South Haven, MI asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Juvenile Law for Michigan

Q: I'm 17 my parents want to put a restraining order on my boyfriend he's 19, he has done nothing wrong, can they do that?

Also this is in Michigan so this could be different in other states. My parents just don't like him because of rumors that are not true. They have no evidence at all, just gossip. What can I do? I also read that I can "run away" at 17 and the cops can't force me to go home. Is this true? It seems a little far fetched... I just want to move out but I don't think I can do that without being emancipated by the state. Any logical answers help.

1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: This scenario falls under what I call the "my house, my rules" law. When you are under 18, and when you live in your parents' house, parents can do what they feel necessary to ensure your general welfare. This includes using any legal means to keep you away from what they believe to be a bad situation, and to keep others away from you whom your parents deem a threat.

To get a restraining order - properly called a personal protection order (PPO) - your parents would need to assert some specific facts and reasons about your boyfriend before a court will grant a PPO. It would not be enough for your parents to simply say "I don't like him". That said, it doesn't take a whole lot more to get a PPO. And so you really need to take a step back, put your emotions and what you "know" aside, to ask yourself whether there is any truth to these rumors that have your parents concerned. Why would people - and I assume by gossip you mean that people beside your parents are thinking and saying these things - spread these sort of rumors about this 19 year old and not others?

At 17, you can do a lot of things - wise and unwise. More important to all of this is whether what you want to or can do worth damaging your relationship with your parents. Instead of what may seem like to you that they are fighting against you, your parents could say "you're grown, get out of our house and don't come back".

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