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Legal Information: Nebraska

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
April 26, 2024

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 forms online by going to our NE Download Court Forms page. 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; and
  • 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 that fits your situation, such as slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc. 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, why they made you fearful, and how the fear has affected your life.

A domestic violence organization may be able to help you fill out the forms. See our 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 since it needs to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.3

1 NE R.S. § 42-924(2)
2 NE R.S. § 42-924.02(2)
3 See Petition and Affidavit to Obtain Domestic Violence Protection Order

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 ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition and decides whether or not to issue you an ex parte order. The judge must 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 could schedule a hearing within 14 days where you and 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 abuser along with a form for the abuser to request a “show-cause hearing.” Note: If the abuser wants to request a show-cause hearing to object to the order being issued, 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

The courts will forward copies of your papers to law enforcement, who will then try to serve the papers on the abuser.2 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 you believe that serving the respondent at his/her work or in some other way would put you in danger, you can include this information in the forms that you fill out and request that the abuser not be served at that location. 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. § 42-926(1)

Step 4: The hearing for a final protection order

Unlike most other states where a hearing is automatically set, under Nebraska law, there may or may not be a hearing scheduled for a final order. A hearing could be scheduled if:

  1. the judge does not give you an ex parte order;1 or
  2. the judge does grant you an ex parte order, and any of the following are true:
  • the abuser requests a “show-cause hearing” within 10 business days of being served with the ex parte order;
  • you request a hearing; or
  • the judge decides on his/her own to hold a hearing.2

If there is a hearing, you must attend and you’ll have to prove that the abuser has committed an act of domestic abuse against you or your child.

Note: At the hearing, the judge could decide to issue a harassment protection order or a sexual assault protection order instead of a domestic abuse 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

It may be very helpful to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. Go to our NE Finding a Lawyer page for resources. If you are going to be representing yourself, see the At the Hearing section in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

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