How to File for a PPO

Step 1: Obtain the Proper Forms

Go to the St. Clair County PPO Office to obtain and file the petition (also available at the bottom of this page) as soon as possible after the need occurs. You can obtain a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. At the courthouse, tell the clerk of court that you want to file a petition for a personal protection order. Let the clerk know whether you are filing for a domestic relationship PPO or a non-domestic stalking PPO. The clerk will be able to explain the difference. If you need an order in place immediately because of extreme danger, then you can request an Ex Parte Order. An Ex Parte Order is a request for an immediate order by a judge, meaning there is no time for a hearing. When you have finished filling out this type of request, you can submit it to any Circuit Court in Michigan at no charge.

Step 2: Bring the following information about the Respondent, if you have it:

  • addresses of residence and employment
  • date of birth, height, weight, eye color
  • a description and plate number of the Respondent’s car
  • any police reports, or other supporting documents you may have

Step 3: Complete the Forms and Attach Documentation

The required forms are available at the bottom of this page, or you may retrieve them from the Circuit Court Family Division Office (PPO Office). On the complaint for personal protection petition form you will be the "Petitioner" and the person sought to be restrained will be the "Respondent." Write about the most recent incidents of assault, threatening behavior or stalking events. Use descriptive language to describe the actions and events that support your need for protection. Be specific by including details and dates if possible.

You will want to attach any police reports to this form. Also include any copies of divorce, annulment, separation or custody orders if applicable. Statements from witnesses and any other supporting documents you may have should be included as well. It will also be important to write any previous court action you have taken against the abuser, including any criminal cases involving the Respondent. The judge will consider all such material in making his/her decision. You will need three copies of each of these items to be included with the petition when and if an order is signed by a judge.

Once you have completed your paperwork, return it to the clerk. A clerk will look the forms over and assign your case. This process can take up to several hours.

There is no minimum information requirement for requesting a PPO. Once you have included all the information you have and submitted the paperwork to the PPO clerk, they will submit the petition to the judge. It is up to the judge to make the final decision. If you have any issues in regards to submitting your petition to the judge, please contact the Circuit Court Family Division Administrator.

Step 4: After Submitting a Petition

“Non-emergency” PPOs will require a hearing in front of a Circuit Court Family Division judge before the PPO will be issued. At this hearing, the judge will listen to testimony by witnesses regarding what has happened that necessitates a PPO.

If you are in immediate danger, you may request an Ex Parte order, which will take effect immediately upon the judge’s signature without a hearing and without advanced notice to the other party. If you want an Ex Parte Order, you must convince the judge with SPECIFIC facts in your motion that you are in danger of immediate and irreparable injury, harm, or damage if the PPO is not issued. It is important that you are clear and specific in the text of your motion, and that you supply any supporting documentation as you will not have the opportunity to do so at a hearing.

If the judge grants an emergency PPO, the court clerk will give you 2 copies of the order. Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct.

Be sure to keep your PPO with you at all times. You may want to keep copies in your car and at your workplace.

The emergency domestic relationship PPO is enforceable anywhere in Michigan as soon as it is signed by a judge, although no arrest can occur until the Respondent has been served (see step 5). If you have any questions about this process please call the St. Clair County Victim’s Rights office at (810) 985-2301.

If the judge denies your request for a PPO, the court must state in writing, or on the record at a hearing, specific reasons it refuses to issue the order.

Step 5: Service of PPO

The Respondent must be "served," and given papers that tell him/her about the PPO. The clerk will send the signed order to the police to be entered into the LEIN system. The clerk will give you instructions on how to get the paperwork served. The respondent can be served by certified mail, by an adult other than you, or by a professional process server. For your safety, do not try to serve the papers on the abuser yourself.

Step 6: Hearing Contesting the Order

The Respondent may request a hearing to contest the PPO within 14 days of him/her being served. If such a hearing is requested, the judge will set a hearing date within 14 days of the request. In most cases, you will not have a hearing unless the Respondent requests one.

You must go to the hearing, if the Respondent requests one. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may rescind your Ex Parte PPO. If you do not show up at the hearing, it may be harder for you to get another PPO in the future.

If the Respondent requested a hearing, but does not show up, the judge may continue with the hearing without the abuser or s/he may order a new hearing date.

Step 7: Preparing for a Hearing (when an Ex Parte is not needed)

As the Petitioner requesting a domestic relationship personal protection order, you must do the following:

  • Demonstrate that there is reasonable cause that there is an immediate threat that the Respondent may commit acts of Domestic Violence, Intimidation, Custodial Interference, and/or Stalking.
  • Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.

For additional information on the court hearing please contact the Victim’s Rights Office.

To view a video of how to obtain a PPO please visit http://courts.michigan.gov/education/mji/ and click on Web Based Training on the left hand side, create an account as a guest, then you can view the PPO video.

ALWAYS CARRY A COPY OF YOUR PPO SO THAT A POLICE OFFICER CAN QUICKLY CONFIRM THE TERMS OF THE ORDER IF THE RESPONDENT COMMITS A VIOLATION

PPO Forms



Contact Information

St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney
201 McMorran Blvd., Suite 3300
Port Huron, MI 48060

Phone: (810) 985-2400
Fax: (810) 985-2424
Email: Prosecuting Attorney

Photos courtesy of the Port Huron Times Herald and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department