Nondomestic (Stalking) Personal Protection Orders

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What Is a Nondomestic (Stalking) Personal Protection Order?

A nondomestic personal protection order (PPO) is a court order to stop stalking or harassing behavior. It is sometimes called a stalking PPO.

In your nondomestic PPO case, you are the Petitioner if you are asking for protection. The person you want protection from is the Respondent. The Respondent cannot be someone with whom you have a domestic relationship. This includes:

  • Your current or ex-spouse

  • Your child’s other parent

  • Someone you have lived with

  • Someone you have dated

If you have a domestic relationship with the person you want to be protected from, a petition for a nondomestic PPO is not the right form for you. Instead, you can ask the judge for a domestic relationship PPO. You can use the Do-It-Yourself Personal Protection Order (PPO) tool to prepare the forms you need.

How Can a Nondomestic PPO Help Me?

Depending on your situation, your nondomestic PPO could prohibit the Respondent from:

  • Following you or appearing in your sight

  • Showing up at your work or home

  • Approaching or confronting you

  • Going onto or staying on property you own, rent, or occupy

  • Calling you

  • Sending you mail or other messages

  • Placing an object on or delivering an object to property you own, rent, or occupy

  • Threatening to kill or hurt you

  • Buying or having a gun

  • Cyberstalking you, including posting messages online

  • Other specific stalking behavior that you want the judge to prohibit

You may ask for specific protections when you prepare your petition, but the judge will decide what your order will prohibit.

How Do I Get a Nondomestic PPO?

Prepare and File Your Petition

To ask the court for a nondomestic PPO, prepare and file a petition. You can use the Do-It-Yourself Personal Protection Order (PPO) tool to prepare your petition. File the petition at the circuit court in any Michigan county.

If the Respondent is a minor, file it in either the county where you live or the county where the Respondent lives.

Emergency Order

You might be afraid you will be harmed if you don’t get a PPO right away. You might be afraid you will be harmed if the Respondent learns you are asking for a PPO. If so, you can ask for an emergency order called an ex parte order. If the judge gives you an ex parte PPO, you won’t have to wait for a hearing to get your order. The Respondent won’t know you are asking for a PPO until after you get your order.

An ex parte order is effective as soon as the judge signs it. It is valid for at least 182 days. The order will include the date that it expires. You must arrange for delivery (service) of the ex parte order on the Respondent. The police have limited authority to arrest a respondent who violates a PPO but has not been served a copy of the order.

Court Hearing

If you did not request an ex parte order in your petition, the court will schedule a hearing to decide whether to give you a PPO. Or, if the judge denies your petition for an ex parte order, there will be a hearing if you request one within 21 days.

Before the hearing date, you must have the Respondent served with the court papers. For detailed instructions on having the Respondent served, go to Filing for a Personal Protection Order — Non-Domestic Stalking, select your county, and find step 6 in the second set of instructions. Step 6 is titled "Have the Respondent served with the documents."

There may also be a hearing if the judge grants you an ex parte order. The Respondent can file a motion asking the judge to change or end the ex parte PPO. The Respondent must file the motion within 14 days of getting notice of the PPO. If the Respondent files a motion to modify or terminate the PPO, there will be a hearing where the judge will decide whether to continue, change, or end the ex parte order.

At a court hearing, you and the Respondent will each have the chance to speak and may be able to ask each other questions. You may also be able to call witnesses and show the judge other evidence.

If the court schedules a hearing, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. Representing yourself at a hearing is not easy. You must follow the same rules lawyers must follow, such as the Michigan Rules of Evidence.

To learn more about what to expect at a court hearing, see What to Expect When You Go to Court.

What You Need to Prove

To get a nondomestic PPO, you must prove that the Respondent has stalked or cyberstalked you. The stalker does not have to be arrested for you to get a PPO. They do not have to be charged with or convicted of a crime for you to get a PPO.

To show that the Respondent stalked you, you must show that there were two or more incidents of stalking. Stalking is contact you don’t want. It has no valid purpose and it causes you emotional harm or fear. It is also something that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional harm or fear.

Cyberstalking is electronic stalking. It could mean the Respondent posted messages about you or sent messages to you through the internet, a computer, or another electronic means without your consent. Cyberstalking is done with the intent to cause you emotional harm or fear. It is an action that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional harm or fear, and it causes you to suffer actual emotional harm or fear.

The level of proof you need in order to show that the Respondent stalked or cyberstalked you is a preponderance of evidence. This is a lower level of proof than what is required in a criminal case.

If you are asking for an ex parte PPO, the judge will make a decision based on your petition alone. The judge will give you a PPO if the judge decides both of the following:

  • Your petition shows you are entitled to a PPO;
  • There would be immediate harm to you in the time it would take to give the Respondent notice of a hearing, or the Respondent would try to harm you if they learned you were asking for a PPO.

You don't have to have police reports or medical documents to get a nondomestic PPO. But if you do have them, attach copies of them to your petition. They can help the judge understand what has happened to you.

If you have a court hearing, you can present these documents as evidence. Even if you do not have these things, your testimony (what you say in court) is still evidence.

What Will My Nondomestic PPO Say?

A nondomestic PPO will say:

  • That your order is effective immediately and can be enforced anywhere in Michigan
  • That once it is served, the PPO may be enforced anywhere else in the United States
  • What actions the Respondent is prohibited from doing
  • When your order expires
  • What can happen if the Respondent violates your order
  • The name of the specific law enforcement agency that will enter your order into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)

What Happens After My Nondomestic PPO Is Signed?

Your PPO and petition must be served on the Respondent. Your nondomestic PPO is enforceable in Michigan as soon as it is signed by a judge, even though it has not yet been served. After your order has been served, it can be enforced anywhere in the United States.

There are several ways to serve the PPO and petition, but you are not allowed to serve them yourself. Have the papers served in a way that keeps you safe. Once the PPO has been served, a Proof of Service form must be filed with the court clerk. To learn more, read Serving Your Personal Protection Order.

Staying Safe with a Nondomestic PPO

Carry Your Papers

Always keep a copy of your PPO and Proof of Service with you. Keep a second copy in a safe place. You can ask the court clerk for extra copies of the order to give to your work and others who need to know about it.

Safety Planning

While you cannot control the Respondent’s behavior, you can take steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Creating a safety plan can help.

You can find detailed information on the Stalking Resource Center's website. You can also contact your local domestic violence agency for help weighing your safety options and making a safety plan.

Enforcing Your Nondomestic PPO

If the Respondent violates your PPO, you can call the police and report the violation. Your local domestic violence agency can give you support and information about enforcing your order. You can also file a Motion to Show Cause for Violating Valid Personal/Foreign Protection Order to ask the judge to punish the Respondent for violating the PPO. To learn more about enforcing your PPO, read Personal Protection Order Violations and Enforcement.

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.

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