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)