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Modifying a Protective Order

A protection order can be vacated or modified under any circumstances that a judge sees fit and where it is appropriate to do so. However, in order for that to happen, a person has to get in front of the judge and order a personal protection order to begin, and that might require that person to hire a lawyer.

The process is essentially going to require that they file the appropriate paperwork and obtain a hearing on the court schedule or docket, and that is not always the easiest thing to accomplish, unless a person knows what the court rules are and how it is done. A domestic violence attorney who has experience dealing with Michigan protective order cases can best help someone to streamline the process of modifying their protective order in Michigan.

Hearing Process

If a person would rather appear in front of the judge or if they do not think that they can make a proper showing of reasonable cause without actually providing testimony, then they may decide not to try to get an ex parte order and instead try to have an order issued after an actual live court hearing.

An ex parte order means one without a hearing, and it also means without the other person being present, if a person wants to have a hearing or if they need to have a hearing, then they have to file the appropriate paperwork and ask for a hearing but the difference is that the PPO will not be issued until after the judge has listened to testimony possibly from both sides and then will make a decision as to whether or not it is appropriate to issue one. In most instances if a person needs and gets a PPO, they can get one ex parte, there will be a requirement for a live-in court hearing.

Once the order has been entered, to have it changed, a person must appear in front of the judge for a hearing and that will require that both people be present and that each party has an opportunity to be heard. If a person wants to have it extended, they have to request it be extended at least 28 days before the expiration and if they are the person against whom the PPO has been issued and they think that it is improper, then again they can ask for a hearing, and they can ask the judge to hear their side of the story. They can then decide whether or not the personal protection order in Michigan was issued under appropriate circumstances to begin with.

Appropriate Circumstances

If they think that certain parts of the protective order in Michigan are not appropriate or are problematic, then the judge can modify it and make it more appropriate to the circumstances. This can be applicable where a person does not have any issues with a personal protection order, they do not care to see their prior spouse anymore, but they do want to see their children. The judge will modify the Michigan protective order so that there can be contact for this one purpose only. In other situations, a person may have obligations in front of other courts or for other reasons and therefore is not able to fulfill the order.

For example, a person knows there is a PPO, but the parties may wish to have the marital or partnership union—whatever it might be, whether it is under marriage, union, or dating circumstances —preserved and so the judge might order that therapy take place between the parties, for example, marital therapy between the parties. In that circumstance, if the PPO says that they cannot contact one another, then it makes it difficult to try to arrange times and make appointments to actually have a therapy that is beneficial to the union.

Depending on the circumstances, it might be appropriate for the judge to not order a standard order but instead customize it more appropriately for the circumstances of the individuals involved.

Role of the Court

For the court to extend or modify an existing Michigan protective order, the court will need to issue a new order that supersedes the old one. As stated, there is an old adage in the law that "a court speaks through its written orders." So, until the court decides to make the change, and this change becomes memorialized in a writing that is signed by the judge, which is called an order, it is as if it did not happen. Even though the judge might tell a person to do something, they do not have to do it unless the judge has reduced that to writing and the person ordered to do something is served with it, meaning provided with notice of the new, amended or changed protective order.

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