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WHAT IS THE STANDARD FOR GETTING A PPO AGAINST MY SPOUSE?

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As a matter of law, the family court must issue a PPO if it finds reasonable cause to believe that the respondent might commit one of the prohibited acts. MCL 600.2950(4). Reasonable cause is shown by facts that "would justify a fair-minded person of average intelligence to believe" that an incident has occurred. People v Richardson, 204 Mach App 71, 79, 514 NW2d 503 (1994) (construing reasonable cause for purposes of warrantless arrest under MCL 764.15). In ruling on the motion, the court must consider testimony, documents, and other evidence and whether the respondent previously committed or threatened to commit acts of violence. Id.

Moreover, a petitioner should ask for entry of the order ex parte if notice to the respondent might precipitate additional harm. To justify a request for an ex parte PPO, the petitioner must clearly allege facts that support the conclusion that "immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result from the delay required to effectuate notice or that the notice will itself precipitate adverse action before the PPO can be issued." MCL 600.2950(12).

The PPO may prohibit a spouse from doing one or all of the following:

(a) Entering onto premises, including the marital home and family members' homes.
(b) Assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding a named individual.
(c) Threatening to kill or physically injure a named individual.
(d) Removing minor children from the individual having legal custody of the children.
(e) Purchasing or possessing a firearm.
(f) Interfering with petitioner's efforts to remove petitioner's children or personal property from premises that are solely owned or leased by respondent.
(g) Interfering with petitioner at petitioner's place of employment or education or engaging in conduct that impairs petitioner's employment or educational relationship or environment.
(h) Having access to information in records concerning a minor child of both petitioner and respondent that will inform respondent about the address or telephone number of petitioner and petitioner's minor child or about petitioner's employment address.
(i) Engaging in conduct that is prohibited under section Michigan's penal code for stalking.
(j) Any other specific act or conduct that imposes upon or interferes with personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence.

MCL 600.2950(1). A PPO is an order intended to address an emergency and may include minor children without implicating the Child Custody Act. MCL 722.21 et seq. In Brandt v Brandt, 250 Mach App 68, 645 NW2d 327 (2002), the court of appeals held that under the "catchall" provision of the PPO statute, MCL 600.2950(1)(j), the family court had statutory authority to issue a PPO restricting respondent's contact with his minor children. See also, Hanford v Hanford, 279 Mach App 324, 760 NW2d 503 (2008) (holding that a PPO need not comply with the Child Custody Act under certain circumstances and that a PPO is an emergency order, not a custody determination).

TO LEARN MORE, AND TO DOWNLOAD FORMS TO APPLY FOR A PPO, VISIT YOUR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT OR CHECK ONLINE AT WWW.COURTS.MICHIGAN.GOV.

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