Know the Laws: Nebraska
UPDATED August 18, 2016
A domestic violence protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member, including former or current dating partners.
This section defines abuse for the purposes of getting a domestic violence protection order. The following acts are considered abuse (domestic violence) when they occur between family or household members:
* NE R.S. § 42-903(1)
** NE R.S. § 42-903(3)
In Nebraska there are ex parte temporary protection orders and final protection orders.
Ex parte is a Latin term meaning “from one side.” These orders are called ex parte because you may receive them without prior notice to the abuser or his/her presence in the courtroom. When you file your petition for a protection order, a judge can issue an ex parte order if s/he has reason to believe that you are in immediate danger of being abused based on your affidavit or your statements.* If the judge does not give you an ex parte order, the judge should schedule a hearing within 14 days where the abuser can be present and you will have to prove that the order should be issued.**
If an ex parte order is issued, it will be served upon the abuser along with a form for the abuser to request a "show-cause hearing" in which the abuser would appear in court and show cause (evidence) why the order should be dismissed -- and you would present evidence why you should keep the order. If the abuser wants to request a show-cause hearing, s/he has to return this form to the clerk within 5 days of receiving the order and the hearing would be scheduled within 30 days. If the abuser cannot prove that the order should be dropped or does not appear at the hearing, the temporary ex parte order is now considered to be a final order.* A final protection order will last for 1 year.***
* NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
** NE R.S. § 42-925(2)
*** NE R.S. § 42-925(4)
An ex parte order or a final protection order can order the abuser to:
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* NE R.S. §§ 42-924(1); 42-925(1)
You must file the petition in district court and the case may take place in either district court or in county court.* In the petition, you may be asked to include whether you want the case to be heard by a county court judge or by a district court judge.** However, just because you choose a particular court, it doesn’t mean that the case will necessarily go to that court. If you are unsure of which court to request, you might want to ask an attorney in your county to see what the difference is (if there is one). For courthouse locations in your area, see NE Courthouse Locations. To find legal organizations, go to NE Finding a Lawyer.
* NE R.S. § 42-924(2)
** NE R.S. § 25-2740(2)
WomensLaw.org thanks Robert A. Sanford, Legal Director at the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition, for his help with this section.