Personal Protection Orders

What is a Personal Protection Order?

A personal protection action involves seeking an order from the court to protect you from harassment, assault, beating, molesting, wounding, or stalking by another person.

The order can also prohibit a person from entering your premises and from removing minor children, unless the removal is part of court-ordered parenting time. 

Important Terms

The person filing the petition for personal protection is called the petitioner. The person to be restrained by the personal protection order is called the respondent.

Types of Personal Protection Actions

There are two types of personal protection actions: domestic and nondomestic. A domestic personal protection order can be obtained if you have or had an established relationship with the other party or have a child in common.

A nondomestic personal protection order can be obtained if you want to prevent threatening or violent behavior by someone with whom you have not had any form of domestic relationship; this type of order is also referred to as an order against stalking.

How Personal Protection Orders are Issued

There are two ways personal protection orders can be issued. The court can issue an order after the other person has been notified that you have filed for a personal protection order and after the court has held a hearing.

The court may also issue a personal protection order without notifying the other person and without a hearing. This is called an ex parte order. In Michigan, most personal protection orders are issued ex parte.

Stalking

Although it is a crime in Michigan for someone to assault or threaten another person, Michigan law provides additional protection to persons who have a domestic relationship, or those who are being harassed or stalked by another person, by allowing them to seek a personal protection order.

Stalking involves harassment that causes you to feel terrorized, threatened, intimidated, frightened, or molested. This could include following you, making unwanted calls or mailings, or showing up repeatedly at your home or work.

Filing for an Order

If you decide to file for a Personal Protection Order with the Berrien County Trial Court, the forms may be picked up in two locations:

Berrien County Clerk's Office
1st Floor, Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port Street
Saint Joseph, MI49085

or

Berrien County Clerk's Office
South County Building
1205 N Front Street
Niles, MI49120

Forms are also available at the Self Help Legal Resource Center, located at both buildings listed above.