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.
Note: If the abuser has been arrested, you may be able to file for temporary order by telephone while the abuser is in police custody/jail.* See What is an order for protection against domestic violence? What types of orders are there? for more information.
* N.R.S. § 33.020(7)-(9)
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.*
Write about the most recent incident(s) of violence, using descriptive language (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)".
Note: If you do not want the abuser to know where you are staying or where you work, you may be able to keep this and certain other information confidential, which means that the abuser will not see it. If so, specifically ask the court clerk or advocate how you can do this.
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.
* 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 person* 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.
* N.R.S. § 33.020(1)-(2)
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.). The order is only effective once it is served. 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.* If the abuser does not receive notice, the hearing will be rescheduled. Talk to a court clerk about serving these papers, which is known as “service of process.” 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. There is no cost for law enforcement personnel to serve the abuser with the temporary order and notice of the hearing for the extended order.** If law enforcement is not able to serve the abuser in person, there are other ways that law enforcement may be able to serve it (i.e., by delivering it to his/her work and mailing it). For more information, you can go to our NV Statutes page and read section 33.065. You cannot serve the papers yourself.
* N.R.S. § 33.020(3)
** N.R.S. § 33.060(2)
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).* 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.** 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 Preparing Your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.
* N.R.S. § 33.020(4),(5)
** N.R.S. § 33.080(2)