Note: Any person in a dangerous emergency situation requiring immediate intervention should call 911 for assistance.
A restraining order is a court order directing a person to do or not do certain things. It's a piece of paper a judge signs stating the terms someone must follow or else risk legal consequences.
In Michigan, an abused person can seek a civil restraining order in as part of a family law case. Here, you are not asking the court to send the abuser to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, he may be sent to jail for the violation.
In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to. Personal protection orders (PPOs) are under the civil law system.
Domestic Relationship PPO
In Michigan, it's known as a "domestic relationship personal protection order" (PPO). It's a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family member, household member, someone you have a child in common with, or someone you have dated or are dating.
It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both male and female victims. This order prohibits the offender from having contact with the victim for a specified period of time. If a person is found to violate a restraining or protective order, he or she could he or she can be jailed and charged with a separate crime including aggravated stalking.
How to Obtain a PPO
You can go to the family division of the circuit court to get a petition or download (PDF) one.
When you apply for your PPO, a judge can issue you an ex parte domestic relationship PPO without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. The judge has to decide whether or not to grant your request for an ex parte order within 24 hours of when you file the petition. You'll have to clearly show that immediate and irreversible injury, loss, or damage will result from the delay that would be required to notify the abuser or that the notice will itself cause you harm before a PPO can be issued.
An ex parte domestic relationship PPO is valid for at least 6 months. The abuser can request a hearing to change or rescind cancel the PPO.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Michigan's temporary restraining order laws. See Family Law, Harrassment, Restraining Orders, and Filing a Domestic Violence Lawsuit for more information.
|Types of Orders
Civil Restraining Order known as a "Personal Protection Order" (PPO)
You may be eligible to file a domestic relationship PPO against:
Your current or former spouse;
Someone with whom you have a child in common;
Someone you are dating or used to date;
Anyone who lives in your home or has lived in your home.
|What is anEx Parte TRO?
An expedited temporary court order meant to protect someone from immediate danger. Defendant does not need to be present for the ex parte hearing.
|Length of a TRO
|How to Apply
File a petition in court
|Penalty for Violations
"Contempt of court," which is different than a criminal charge. An act can be a PPO violation and a crime (for example, an assault).In that situation the abuser may be charged with both a PPO violation and a crime for the same event. Also, a PPO violation can result in jail time for the abuser.
Because temporary restraining order laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced Michigan domestic violence or family law attorney or your Michigan legal aid service provider if you have questions about your specific situation.