Non-Domestic/Stalking Personal Protection Orders

A non-domestic PPO applies to all cases, regardless of any relationship between the parties, but can only be sought in order to prohibit stalking, as that term is defined in MCL 750.411h, aggravated stalking as defined in MCL 750.411i, and/or cyberstalking as defined in MCL 750.411s.

The procedures and requirements for obtaining a non-domestic PPO are set forth in MCL 600.2950a.

Acts or Conduct for which a Stalking PPO may be Issued

The acts that a petitioner can seek to prevent are set forth in MCL 750.411h(1), and include:

(1) Following or appearing within the sight of petitioner;

(2) Approaching or confronting petitioner in a public place or on private property;

(3) Appearing at petitioner’s workplace or residence;

(4) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by petitioner;

(5) Contacting petitioner by telephone;

(6) Sending mail or electronic communications to petitioner; or

(7) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by petitioner.

Stalking is defined by MCL 750.411h(1)(d) as:

A willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

A willful course of conduct must consist of a series of two or more separate and noncontinuous acts of harassment. The petitioner for a non-domestic PPO must therefore be able to demonstrate that the respondent has engaged in the prohibited behaviors on multiple and separate occasions in order to support the request.

The filing procedures, ex parte orders, and enforcement issues discussed for domestic PPOs also apply for non-domestic PPOs.

PPOs in Divorce and Child Custody Cases

The entry of a PPO can have very serious ramifications on existing divorce and custody cases. According to MCR 3.706(C)(3), a PPO trumps or overrides any preexisting custody or parenting time order. If the respondent of a PPO has custody or parenting time of a minor child that would be adversely affected by the PPO, the circuit court must consider this when issuing the PPO, and must determine whether the respondent’s rights can be accommodated by conditions of the PPO, or whether the safety and well-being of the petitioner and/or the minor child warrant infringement on these rights.

Due to these serious ramifications, many domestic judges are extremely leery and hesitant to enter PPOs when a divorce or custody action is also pending between the same parties, especially on an ex parte basis, except in the most extreme and clear cut cases. The overriding concern is that one party may be using the PPO system as a way to prevent the other party from maintaining a relationship with the children, and thus gain a perceived advantage in the custody case.

In order to address this concern, many judges automatically require a hearing to be held so that a proper determination can be made, with the participation of both parties, as to whether a PPO is appropriate, or even necessary.