Personal Protection Orders
A personal protection order (PPO) is an order from the court that restrains a named individual from certain actions. A petition must be filed with the 37th Judicial Circuit Court. A PPO is effective when signed by the judge and is enforceable anywhere in the United States by any law enforcement agency until the expiration date which is included in the order. A PPO takes precedence over any existing custody or parenting time order until the PPO expires, or is amended or terminated.
How to file a PPO
- To file a PPO, call 269-969-6518. Speak with a Circuit Court Clerk about obtaining a PPO packet.
- You will need to provide a detailed affidavit including dates, times and locations of the incidents, details of any injuries and description of events. You should bring any proof you have to substantiate your claim, such as copies of police reports, screen shots of text messages, photographs, hospital records, etc.
- Once you have completed the PPO packet, call the Circuit Court Clerk at 269-969-6518 and make an appointment with the PPO Coordinator. Once you have an appointment with the PPO Coordinator, it is important that you arrive on time for your scheduled appointment with your paperwork completed. Otherwise, the appointment will need to be rescheduled.
- Your PPO petition will then be filed with the 37th Circuit Court Clerk's office. There are two ways to file a petition. An ex parte petition is when the petition is sent up to the judge for review without a hearing. You may also choose to have a hearing on the petition. If you choose to do an ex parte petition, the Clerk will assign your case to a judge and your petition will be forwarded to that judge for review. Your judge will either grant your petition, deny your petition, or deny your petition reserving the right for you to ask for a hearing.
- If you choose to have a hearing on your petition, the Clerk will assign your case to a judge and your petition will be set up in a file, assigned a case number and a court date, and you will be given copies of the petition to have served on the respondent.
- If you have chosen to have an ex parte petition sent directly to the assigned judge, call the Circuit Court Clerk's office at the time you have been advised to and find out if your ex parte petition has been granted or denied.
- If your PPO is granted, you will need to return to the Circuit Court Clerk's office to pick up your PPO and arrange for service.
- Once your PPO has been served, file the Proof of Service with the 37th Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
- If you PPO is denied ex parte a Circuit Court Clerk can assist you in setting a hearing in front of the judge.
Types of PPOs
- Domestic Relationship: A petitioner in a domestic relationship with the named individual - a spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom he/she has had a child in common, an individual with whom he/she has or has had a dating relationship, or an individual residing or having resided in the same household as the petitioner.
- Non-Domestic (Stalking) Relationship: A petitioner that is not in a domestic relationship with the named individual.
Filing a case
No fee is required to file a petition for a PPO, although the petitioner is responsible for the cost of serving papers.
If the petitioner is 17 years of age or younger, a parent or guardian may file the PPO on behalf of the petitioner.
For protection purposes, the petitioner may request that his/her address and telephone number be kept confidential.
Notification for LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network)
Upon entry of a PPO or an order for modification, dismissal or termination of a PPO, the PPO Coordinator will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of entry of the PPO or changes to the PPO that need entry into LEIN.
Violation of a PPO subjects a respondent to immediate arrest and to the civil and criminal contempt powers of the court, which may include up to 93 days incarceration and/or a fine up to $500.00.
There are two ways in which a respondent may be brought before the court for violating a PPO:
- A law enforcement officer may make a warrantless arrest when probable cause is shown that the PPO has been violated; or
- The petitioner may file a Motion and Order to Show Cause for Violating PPO and a show cause hearing will be scheduled. The petitioner may accomplish this by calling 269-969-6518 and scheduling an appointment with the PPO Coordinator.
To modify, extend or terminate a PPO, a hearing will have to be held in front of the assigned judge. The appropriate paperwork for this type of motion may be obtained from the 37th Judicial Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
REMEMBER THAT CELL PHONES ARE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE JUSTICE CENTER.