Getting a Personal Protection Order If You Are under 18
If you are a minor, you can ask the court for a personal protection order (PPO). However, you cannot get a PPO on your own. You need help from someone called a next friend. A next friend is usually a parent or other adult whom you trust. Your next friend will file for the PPO for you.
PPOs are not for problems between parents and their children. You can’t get a PPO against your parent unless you are an emancipated minor. However, you can be protected from a parent by a PPO the court gives your other parent.
Choosing Your Next Friend
You may able to choose your next friend, depending on your age. If you are 13 years old or younger, the court will choose a next friend for you. If you are between 14 and 17, you may choose your own next friend.
Your next friend should be an adult you trust. Your next friend should be someone who has time to help you and is willing to help you. Your next friend can be any of the following people:
- Other relative
- Religious leader
- Another adult you trust
Different Types of PPOs
There are three types of PPOs:
- Domestic Relationship PPO
- Nondomestic Stalking PPO
- Nondomestic Sexual Assault PPO
To learn more about which PPO might fit your situation, read Overview of Personal Protection Orders. In general, the laws about what kind of PPO you qualify for are the same whether you are a minor or an adult. However, if you are under 18, there are more than two ways you can qualify for a sexual assault PPO.
A sexual assault PPO is to protect you from a person who has sexually assaulted you or threatened to sexually assault you. If you are under 18, you can also get a sexual assault PPO against someone who gave you obscene material. Giving obscene material to a minor is treated like threatening the minor with sexual assault.
Getting a PPO If the Abuser Is under 18
You can ask the court for a PPO if the abuser is 10 years old or older. You can’t get a PPO against a person who is under 10 years old. PPOs are not for problems between parents and their minor children. You can’t get a PPO against your minor child unless your child is an emancipated minor.
Some things are different for getting a PPO if the abuser is under 18:
You must file the personal protection order action in the circuit court in the county where you live or where the abuser lives. This is different from a PPO action filed against an adult. Those can be filed in any Michigan county;
You must include the name(s) and address(es) of the abuser’s parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) if you have that information or can easily get it;
You must have court papers served on the abuser’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) if you know their location (in addition to having the abuser served);
When a minor violates the terms of a PPO, its enforcement will be different from enforcement against an adult. The court will enforce the PPO based on laws and rules for a juvenile delinquent.
Finding a Lawyer
You might decide you want a lawyer to help you. If you have a low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have a low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If you are not able to get free legal services but can’t afford high legal fees, consider hiring a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. This is called limited scope representation. To learn more, read Limited Scope Representation (LSR): A More Affordable Way to Hire a Lawyer. To find a limited scope lawyer, follow this link to the State Bar of Michigan lawyer directory. This link lists lawyers who offer limited scope representation. You can narrow the results to lawyers in your area by typing in your county, city, or zip code at the top of the page. You can also narrow the results by topic by entering the kind of lawyer you need (divorce, estate, etc.) at the top of the page.