Filing a Personal Protection Order (PPO)
What is a PPO?
In a personal protection order (PPO), a court orders another person to stop threats or violence against you. There are two types of PPO:
- Domestic PPO: You may get a domestic PPO if the person you want protection from is:
- your spouse or former spouse.
- someone with whom you have a child in common.
- someone you are dating or dated in the past.
- someone who lives now, or has ever lived, in the same household with you.
You must show the court that this person is interfering with your personal freedom or has threatened or committed violence against you.
- Stalking PPO: You may get a stalking PPO to protect you from anyone else who has done a pattern of two or more acts without your consent that make you feel threatened, harassed, frightened, or molested.
What does the court need to know?
The PPO forms you get from the court clerk (some of the forms are also at the end of this article) will ask for important information that the court needs before it can issue a PPO. Fill the forms out legibly and completely. You may attach a separate sheet of paper to the forms.
Tips for Filling Out the Forms:
- You are the “petitioner.” The person you want protection from is the “respondent.”
- As best as you can, state what the respondent did, what happened to you as a result, and the dates when events happened. You don’t need a police report or other documents to get a PPO, but if you have them, they can help the judge understand your situation.
- It’s important for the court to know about other court cases involving you and the respondent and whether or not they are still open. These cases may be anywhere in Michigan or in another state. It’s especially important to indicate whether there is a court order about child custody or a criminal case against the respondent.
- You must provide your mailing address. This address does not have to be the same as your residence address.
- If you are afraid of immediate injury or that you will be harmed if you have to wait for a hearing on the PPO, check the box that says “ex parte.
What do I do after a PPO is issued?
- You must arrange for delivery of the PPO and petition to the respondent. This delivery is called “service.” Service options vary based on geographic area of the state. Here are some service options:
- by a police department – some will deliver PPOs free of charge. Call your local domestic violence program to ask about police department service in your area.
- by a process server – you will have to pay the process server a fee.
- by an adult other than you.
- by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, delivery restricted to addressee.
- After service, you must file a “proof of service” with the court clerk.
- Develop a safety plan. Remember that the Michigan State Police will send the respondent a letter about firearms restrictions that apply because of the PPO within 24 hours after they are notified of the PPO.
For help and support with the PPO service, proof of service and developing a safety plan, call your local domestic violence program listed in your telephone directory, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 TTY.
What Do I do If the Respondent Violates the PPO?
If the PPO is violated, call 911 or the local police immediately. If the police do not arrest the respondent, go to the court and ask to file a “motion to show cause.”
The respondent must come to court after being arrested or after you file a motion to show cause with the court. The court may jail the respondent for up to 93 days or impose a fine of up to $500, or both.
For Your Safety
- Have the PPO served on the respondent.
- File the proof of service with the court clerk.
- After the Judge signs the PPO, it is enforceable in Michigan, and after it is served, the PPO is enforceable anywhere in the United States.
- Carry one copy of the PPO and proof of service with you at all times. Keep a second copy in a safe place.
- Consider asking the court for extra copies for others who need to know about it.
- Develop a safety plan. If you need help, call your local domestic violence program or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
- If the PPO prohibits the respondent from having contact with you, the respondent can be arrested for doing so – even if you have agreed to the contact.
- In order to make changes to the PPO you must go back to the court.
- To renew the PPO, file a motion at least 28 days before it expires.
If you have any questions, call the court clerk.
Where Can I call for Help?
Call your local domestic violence program listed in your telephone directory or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 TTY.
Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 140 languages through interpreter services. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with information about the domestic violence program in your area. It’s confidential and free.
For web access, log onto www.michigan.gov/domesticviolence.
Personal Protection Proceedings Forms
Click on the links below to download the instructions and some of the available forms. Other approved forms can be found at the Michigan Courts website.