions and reviewing the evidence provided, the judge determines whether a PPO is necessary to protect the petitioner from harm. If so, the PPO is granted, and both parties must adhere to its requirements. Failure to comply with a PPO is an act of contempt of court and can lead to criminal penalties.

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