What is the legal definition of abuse in Nebraska?
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:
- causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, with or without a “dangerous instrument” (i.e., a weapon, heavy object, etc.);
- placing someone in fear of bodily injury by “credible threat,” which means:
- a verbal or written threat (including via email, text, etc.)
- a threat that is implied through a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal, written, or electronic statements/conduct that causes you to fear for your safety or your family’s safety; (Note: you do not have to prove that the harasser had the intention to actually act on the threat, just that s/he seemed to have the ability to do so if s/he chose to. If the harasser makes the threat while s/he is in jail, that does not matter – you can still believe that s/he has the ability to carry out the threat); or
- forcing unwanted sexual contact or sexual penetration, as defined by the law.1
Family or household members include:
- spouses or former spouses,
- people who are presently living together or who have lived together in the past,
- people who have a child in common whether or not they have been married or have lived together at any time,
- people related by blood or marriage, and
- people who are presently involved in a dating relationship with each other or who have been involved in a dating relationship with each other in the past.2
1 NE R.S. § 42-903(1)
2 NE R.S. § 42-903(3)
What types of protection orders are there? How long do they last?
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.1 (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.2) 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 present evidence (“show cause”) as to 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 the form to the clerk within 10 business days of receiving the order and the hearing would be scheduled within 30 days. The judge can also order that a hearing be held based on your request or based on the judge’s own decision to hold a hearing. The temporary ex parte order would be considered to be a final order if the respondent has been properly served with the temporary ex parte order and any of the following happen:
- the abuser does not request a show-cause hearing and you do not request one nor does the judge decide to order one;
- a hearing is held, and the abuser does not appear at the hearing;
- a hearing is held, and the abuser appears but cannot prove that the order should be dismissed. Note: If the respondent appears at the hearing and shows “good cause” why your order should not remain in effect, the judge can end your temporary order.3
A final protection order will last for one year but it can be renewed.4 See Can I extend my protection order? for more information.
1 NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
2 NE R.S. § 42-925(3)
3 NE R.S. § 42-925(2)
4 NE R.S. §§ 42-925(5); 42-924(3)
What protections can I get in a protection order?
An ex parte order or a final protection order can order the abuser to:
- not to restrain you or restrict your liberty (freedom);
- not to threaten, assault, bother, attack, or otherwise disturb you;
- not to contact you in any way;
- be excluded (removed) from your home (regardless of who owns the home);
- stay away from any place specified by the court;
- not have or buy a firearm; and/or
- do anything else that the judge believes is necessary for your safety.
- Note: The order can also give you temporary custody of any minor children for up to 90 days.1
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
1 NE R.S. §§ 42-924(1); 42-925(1)
In which court do I file for a protection order?
You must file the petition in district court and the case may take place in either district court or in county court.1 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.2 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.
1 NE R.S. § 42-924(2)
2 NE R.S. § 25-2740(2)
Si el agresor vive en otro estado, ¿puedo conseguir una orden en su contra?
Si el/la agresor/a vive en un estado diferente al suyo, el/la juez/a podría no tener “jurisdicción personal” (poder) sobre ese/a agresor/a. Esto significa que es posible que el tribunal no pueda otorgar una orden en contra de él/ella.
Hay algunas formas en las que una corte puede tener jurisdicción personal sobre un/a agresor/a que es de otro estado:
- El/la agresor/a tiene una conexión sustancial a su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a viaja regularmente a su estado para visitarlo/a, por negocios, para ver la familia extendida, o el/la agresor/a vivía en su estado y huyó recientemente.
- Uno de los actos de maltrato “ocurrió” en su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a le envía mensajes amenazantes o le hace llamadas acosadoras desde otro estado pero usted lee los mensajes o contesta las llamadas mientras usted está en su estado. El/la juez/a puede decidir que el maltrato “ocurrió” mientras estaba en su estado. También puede ser posible que el/la agresor/a estaba en su estado cuando le maltrató pero desde entonces se fue del estado.
- Otra forma para que la corte adquiera jurisdicción es si usted presenta su petición en el estado donde usted está, y el/la agresor/a recibe notificación de la petición de la corte mientras él/ella está en ese estado.
Sin embargo, aunque nada de esto aplique a su situación, eso no necesariamente significa que usted no pueda conseguir una orden. A usted le pueden dar una orden por consentimiento o el/la juez/a puede encontrar otras circunstancias que permitan que la orden sea dada. Puede leer más sobre jurisdicción personal en nuestra sección de Asuntos Básicos del Sistema Judicial - Jurisdicción Personal.
Nota: Si el/la juez/a de su estado se niega a dar una orden, usted puede pedir una orden en la corte del estado donde vive el/la agresor/a. Sin embargo, recuerde que es probable que usted necesite presentar la petición en persona y asistir a varias citas en la corte, lo cual podría ser difícil si el estado de el/la agresor/a es lejos.