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Legal Information: Nebraska

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of July 10, 2024

What is the legal definition of harassment in Nebraska?

For the purpose of getting a harassment protection order, the state of Nebraska defines “harassment” as intentionally doing multiple acts (a “course of conduct”) that seriously terrify, threaten, or intimidate you. There must also be no lawful (legitimate) reason for doing those acts.1

Some examples of this could be following, stalking, repeatedly contacting, or physically holding (restraining/detaining) you.1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.02(2)(a)

What types of harassment protection orders are there? How long do they last?

When you apply for an order, the judge can issue an ex parte temporary order without prior notice to the abuser. The judge must believe that irreversible (irreparable) harm, loss, or damage will happen if you had to first serve the abuser and wait for a hearing. Then, the abuser will be served with the order and s/he has ten days to request a show cause hearing if s/he wants to object to the order. If the abuser requests the hearing, it will be scheduled within 30 days. Therefore, the ex parte order could last for up to 40 days.

However, if the abuser does not request a hearing, then the harassment protection order that the judge issued ex parte will last for one year.1

1 NE R.S. § 28-311.09(7)

What protections can I get in a harassment protection order?

In a harassment protection order, the judge can order the abuser not to:

  • place any limits on you or your freedom;
  • harass, threaten, assault, bother (molest), attack, or otherwise disturb your peace; and
  • contact you in any way.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 Nebraska Judicial Branch website’s frequently asked questions

What happens when I apply for a harassment protection order?

When you apply for a harassment protection order, one of the following things may happen:

  1. The judge will issue a temporary ex parte protection order, without notifying the other party beforehand. The judge must believe that you would suffer severe harm, loss, or damage before there could be a hearing with both you and the abuser. The abuser may then ask for a show-cause hearing;
  2. The judge will deny the ex parte order. Then, the judge might schedule a hearing within 14 days at which point the respondent can “show cause” why an order should not be issued and you can prove why it should be issued. Or if the judge thinks you definitely don’t qualify, the judge may deny the ex parte order without scheduling the show cause the hearing; or
  3. The judge will decide that it’s more appropriate to give you a harassment protection order or a domestic abuse protection order. Then, the judge would hold a hearing where the abuser would have to “show cause” why the judge should not issue one of those orders.

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

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.