The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office has the responsibility of serving certain court documents that pertain to domestic situations. Among these are Child Custody Orders, Harassment Protection Orders, Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, and Show Cause Protection Orders. Serving these domestic related papers is a priority for the Sheriff's Office, and it attempts to accomplish service in the most prompt and efficient way possible.
NOTE: Information on this page is regarding the service of a domestic order. If you are seeking information on how to OBTAIN A PROTECTION ORDER, please follow these links to begin the process.
Child Custody Orders
Orders for Temporary Child Custody issue from the District Court. This orders a party in an action be granted physical custody of a minor child or children. It demands that the party being served the order relinquish custody to the petitioning party. The Sheriff's Office will serve these orders, but unless the judge issuing the order specifically directs the Sheriff's Office to facilitate the return of the child/children, deputies will not become involved in the transfer of custody, nor will they stand by while the transfer takes place. Requests by the petitioner to accompany deputies in the service of these orders are not granted unless certain exigent circumstances exist. Past experience has shown that the presence of the petitioner during service can escalate the potential for danger.
There are two distinct types of Protection Orders; Harassment Protection Orders and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders. Each have different requirements for issuance and are granted upon a judge's acceptance of the merits of the petitioner's application. Penalties for violation of either type of Protection Order are similar. If the application is unclear, or raises questions as to its merit, the judge will issue a Protection Order to Show Cause which sets a hearing before he/she will decide whether or not to issue a Protection Order.
- Harassment Protection Orders may be granted against any person harassing the petitioner that has engaged in a "willful course of conduct" which has frightened the petitioner. Behaviors can include repeated telephone calls, stalking, and detention.
- Domestic Abuse Protection Orders may be granted against a spouse, former spouse, a current or former roommate, a person that you have a child with, your child, or a relative. A petitioner must be able to show that this person has been physically violent or has threatened physical violence against the petitioner and caused her/him to fear physical harm by them. Under certain circumstances, temporary child custody may be addressed as part of the order.
- Protection Order to Show Cause directs the responding party to appear in court to "show cause" why a protection order should not be issued against him/her. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a Protection Order. Show cause orders can be issued in both harassment and domestic abuse situations.
The Sheriff's Office does not carry the forms necessary to obtain a Protection Order. However, they are available at the Lancaster County District Court Clerk's Office, the Rape Spouse Abuse Crisis Center, or the Lincoln Police Department's Victim/Witness Unit. The latter two will assist a petitioner in completing the forms at no cost.
The Sheriff's Office requires certain information to effect service of a Protection Order. If the information is not provided, the chances of service are greatly reduced. Service is necessary on any ex parte order of protection before it can take effect. Please make sure all information provided in the protection order application is complete and accurate. If any new information is obtained, please notify the Sheriff's Civil Division at (402) 441-6500 (Option 4) so it can update its records. If a photograph of the respondent is available, it may assist the deputy in identifying the party to be served. The Sheriff's Office is unable, however, to return any photographs.
The Sheriff's Office will not call the petitioner when the Protection Order has been served. It is her/his responsibility to check on service by calling (402) 441-6500 (Option 4) during regular business hours or (402) 441-6500 and speak with a Records System Specialist after hours. Please allow time for the deputies to attempt service. It is advisable to wait until the day after receiving the order to check. Repeated calls during business hours will not expedite the service of the order which already has a top service priority.
If the Protection Order has not been served within 14 days after issuance, it must be returned to the Court. It may be issued again if new information is provided by the Court.
There are no service fees for the processing and service of Protection Orders.
Vacating the Order
A petitioner no longer desiring the Protection Order to remain in effect, must petition the District Court to withdraw it. The Sheriff's Office cannot stop service attempts or return the order without hearing from the court that the Order has been vacated.
Phone Numbers Regarding Domestic Violence
- 24 hour Crisis Line for Rape Spouse Abuse Crisis Center and access to Friendship Home emergency shelter: (402) 475-7273
- District Court Clerk's Office: (402) 441-7328
- Lincoln Police Department/Lancaster County Sheriff's Office non-emergency: (402) 441-6000
- Rape Spouse Abuse Crisis Center: (402) 476-2110
- Lincoln Police Department Victim/Witness Unit: (402) 441-7181
- Emergency Law Enforcement: 911
If you have questions regarding enforcement of your Protection Order please contact your local law enforcement agency. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please call 9-1-1.