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Legal Information: Nebraska

Nebraska Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Basic information

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,
  • children,
  • 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:

  1. the abuser does not request a show-cause hearing and you do not request one nor does the judge decide to order one;
  2. a hearing is held, and the abuser does not appear at the hearing;
  3. 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)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Who can get a domestic violence protection order

Am I eligible for a domestic violence protection order?

You may be eligible to file for a domestic violence protection order if you have been the victim of abuse by one of the following family or household members:

  • your spouse or former spouse;
  • a person with whom you currently live or used to live;
  • a person with whom you have had a child, even if you were never married;
  • a person you are dating or have dated in the past;
  • a relative by blood or marriage; or
  • your child.1

If you do not qualify for a domestic violence protection order, you may qualify for a harassment protection order. See our Harassment Protection Orders section for more information.

1 NE R.S. § 42-903(3)

Can I get a protection order against a same-sex partner?

In Nebraska, you may apply for a domestic violence protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible for a domestic violence protection order?  You must also be the victim of an act of abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of abuse in Nebraska?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

How much does it cost to get a protection order?

There is no fee for filing for or serving a protection order. However, the judge may order you to pay fees and costs if the judge determines that the statements in the petition were false and that the protection order was sought in “bad faith.” Furthermore, at the final hearing, a judge may order the respondent to pay these costs.1

1 NE R.S. § 42-924.01

Do I need an attorney to get a protection order?

You do not need an attorney to file for a protection order, but it is generally better to have one, especially if there will be a hearing or if the abuser is represented by one. A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free. Often, domestic violence organizations can help you through the process if you do not have an attorney. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the NE Finding a Lawyer page. To find a domestic violence organization, fo to our NE Advocates and Shelters page.

Steps for getting a domestic violence protection order

Step 1: Go to court and file a petition.

Go to the district court to file your petition.1 You can find a court near you by going to our NE Courthouse Locations page. You can also find links to the form online by going to NE Download Court Forms. The forms will ask you to include all relevant information, including, but not limited to:

  • a description of the most recent incident;
  • a description of the most severe incident;
  • the dates or approximate dates of such incidents.2

Carefully fill out the forms. Write about the incidents of violence or abuse, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Be specific. Include details and dates, if possible. If your petition is based on threats rather than a physical incident, write about how the threats affected you. If the threats made you fearful, you can explain why the threat caused you fear (for example, perhaps due to past behavior/threats). If the fear has affected your daily activities (for example, causing you to change your routine, etc.), you can explain how the fear has affected your life in this way.

A domestic violence organization may be able to provide you with help filling out the form. See NE Advocates and Shelters page for the location of an organization near you.

Note: Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk, as the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.

1 NE R.S. § 42-924(2)
2 NE R.S. § 42-924.02(2)

Step 2: A judge will review your petition and may issue an ex parte order.

After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether or not to issue you an ex parte order. The 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

1 NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
2 NE R.S. § 42-925(3)

Step 3: Service of process

If the judge issues you an ex parte order, it will be served on the respondent (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. Note: If the abuser wants to request a show-cause hearing, s/he has to return this form to the clerk within ten business days of receiving the order and the hearing would be scheduled within 30 days.1 If the respondent does not request a hearing, then the order will remain in effect for one year.2

The courts will forward copies of your papers to law enforcement, who will then try to serve the papers.3 In order for the papers to be served upon (legally given to) the abuser, the sheriff will go to the abuser’s home, work, or other place s/he can be found to hand him/her the papers. If, for example, you believe that serving the respondent at his/her work will endanger you, you can include this information in the forms that you fill out and request that the abuser not be served at work. The order is not valid until law enforcement has served the respondent.

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

1 NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
2 NE R.S. § 42-925(5)
3 NE R.S. § 42-926(1)

Step 4: The hearing for a final protection order

There may or may not be a hearing. If the judge does not give you an ex parte order, the judge is supposed to schedule a hearing within 14 days where you can better prove your case.1 If the judge does grant you an ex parte order, there will only be a hearing if:

  • the abuser requests a “show-cause hearing” within 10 business days of being served with the ex parte order;
  • you request one; or
  • the judge decides on his/her own to hold a hearing.2

The hearing will immediately be scheduled and will take place within 30 days.2 You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your order will expire and you will have to start the process over again. At this show-cause hearing, the judge could decide to instead issue a harassment protection order or a sexual assault protection order if the judge believes one of those orders is more appropriate or if you request it. Then, the abuser would have to “show cause” why the judge should not issue one of those orders.3

If there is a hearing, you must prove that the abuser has committed an act of domestic abuse (as defined by the law) against you or your children. You must also convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the order.

Note: If at this hearing, the judge finds that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the statements in your petition were false and that the protection order was sought in bad faith, the judge could order you to pay the court fees.4

See the Preparing Your Case section under for ways you can show the judge that you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

1 NE R.S. § 42-925(3)
2 NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
3 NE R.S. § 42-925(3), (7)​
4 NE R.S. § 42-924.01

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Nebraska have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

There are several things that you may want to consider doing upon leaving the courthouse.  You will have to evaluate each one and see if it is safe for your situation.  You may want to:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Make several copies of the order as soon as possible and leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.

For more ways to stay safe, go to our Safety Planning page.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation.  An abuser can be arrested, fined and/or jailed.  A violation of a protection order can be a Class I misdemeanor - and if the abuser has a prior conviction for violating any protection order, then violating your order can be a Class IV felony.1  

Nebraska law requires that an arrest be made if “probable cause” exists that the respondent violated a domestic abuse protection order.2  If you feel that law enforcement officers did not respond according to Nebraska law, you should contact an attorney to discuss the issue and to see what legal actions can be taken.  Go to our NE Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

If the police become involved, it is generally a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and his/her badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.  Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made.  If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may be useful in the future.

1 NE R.S. § 42-924(4)
2 NE R.S. § 42-928

Can I extend my protection order?

A protection order can be extended (renewed) for a period of one year. To extend your order, you must file a petition and affidavit to renew the protection order within the 45 days before your order is set to expire. Regardless of when you file the affidavit and petition, the renewed order would be effective beginning on the first day after your current order expires and would expire one year from that date.1

You can get your order renewed even if there has been no additional incidents. So, even if your affidavit states there has been no major (material) change in the relevant circumstances since you got the order, you can still get your order renewed if:

  1. you are not asking for the order to be changed (modified) in any way; and
  2. the respondent:
    • has been properly served with notice of the petition for renewal and notice of the hearing and s/he doesn’t show up at the hearing; or
    • the respondent lets the court know that s/he does not disagree with the renewal.2

1 NE R.S. § 42-924(3)(b)(i), (3)(b)(iii)
2 NE R.S. § 42-924(3)(b)(ii)

What happens if I move?

Your order is good everywhere in the state.  Additionally, federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a protection order, it follows you wherever you go in the United States, including U.S. territories and tribal lands.

Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state orders. You can find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your new area.

You may want to call the court where you originally received the order to tell them your new address so that they can contact you if necessary - be sure to let them know if the address is confidential and ask how to make sure it cannot be accessed by the respondent.

To read more about this, please visit our Moving to Another State with a Protection Order page.

Sexual Assault Protection Orders

Basic info and definitions

What is a sexual assault protection order?

A sexual assault protection order is a court order that can protect you from an abuser if you are the victim of a “sexual assault offense.”1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(1)

What is the legal definition of a sexual assault offense?

A “sexual assault offense” includes (click on the term to read the actual statute or continue reading to see a “plain language” explanation of the crime):

  • sexual assault;
  • sexual contact or sexual penetration without consent; and
  • sexual assault of a child.1

Sexual assault means that the abuser sexually “penetrates” you or exposes you to “sexual contact” (defined below):

  • without your consent;
  • while you were physically or mentally unable to resist or understand what was happening (and the abuser knew or should have known your condition); or
  • while the abuser is 19 years old or older and you are between the ages of 12 and 16.2

Sexual contact occurs when an abuser intentionally does any of the following with the purpose of causing sexual arousal:

  • touches your sexual or intimate body parts or the clothing covering your sexual or intimate body parts;
  • causes you to touch his/her sexual or intimate body parts or the clothing covering his/her sexual or intimate body parts; or
  • touches a child with his/her sexual or intimate body parts on any part of the child’s body.3

Sexual penetration means sexual intercourse, including oral sex, anal intercourse, or any invasion (even a small one) to any part of your body or the abuser’s body. Sexual penetration also includes any object that the abuser uses to penetrate your genital or anal openings in a way that cannot be reasonably considered as being for medical or health purposes. Sexual penetration does not have to include the discharge of semen.4

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(14)
2 NE R.S. §§ 28-319(1); 28-320(1)
3 NE R.S. § 28-318(5)
4 NE R.S. § 28-318(6)

What happens when I apply for a sexual assault protection order?

When you apply for a sexual assault protection order, there are four things that may happen:

  1. The judge may sign the protection order “ex parte,” which means without a hearing where both parties are present and before the other party receives notice. A judge may grant your ex parte order if s/he believes that you would suffer severe harm, loss, or damage before there could be a hearing with both you and the abuser;
  2. The judge could deny the ex parte order and instead, schedule an evidentiary hearing within fourteen days at which point the respondent can “show cause” why an order should not be issued;
  3. The judge could decide that your in your situation, it would be more appropriate for you to have a harassment protection order or a domestic abuse protection order and could hold a hearing where the abuser would have to “show cause” why the judge should not issue one of those orders; or
  4. The judge may choose to deny the protection order without a hearing if it appears from your petition that you do not qualify for the requested order.1

If you get the ex parte order, the order is then served to the abuser and s/he has ten days to request what is called a “show-cause hearing” to present his/her evidence and ask that the order be dismissed. At this hearing, the abuser must prove to the judge why the order should not remain in effect and you will have to prove why you should keep the order. If the abuser requests a show-cause hearing, the judge will schedule the hearing within 30 days and will notify you and the harasser of the court date.1

Note: If you want the abuser to be prohibited from having a firearm, the judge must hold a protection order hearing. You, as the victim, can request this hearing if the abuser does not make the request.2

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(7), (8); Nebraska Judicial Branch website
2Nebraska Judicial Branch website

How long does a sexual assault protection order last?

If the judge does not grant your ex parte sexual assault protection order, you may still have a chance to return to court for a final order. The abuser must be served with notice of the case. If the abuser requests a hearing, the courts will schedule a hearing within 14 days of service so that you have a chance to prove that you need a final sexual assault protection order. If the judge grants you an order at that hearing, the order will remain in effect for one year.1

If the judge grants an ex parte sexual assault protection order, the abuser must be served with a copy of that order and have a chance to request a hearing. If the abuser requests the hearing, the judge will use the hearing to decide whether to cancel your order or continue it for one year. If the abuser does not request a hearing within 5 days of being served with the protection order (or if the judge grants you an order at that hearing), the order will remain in effect for one year without having any further court hearings.1

In either case, if the abuser doesn’t request the show-cause hearing, you would not have to face the abuser in court.

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(7)

What protections can I get in a sexual assault protection order?

In a sexual assault protection order, the judge can order that the abuser not:

  • place any limits on you or your freedom;
  • harass, threaten, assault, molest, attack, or otherwise disturb your peace; and
  • telephone, contact, or otherwise communicate with you.1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(1)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Getting the order

Who can get a sexual assault protection order?

What are the steps involved with getting a sexual assault protection order?

How much does a sexual assault protection order cost?

There are no fees or costs to get a sexual assault protection order. However, the judge can order you to pay court fees and costs if s/he finds that you lied in your petition and filed for a protection order in “bad faith” (for inappropriate reasons).1

1NE R.S. § 28-311.11(5)(a)

What if the abuser violates the order?

If someone knowingly violates a sexual assault protection order, s/he could be committing a crime. Violating a sexual assault protection is a Class I misdemeanor if it is the abuser’s first offense. It is a Class IV felony if the person has a prior conviction for violating a sexual assault protection order.1 You can call 911 immediately and the police may arrest the abuser if s/he has probable cause to believe the abuser violated the order.2

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(4)
2 NE R.S. § 28-311.11(10)

Can I extend my protection order?

A protection order can be extended (renewed) once a year for a period of one year. To extend your order, you must file a petition and affidavit to renew the protection order within the 45 days before your order is set to expire. Regardless of when you file the affidavit and petition, the renewed order would be effective beginning on the first day after your current order expires and would expire one year from that date.1

You can get your order renewed even if there has been no additional incidents. So, even if your affidavit states there has been no major (material) change in the relevant circumstances since you got the order, you can still get your order renewed if:

  1. you are not asking for the order to be changed (modified) in any way; and
  2. the respondent:
    • has been properly served with notice of the petition for renewal and notice of the hearing and s/he doesn’t show up at the hearing; or
    • the respondent lets the court know that s/he does not disagree with the renewal.2

1 NE R.S. § 28–311.11(12)(a), (12)(c)
2 NE R.S. § 28–311.11(12)(b)

Harassment Protection Orders

A harassment protection order is an official court order designed to protect any victim of harassment. If you do not qualify for a domestic violence protection order, you may be able to get a harassment protection order.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of harassment in Nebraska?

For the purposes of getting a harassment protection order, the state of Nebraska defines harassment as when someone intentionally does multiple things to seriously terrify, threaten, or intimidate you for no reason. Some examples of this could be following, stalking, repeatedly contacting, or physically holding (restraining or detaining) you.1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.02(2)(a)

What is a harassment protection order? What protections can I get in a harassment protection order?

A harassment protection order is an official court order designed to protect ANY victim of harassment. A judge can issue a harassment protection order to prevent someone from bothering, harassing, threatening, assaulting, molesting or attacking you, trying to control you (or your rights), or communicating with you in any way (i.e. calling, emailing, texting, etc.).1

Note: Unlike a domestic abuse protection order, a harassment protection order cannot give you custody of your children.2

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(1)
2 See NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.

What happens when I apply for a harassment protection order?

When you apply for a harassment protection order, there are four things that may happen:

  1. The judge may sign the protection order “ex parte” which means without a prior hearing and before the other party receives notice. Ex parte orders are typically granted if the judge believes that you would suffer severe harm, loss, or damage before the case could be heard with you and the harasser present;
  2. The judge could decide that your in your situation, it would be more appropriate for you to have a sexual assault protection order or a domestic abuse protection order and could hold a hearing where the abuser would have to “show cause” why the judge should not issue one of those orders;
  3. The judge may decide not to give you an ex parte order and instead require you and the harasser to come to court for a hearing; or
  4. The judge may choose to deny the protection order without a hearing if your petition does not qualify for the requested order.1

If you get the ex parte order, the order is then served to the harasser and s/he has ten days to request what is called a “show-cause hearing” to tell his/her side of the story and ask that the order be dismissed. At this hearing, the harasser must prove to the judge why the order should not remain in effect and you will have to prove why you should keep the order. If the harasser requests a show-cause hearing, the judge will schedule the hearing within 30 days and will notify you and the harasser of the court date.2

Whether the ex parte order was issued or not, the judge will use the hearing to determine if your order should continue or be dismissed.

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(7), (8); see NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.
2 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(7)

How long does a harassment protection order last?

How long the ex parte order lasts may depend on whether or not the harasser requests a show-cause hearing once s/he is served with the petition and the order, which is explained in What happens when I apply for a harassment protection order? If the harasser requests the hearing, the judge will use the hearing to determine if the protection order will be canceled or if it will continue for one year. If the harasser does not request a hearing within 5 days of being served with the protection order, the order will remain in effect for one year without having any further court hearings.1 In that case, you would not have to face the harasser in court.

If the harasser was properly served with the ex parte order and s/he does not appear in court for the hearing to contest (fight against) the order, the original service of the ex parte order is considered proper service and s/he does not have to be served again with the order after the hearing.2

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(7)
2 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(9)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Getting a harassment protection order

Am I eligible to file for a harassment protection order?

Any person who has suffered harassment as defined by Nebraska law can apply to the court for a harassment protection order.1 It does not matter who the person harassing you is. It can be a stranger or someone you know.

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(1)

How much does a harassment protection order cost?

There are no fees for filing a harassment order (but the judge may possibly order the respondent to pay court costs).1 However, if the judge finds that any false statements were made in the petition and the request for the order was made in “bad faith,” the judge may order you to pay court filing fees.2

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(5)(b)
2 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(5)(a)

What are the steps for getting a harassment protection order?

Do I have to share my personal information when filling out the court forms?

If you are afraid to include your personal information on the court forms (because your harasser will receive a copy of all of the forms you fill out), you may request that your address be kept confidential.1 However, please keep in mind that it is important that the clerk knows how to get in contact with you.

If you are worried about the harasser finding out your address, you may also want to learn more about the Nebraska Office of the Secretary of State’s Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

1 See NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.

Do I need to bring anything to court?

On the initial court date, when filing for your order, you may need to bring photo identification in order to show the person notarizing your signature.

On the return court date (if there is a show-cause hearing), it is often best to get a lawyer to represent you in a hearing.  You and your lawyer will discuss what you should bring with you on the court date.  Go to our NE Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. If you are going to be representing yourself, you may want to bring any proof of harassment with you that you may have, such as:

  • Photographs of injuries (and if possible the person who took the photographs);
  • Any threatening notes, emails, phone or text messages (Note: please talk to a lawyer about the best way to submit evidence of voicemails or text messages. Brining the phone into court to show the texts to the judge, for example, may not be practical if the judge will want to keep the phone in the court file as is done with other evidence that is used in the hearing); and
  • A witness who saw or overheard the harassment (keep in mind, however, that some courts only allow the person being harassed and the harasser to testify).1

See also our Preparing Your Case page for more tips and information on what to expect at a hearing and how to prepare yourself beforehand.

1 See NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.

How does the order get served (delivered) to the respondent (harasser)?

The sheriff’s office in the county where the harasser lives will be responsible for serving the harassment protection order to the harasser. The court clerk will provide a copy of the order to the sheriff’s office with instructions for serving the order. The sheriff’s office must then serve the order to the harasser and file proof of service with the court clerk within 14 days of the date that the harassment protection order was issued.1Note: In order for the papers to be served upon (legally given to) the harasser, the sheriff will go to the harasser’s home, work, or other place s/he can be found to hand him/her the papers. If, for example, you believe that serving the respondent at his/her work will endanger you, you can include this information in the forms that you fill out and request that the harasser not be served at work.

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(9)

After the hearing

What do I do after the court hearing?

If you are given a protection order, you should carry a copy of the order with you at all times. This protection order is good in every state, so take it with you if you travel or move to another state.1

1 See NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

If the respondent (harasser) violates the order, you can call the police and s/he could be arrested. Violation of a harassment order is considered a Class II misdemeanor.1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(4), (10)

What if I move out of the county where the protection order was issued?

The order will still be valid and enforceable no matter what county you are in. However, you may want to contact law enforcement in the new county in which you live to let them know that you have an order.1

1 See NE Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions page.

Moving to Another State with a Nebraska Protection Order

If you are moving to another state or will be out of the state for any reason, your protection order can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my protection order from Nebraska enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Nebraska protection order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid protection order’s granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See the question below to find out if your protection order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state protection orders in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state protection order, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?

A protection order is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have an ex parte or temporary protection order.  Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?1

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

Getting your Nebraska protection order enforced in another state

How do I get my protection order enforced in another state? 

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection order enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid protection order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need a special copy of my protection order to it enforced?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protection order. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Nebraska, a certified order usually has a paper attached to the back with a stamp and the signature of a court official on it. It might also have a raised seal on it.

When the judge issues you an ex parte or final protection order, the clerk of the court will give you two certified copies of the order for free.1

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

1 NE R.S. § 42-926(1)

Can I get someone to help me?  Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your protection order enforced in another state.  However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to.  A domestic violence advocate may be able help you through the process.  To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

 

Do I need to tell the court in Nebraska if I move?

Maybe. The court needs to have an up-to-date address for you in order to communicate with you if anything happens to your protection order - for example, if the abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. The court will only communicate with you by mail. If they do not have an up to date address for you, you may miss some of these notices.

If you provide your new address to the court, you can ask that it be kept confidential. It will be kept in a confidential part of your file, and the public will not have access to it. However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either Nebraska or your new state. If you feel nervous about giving your address to the court, ask the clerk about applying for a substitute address with the Nebraska Secretary of State. You can have mail forwarded to your new address through the Secretary of State, and they won’t disclose your information.1

1 NE ST § 42-1204(1)

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your protection order.  You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.  To read more about custody laws, go to our Custody page.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children.  You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in Nebraska on our NE Places that Help page.

 

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protection order can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 USC § 2266

Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Nebraska

If you are planning to move to Nebraska or are going to be in Nebraska for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Nebraska

Can I get my protection order enforced in Nebraska? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in Nebraska as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

 

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Nebraska?

No.  Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order.  You cannot have this done by a court in Nebraska.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a protection order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Nebraska, you may be able to get a new one issued in Nebraska but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Nebraska.  To find out more information on how to get an protection order in Nebraska, visit our NE Domestic Violence Protection Orders page.

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in NE?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 NE can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, click here NE Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Registering your out-of-state order in Nebraska

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.Before moving to Nebraska, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order will be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in NE. All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protection order in Nebraska?

To register your protection order in Nebraska, you need to present a certified copy of your order either to the Nebraska State Patrol or to the county or district court clerk.1  You might also be able to fax your copy to the State Patrol to get it registered.  Call the State Patrol headquarters at (402) 471-4545 to find out if this is possible in your area.

There is no fee to register your protection order, but you may be asked to sign an affidavit (a sworn statement in writing) saying that the order is still in effect.2  When your order is registered, the clerk or officer will give you a certified copy of your registered order.3  It’s a good idea to bring your photo ID with you when you register your order - this is required in some counties.  Depending on what county you’re in, you might also be asked to fill out an information form or to present proof of service (something that says that the abuser had notice of the order).

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Nebraska for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our NE Places that Help page.

1 NE ST § 42-936 (a)(1),(2)
2 NE ST § 42-936 (d),(f)
3 NE ST § 42-936(b)

 

Do I have to register my protection order in Nebraska in order to get it enforced?

No. Nebraska state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as the officer believes that the order exists and that it is valid (real).1 It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Nebraska police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is valid.

1 NE ST § 42-935(d)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our NE Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a NE law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real. Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Nebraska.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in NE, go to our NE Advocates and Shelters page.

 

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Nebraska.1

1 NE ST § 42-936(b)