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Nebraska Divorce Laws
Residency and Filing Requirements:In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in Nebraska, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:
No action for dissolution of marriage may be brought unless at least one of the parties has had actual residence in this state with a bona fide intention of making this state his or her permanent home for at least one year prior to the filing of the complaint, or unless the marriage was solemnized in this state and either party has resided in this state from the time of marriage to filing the complaint.
Persons serving in the armed forces of the United States who have been continuously stationed at any military base or installation in this state for one year or, if the marriage was solemnized in this state, have resided in this state from the time of marriage to the filing of the complaint.
The dissolution of marriage may be filed in either county in which the spouse resides and there is a 60 day waiting period after the dissolution is filed until the court will grant the dissolution. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 342, 349)
Grounds for Filing:The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must declare the appropriate Nebraska grounds upon which the dissolution of marriage is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The dissolution of marriage grounds are as follows:
The court will grant a dissolution of marriage according to the following grounds:
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Evidence indicates that either spouse is mentally ill and lacks the ability to consent to a dissolution of marriage. This includes temporary incapacity caused by drug and alcohol use. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 361, 362)
Filing Spouse Title:Petitioner. The Petitioner is the spouse who initiates the filing procedure with the family law or domestic relations court. The filing spouse can also be titled the Co-Petitioner is filing jointly.
Non-Filing Spouse Title:Respondent. The Respondent is the spouse who does not file the initial dissolution of marriage papers, but rather receives them by service. The non-filing spouse can also be titled the Co-Petitioner is filing jointly.
Court Name:In the District Court for __________ County, Nebraska. This is the Nebraska court where the dissolution of marriage will be filed. The court will assign a case number and have jurisdictional rights to facilitate and grant the orders concerning, but not limited to: property and debt division, support, custody, and visitation. The name of the court is clearly represented at the top of all documents that are filed.
Primary Documents:Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. These are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a dissolution of marriage according to Nebraska law. There are anywhere from ten to twenty other documents that may be required throughout the filing process. A few other documents that are typically filed during the process are: Verification, Financial Affidavit, Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, and Notice of Final Hearing.
Court Clerk's Title:District Clerk's Office. The clerk or the clerk's assistants will be the people managing your paperwork with the court. The clerk's office will keep the parties and the lawyers informed throughout the process in regards to additional paperwork that is needed, further requirements, and hearing dates and times.
Property Distribution:Since Nebraska is an "equitable distribution" state, the marital property shall be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will declare the property award.
The division of property upon dissolution of marriage in Nebraska is a three step process. The first step is to classify the parties' property as marital or nonmarital. The second step is to value the marital assets and marital liabilities of the parties. The third step is to calculate and divide the net marital estate between the parties in an equitable fashion. This being said, both parties will retain the separate property they had prior to the marriage and if the parties can not agree on the property distribution, the court will consider the following factors when making a property award: the contribution each spouse had to acquiring the marital property; the current and future economic status of the spouses; the amount of time the spouses have been married; and the child custody arrangements if the spouses have minor children. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 365)
Restoration or Name Change:Either spouse is permitted to request to have his or her name restored in the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Spousal Support:Not all cases involve support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the court's discretion.
When dissolution of a marriage is decreed, the court may order payment of such alimony by one party to the other and division of property as may be reasonable, having regard for the circumstances of the parties, duration of the marriage, a history of the contributions to the marriage by each party, including contributions to the care and education of the children, and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities, and the ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of any minor children in the custody of such party. Reasonable security for payment may be required by the court. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 365)
Counseling or Mediation Requirements:No decree shall be entered unless the court finds that every reasonable effort to effect reconciliation has been made. Dissolution of marriage proceedings shall be subject to transfer to a Conciliation Court, in counties where such a court has been established. In counties having no Conciliation Court, the court hearing proceedings may refer the parties to qualified marriage counselors or family service agencies, or other persons or agencies determined by the court to be qualified to provide conciliation services, if the court finds that there appears to be some reasonable possibility of a reconciliation being effected. In no case shall the court order marriage counseling upon the request of only one of the parties to the dissolution or his or her attorney. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 360)
Child Custody:When minor children are involved in a dissolution of marriage, the Nebraska courts will do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion.
In determining custody arrangements and the time to be spent with each parent, the court shall consider the best interests of the minor child which shall include, but not be limited to: (a) The relationship of the minor child to each parent prior to the commencement of the action or any subsequent hearing; (b) The desires and wishes of the minor child if of an age of comprehension regardless of chronological age, when such desires and wishes are based on sound reasoning; (c) The general health, welfare, and social behavior of the minor child; and (d) Credible evidence of abuse inflicted on any family or household member;
In determining custody arrangements and the time to be spent with each parent, the court shall not give preference to either parent based on the sex of the parent and no presumption shall exist that either parent is more fit or suitable than the other.(4) Regardless of the custody determination of the court, (a) each parent shall continue to have full and equal access to the education and medical records of his or her child unless the court orders to the contrary and (b) either parent may make emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of his or her child while the child is in the physical custody of such parent pursuant to a visitation order entered by the court.
The court may place a minor child in joint custody after conducting a hearing in open court and specifically finding that joint custody is in the best interests of the minor child regardless of any parental agreement or consent. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 364)
Child Support:Nebraska child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent's income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child. All income is typically verified by examining past W-2's and child support worksheets are available at the courthouse.
In determining the amount of child support to be paid by a parent, the court shall consider the earning capacity of each parent and the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court for the establishment of child support obligations.
Upon application, hearing, and presentation of evidence of an abusive disregard of the use of child support money paid by one party to the other, the court may require the party receiving such payment to file a verified report with the court, as often as the court requires, stating the manner in which such money is used. Child support paid to the party having custody of the minor child shall be the property of such party. (Nebraska Statutes - Chapter 42 - Sections: 364)
Copyright Notice:The above synopsis of Nebraska divorce laws is original material which is owned and copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.
Nebraska requires that one of the parties reside in the state for at least one year before filing. Alternatively, a divorce action may be filed in Nebraska if the marriage ceremony was performed in the state, or if either spouse resides in Nebraska from the time of the marriage to the time the action is filed. The petitioner must have a bona fide intention to make the state his or her permanent residence.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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