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How to Get a Restraining Order in Nebraska

By Sally Brooks - Updated February 14, 2019
Getting a Restraining Order in Nebraska

If you are a victim of abuse, sexual abuse or harassment, you can seek an order from the court for protection. In Nebraska, a restraining order is a civil order designed to protect you from further abuse or harassment. Nebraska recognizes three types of protective orders: domestic violence protection orders, sexual assault protection orders and harassment protection orders. To request an order of protection, file three forms with the court: Petition and Affidavit, Praecipe and Social Security Numbers, Gender and Birth Date Form. Once the paperwork is received, the court will either issue an ex parte order immediately granting the petition or schedule a hearing to hear evidence on whether or not to grant the order of protection.

What Is a Restraining Order?

In Nebraska, restraining orders and protection orders are both terms used to describe an order from a judge intended to protect a person from abuse, sexual abuse or harassment. While the abuse, sexual abuse or harassment might also constitute a crime, a request for a protective order does not trigger criminal charges. A protection order is a way for a victim to proactively gain protection from further contact with the offending person. Because petitions for protection are civil matters, the person asking for the protection order is called a petitioner, while the person the action is brought against is called the respondent.

There are three types of protection or restraining orders in Nebraska: domestic violence protection orders, sexual assault protection orders and harassment protection orders. All have the same basic aim – to legally protect a petitioner from another person – but since they are set forth in different sections of the Nebraska Revised Statute, the protections offered vary slightly.

Understanding a Domestic Violence Protection Order

Under Nebraska law, domestic violence occurs between family or household members, including spouses or former spouses, children, people who live together or have lived together in the past, people who have a child in common whether or not they live together or are married, people who are related by blood or marriage and people who are dating or who have dated each other in the past.

The acts that are considered domestic abuse under Nebraska law are:

  • Intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily injury with or without a dangerous instrument.
  • Due to a credible threat, placing another person in fear of bodily injury. A credible threat can be a verbal, written or electronically communicated threat, a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of both. The person making the threat must have the apparent ability to carry out the threat, although it does not matter whether the person making the threat actually had the intent to follow through on the threat.
  • Engaging in sexual contact or sexual penetration without consent.

As part of a domestic violence protection order, a judge might include any or all of these orders:

  • Enjoining the respondent from imposing any restraint upon the petitioner or on the petitioner’s freedom.
  • Stopping the respondent from threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking or otherwise disturbing the peace of the petitioner.
  • Restraining the respondent from contact with the petitioner in any way.
  • Ordering the respondent to leave a shared home, even if the respondent owns the property.
  • Ordering the respondent to stay away from any place specified by the court, such as the petitioner’s workplace or a relative’s home.
  • Giving the petitioner temporary custody of any minor children for up to 90 days.
  • Prohibiting the respondent from possessing or buying a firearm.
  • Granting any other relief the court finds is necessary for the safety and welfare of the petitioner.

Understanding a Sexual Assault Protection Order

Nebraska law allows victims of a sexual assault offense to petition the court for an order of protection from the perpetrator. Sexual assault offenses are:

  • Sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, defined as sexual penetration without the consent of the victim, while the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was physically or mentally unable to resist or while the perpetrator was 19 years old or older, and the victim was between the ages of 12 and 16.
  • Sexual assault or attempted sexual assault of a minor.
  • Sexual contact or sexual penetration or attempted sexual contact or penetration without consent.

As part of a sexual assault protection order, a judge might grant any or all of these orders:

  • Enjoining the respondent from imposing any restraint upon the petitioner or on the petitioner’s freedom.
  • Prohibiting the respondent from harassing, threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking or otherwise disturbing the petitioner’s peace.
  • Prohibiting the respondent from contact with the petitioner in any way.

Understanding a Harassment Protection Order

A harassment protection order is designed to protect victims of harassment. According to Nebraska law, harassment occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct, such as making repeated telephone calls, stalking or multiple instances of physical detainment, that serve no legitimate purpose and seriously terrify, threaten or intimidate another person. A harassment order offers the same potential protections as a sexual assault protection order.

What Forms Are Required for a Protection Order?

Three types of forms must accompany every request for an order of protection, no matter what type of order is sought: a Petition and Affidavit, a Preaecipe and the Social Security Numbers, Gender, and Birth Date Form.

The Petition and Affidavit form lays out the petitioner’s case for a protective order for the court. Petition and Affidavit forms are tailored to each type of protection order that can be found on the State of Nebraska Judicial Branch website. The petitioner will be asked to provide contact information, but may request that such information be kept confidential. This Petition and Affidavit is where the petitioner will describe the acts of abuse, sexual assault or harassment in detail and request what relief the petitioner would like the court to order.

The Praecipe form provides the court and local law enforcement with information needed to serve the protection order on the respondent and formally asks the sheriff to complete service. The final form, the Social Security Numbers, Gender, and Birth Date form is used by the court to gather information, but is not included in the public court file. These forms are also available to download from the State of Nebraska Judicial Branch website.

What Happens After the Paperwork Is Filed?

After the petition is filed, a judge will review the request and do one of two things: issue an ex parte order or schedule a hearing on the petition. In the case of an ex parte order, Nebraska law allows judges to issue an order of protection solely on the basis of the petition if the judge believes the petitioner is in immediate danger. An ex parte order is a temporary order, which is served on the respondent with a form giving him the option to request a hearing. If the respondent does not request a hearing within five days of receiving the order, then the ex parte order stays in place for one year. The petitioner can request a hearing even if the judge issues an ex parte order.

If the judge schedules a hearing on the petition, it should take place within 14 days. If the respondent does not show up for the hearing, a final protection order will be issued and stay in place for one year. If both parties attend the hearing, the court will hear evidence from each side about why the order should or should not be granted and issue a ruling either granting or denying the order of protection.

About the Author

Sally Brooks is a writer living in New York City with her chunky toddler and patient husband. She graduated magna cum laude from the University Cincinnati College of Law and her work has been featured in Jurist and the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.

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