Step 1: File an application in court.
Go to the justice of the peace court or the district court and tell the court clerk that you want to fill out an application for an extended protection order and for a temporary order if you are in immediate danger. (Go to our NV Courthouse Locations page for the location nearest you. Go to our NV Download Court Forms page to see if the forms are available online.)
The application must be “verified,” which means you might have to sign it in front of the court clerk or a notary. Check with the court clerk before signing your papers. If you believe that including your address and contact information in the application would put you in danger, you can choose to not include your address and contact information in the application.1
Note: If the abuser has been arrested, you may be able to file for temporary order electronically while the abuser is in police custody/jail.2 See What is an order for protection against domestic violence? What types of orders are there? for more information.
1 N.R.S. § 33.020(2)
2 N.R.S. § 33.020(8)-(10)
Step 2: Fill out the petition.
Carefully fill out the petition. On the petition you will be the “applicant” and the abuser will be the “adverse party.” The court clerk or another person designated by the court can help you fill out the petition and any paperwork that needs to go with it for a temporary or extended order. The court clerk can also help fill out the paperwork for the response to a petition for a protection order if someone has filed against you. However, the court clerk or other designated party cannot provide legal advice.1
Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language, such as slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, choking, etc., that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific.
There are also instructions available on the Nevada Supreme Court website for filling out the petition and the court clerk may also have printed instructions. Click on “Domestic Violence - Application Instructions (Voluntary Forms)”.
Most domestic violence prevention organizations can provide support for you while you go through this process. To find help in your area, go to the NV Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.
1 N.R.S. § 33.050(3)
Step 3: A judge will consider your application.
After you complete the application, return it to the clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge, and the judge will consider your application. The judge may issue you a temporary order based only on what you wrote in your application, or the judge may wish to ask you some questions in person1 during what is called an ex parte hearing. “Ex parte” means “from one side only.” In this hearing, only you are in front of the judge, not the abuser. You will explain to the judge why you fear the abuser and feel that you need a temporary order for protection.
1 N.R.S. § 33.020(1)-(3)
Step 4: Service of process
If you are granted a temporary order, the abuser has to be served with a copy of it so s/he knows what s/he is restricted from doing (i.e., contacting you, coming to your home, etc.). If you apply for an extended order, the court will give you a hearing date where both you and the abuser have a right to be present. The abuser must be “served” with this notice of the hearing so that s/he knows s/he must appear in court.1
The court may send the paperwork to law enforcement personnel to be served, or you may have to bring the temporary order and notice of hearing to the police or sheriff yourself. Law enforcement must serve the papers without charging you any money. You cannot serve the papers yourself.
If you know the abuser’s home address, and law enforcement is unable to personally serve the abuser with the temporary order at his/her home, the law enforcement agency will leave a notice at the abuser’s last known address that directs him/her to contact them within 24 hours. If law enforcement makes three such attempts to serve the order and leaves three notices but the abuser doesn’t respond, you can file a petition in court to ask that law enforcement be able to serve the abuser at his/her job. If the abuser is unemployed, or if law enforcement agency attempts to serve the abuser at his/her job but they are unable to, you can file a petition in court to allow law enforcement to serve the abuser by an alternative service method other than personal service.
If you do not know the abuser’s home address, law enforcement can attempt to serve the abuser at his/her job. If law enforcement makes two attempts to personally serve the abuser at work but they cannot find him/her, law enforcement can leave a copy of the order at the abuser’s workplace and mail a copy there as well. Ten days after the date on which the documents are mailed to the abuser’s job, the abuser is considered “served” under the law.2
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 N.R.S. § 33.020(2)-(5)
2 N.R.S. §§ 33.060(2); 33.065(1)-(4)
Step 5: The hearing for an extended order
Nevada law states that a hearing must be held within 45 days of the court receiving your application for an extended order (but the hearing can be delayed twice for 90-day periods each if the abuser cannot be served before the scheduled hearing dates).1 However, if you get a temporary order for protection, the abuser may request that the hearing take place sooner than originally scheduled so that s/he can ask that the temporary order be dismissed or modified, so you may be given a new court date. The abuser would only have to give you two days’ notice of this hearing.2 You must go to all court hearings. If you do not go to the hearing(s), your order can be dismissed.
At the hearing, you must prove that the abuser has committed an act(s) of domestic violence (as defined by the law). You must also convince a judge that you need the protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you an order for protection, or the judge may order a new hearing date.
We strongly suggest getting an attorney to represent you at the hearing, especially if you think the abuser will have one. Go to our NV Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. If you end up representing yourself, go to our At the Hearing section under the Preparing for Court tab 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 N.R.S. § 33.020(4),(5)
2 N.R.S. § 33.080(2)