For what crimes can I get an order for protection of children?
If you are the parent or guardian of a child (under age 18), you can file for an “order for protection of children” if you reasonably believe that an adult (18 or older) has committed a crime involving one or more of the following:
- Physical injury to the child that did not happen by accident (non-accidental),
- Non-accidental mental injury to the child,
- Sexual abuse of the child, or
- Sexual exploitation of the child.1
1 N.R.S. § 33.400(1)
What types of orders for protection of children are there and how long do they last?
A temporary order for protection of children is an order that can be granted based on the information you include in your petition as well as your testimony or any evidence you present when you are in front of the judge who is reviewing your petition. You can get the order without the abuser being present in court or notified of your application for a temporary order (known as an ex parte order).1 If a judge believes that a crime has been committed, s/he can grant a temporary order. The temporary order will last up to 30 days or until your court hearing for an extended order takes place (assuming that you file a petition for an extended order within those 30 days).2
Note: Once your temporary ex parte order is served on the abuser, s/he can file legal papers to ask the court to change or drop the temporary order sooner than the scheduled hearing. S/he has to give you only two days’ notice of this new hearing.3
An extended order lasts for up to one year.4 If you did not request an extended order when you applied for a temporary order and you would like an extended order, you will need to file a petition for an extended order before your temporary order expires.2 Extended orders can only be granted after the abuser has been given notice of the hearing and a hearing takes place in which you and the abuser each have an opportunity to present evidence and tell your different sides of the story.1 You may want to have a lawyer represent you at this hearing, especially if you think the abuser will have one. For free and paid legal services, go to our NV Finding a Lawyer page.
1 N.R.S. § 33.400(4)
2 N.R.S. § 33.420(1)
3 N.R.S. § 33.420(2)
4 N.R.S. § 33.420(3)
How can an order for protection of children help my child?
A temporary or extended order can:
- Tell the abuser to stay away from the home, school, business, or place of employment of the child and any other location specifically named by the court;
- Prohibit the abuser from contacting, intimidating, threatening, or otherwise interfering with the child and any other person specifically named by the court, including members of the child’s family or household; and
- Include other restrictions on the abuser that the court considers necessary to protect the child or to protect any other person specifically named by the court, including members of the child’s family or household.1
Note: If an abuser is criminally charged with certain crimes against your minor child, and is released from jail before trial or is found guilty or guilty but mentally ill during the trial, the court may issue a temporary or extended order with the restrictions listed above or include those restrictions as conditions for the release or criminal sentence of the abuser.2 Remember, if you are not sure about what happened in the criminal case, ask the prosecutor. By law, s/he has to inform you of the result of the case if you ask.3
1 N.R.S. § 33.400(2)
2 N.R.S. § 33.400(3)
3 N.R.S. § 33.440(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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.