Ann Arbor Domestic Violence - Personal Protection Orders
Domestic violence in Ann Arbor usually occurs between two people who are living together or who are in a dating relationship. In Ann Arbor and around Michigan, courts have the authority to issue orders of protection to domestic violence victims and requiring courts to give some weight to domestic violence in child custody cases.
In Michigan, a victim of domestic violence may obtain a personal protection order (PPO) to enjoin abusive behavior. PPOs may enjoin specific actions, such as assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, stalking, or wounding the petitioner. In addition, they may prohibit entering specific premises, usually including the victim’s home and place of employment. They may also prohibit the removal of minor children from the legal custodian, purchasing or possessing a firearm, and any other act that interferes with the victim’s personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence.
There are three types of PPOs that may be issued, depending on the relationship between the parties. A domestic relationship PPO enjoins certain assaultive and threatening behaviors when there is a domestic relationship between the parties. A domestic relationship exists if the parties are or have been married, have had a child in common, have lived together, or have dated. A stalking PPO enjoins stalking conduct and is available regardless of the parties’ relationship as long as two or more incidents of stalking have occurred. A sexual assault PPO, new in 2010, enjoins assaultive and stalking behaviors when there is no domestic relationship between the parties and there have not been two or more instances of stalking. It is available when the respondent has been convicted of a sexual assault against the petitioner or has threatened the petitioner with sexual assault.
A PPO is effective when the judge signs it and is immediately enforceable by any law enforcement officer in Michigan. MCL 600.2950(7), (9), (21). The respondent is subject to immediate arrest for violating the order and if found guilty may be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail. A PPO must be served personally or as otherwise specified on the party to be restrained. However, failure to effectuate service does not affect the order’s validity or effectiveness. Either party may file a motion to modify, extend, or rescind the PPO after it has been entered within 14 days of issuance of the PPO. The court usually addresses motions to rescind or modify PPOs in an evidentiary hearing.
Divorce and custody actions present particular challenges in domestic violence cases. Although Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, fault is an element that can be used to structure arguments regarding domestic violence in property and spousal support disputes. In custody and parenting time cases, the court must consider domestic violence in making its decision. MCL 722.23(k).