Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Order

  1. Introduction

    Domestic relationship PPOs are appropriate for victims in instances where the abuser shares some sort of domestic relationship to the victim and the abuser harasses the victim online, or where the abuser assaults, threatens, or stalks the victim.

  2. Text of Statute(s)

    1. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.2950 - Personal Protection orders; current or former spouse, dating relationship, or housemate

      1. Except as provided in subsections (27) and (28), by commencing an independent action to obtain relief under this section, by joining a claim to an action, or by filing a motion in an action in which the petitioner and the individual to be restrained or enjoined are parties, an individual may petition the family division of circuit court to enter a personal protection order to restrain or enjoin a spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, or an individual residing or having resided in the same household as the petitioner from doing 1 or more of the following:
        1. Entering onto premises.
        2. Assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding a named individual.
        3. Threatening to kill or physically injure a named individual.
        4. Removing minor children from the individual having legal custody of the children, except as otherwise authorized by a custody or parenting time order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
        5. Purchasing or possessing a firearm.
        6. Interfering with petitioner's efforts to remove petitioner's children or personal property from premises that are solely owned or leased by the individual to be restrained or enjoined.
        7. Interfering with petitioner at petitioner's place of employment or education or engaging in conduct that impairs petitioner's employment or educational relationship or environment.
        8. Having access to information in records concerning a minor child of both petitioner and respondent that will inform respondent about the address or telephone number of petitioner and petitioner's minor child or about petitioner's employment address.
        9. Engaging in conduct that is prohibited under section 411h or 411i of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.411h and 750.411i.
        10. Any of the following with the intent to cause the petitioner mental distress or to exert control over the petitioner with respect to an animal in which the petitioner has an ownership interest:
          1. Injuring, killing, torturing, neglecting, or threatening to injure, kill, torture, or neglect the animal. A restraining order that enjoins conduct under this subparagraph does not prohibit the lawful killing or other use of the animal as described in section 50(11) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.50.
          2. Removing the animal from the petitioner's possession.
          3. Retaining or obtaining possession of the animal.
        11. Any other specific act or conduct that imposes upon or interferes with personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence.
  3. Cases

    1. Hayford v. Hayford, 760 N.W.2d 503 (Mich. Ct. App. 2008)

      • Procedural Posture: Petitioner sought PPO against father; the Circuit Court, Family Division issued the PPO; father appealed.
      • Law: domestic relationship personal protection order.
      • Facts: Child filed for PPO against father; father continued to place telephone calls to petitioner, show up at petitioner’s school, visit the hospital where petitioner had surgery, contact petitioner’s physician, and placed an ad about petitioner containing personal information in newspapers. Respondent argued there were insufficient acts of stalking or harassment.
      • Outcome: the trial court did not err in finding there were sufficient acts of harassment and petitioner experienced emotional distress sufficient to uphold the PPO.
      • Special Notes: There must be two or more acts of unconsented contact that cause the victim to suffer emotional distress and that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress; the statute does not require a showing of fear.
    2. Pickering v. Pickering, 659 N.W.2d 649 (Mich. Ct. App. 2002)

      • Procedural Posture: wife obtained ex parte PPO; husband moved to rescind order and trial court denied motion; husband appealed.
      • Law: domestic relationship personal protection order.
      • Facts: While parties were in the process of obtaining a divorce but residing in the same home, wife obtained a PPO after husband threatened to break down door wife had braced shut with a chair, shouted with “rage in his voice,” and continued to shove the door, attempting to dislodge the chair by poking it with a yardstick.
      • Outcome: Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the order, and that the petitioner had the burden of persuasion on the motion to rescind the ex parte PPO.
      • Special Notes: Petitioner holds burden of proof when applying for PPO but also on motion to rescind ex parte PPO.
  4. Practice Pointers

    • Victims may receive an expedited, temporary ex parte order (defendant need not be present) where victim is in immediate danger; judges must decide request for ex parte order within 24 hours of filing.
    • Ex parte orders are valid for at least 6 months.
    • Victims file at their local circuit court in the family division.
    • If there are pending or prior actions regarding the parties (e.g. a divorce action, prior PPO, criminal case) Michigan’s One Judge / One Family doctrine provides that the PPO should be sought in that county.