Attacked by Domestic Partner consider a PPO


On 03/05/12 on WFLT 1420 AM Radio I will Talk about Personal Protection Orders or PPOs

When you are in a domestic relationship a PPO is appropriate if you can demonstrate that you have been assaulted or threatened with harm by the your partner MCL 600.2950.

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Specifically, the Judge must issue a PPO if it is found that there is reasonable cause to believe that your partner might commit one of the prohibited acts. MCL 600.2950(4).

When you file a PPO you must include specific incidents of assaults or threats and describe the injuries resulting from the specific incidents of abuse.

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We know that Emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical battering; therefore, such incidents should be included in your petition.

In ruling on the motion, your judge must consider testimony, documents, and other evidence and whether your partner previously committed or threatened to commit acts of violence. Id.

You should ask for entry of the order ex parte if notice to your partner might precipitate additional harm.

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To justify a request for an ex parte PPO, the you 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).

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Most domestic violence survivors can easily meet this standard with specific reference to their partners past violence and allegations that prior notice will result in the partners further violence or coercion of you to dismiss the petition.

The ex parte provisions of the PPO statute were declared constitutional in Kampf v Kampf, 237 Mich App 377, 603 NW2d 295 (1999).

The PPO petition should focus on the imminence of the actual or threatened harm and the irreparable injury you will suffer if the PPO is not granted.

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The attorney representing you must allege facts, not merely generalizations. The petition must give persuasive reasons why you need the protection of a PPO.

For example, a threatened harm could be a promise to kill you, to beat you senseless, or to never allow you to sleep. A completed harm might be sexual assault, punching, kicking, slapping, choking, or stabbing you. Especially chilling are the acts designed to defeat criminal detention by inflicting maximum pain with minimal evidence of physical injury, such as pulling hair and squeezing or bending limbs and fingers. Completed harm could also include frequent or late-night telephone calls at home or at work, following the victim, slashing car tires, banging on or breaking into doors and windows at the victim’s home, burning the victim’s house, or torturing or killing pets.

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A pattern of past and an expectation of future harm and the degree of seriousness of the harm are essential concepts. To establish such a pattern, the complaint should recite the specific dates that incidents occurred, along with the extent of bodily harm, the extent of property damage, the explicit content of threats, whether medical treatment was necessary, whether any of the couple’s children were present during the assault or were in danger, and whether the police were involved.

Repeated minor offenses or at least one serious incident coupled with indications of continuing trouble may justify issuance of a PPO. By the same token, one isolated incident or a pattern that ended some time ago (without an explanation of why a PPO is needed now) may not be sufficient.

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There are few reported appellate decisions that address domestic relationship PPOs and the facts that are sufficient to justify their issuance. In Kampf, allegations of verbal abuse, spousal rape, bruising, pushing, and shoving were sufficient. In Pickering v Pickering, 253 Mich App 694, 702, 659 NW2d 649 (2002), partner’s threats to break down a door that you had braced shut, “rage” in partner’s voice, and partner’s use of a yardstick to probe underneath the braced door were sufficient to authorize a PPO. However, the judge of appeals noted that the facts in Pickering made the issuance and continuation of the PPO a “close call.” 253 Mich App at n3. In Jannaro v Schamp, No 210740, 1999 Mich App LEXIS 2235 (Dec 21, 1999) (unpublished), partner’s use of abusive language, violent behavior, and threats to kill you and her family were sufficient to justify a PPO.

Michigan Family Law Judges Bench Book.

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