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Nebraska Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers
The forms differ depending on whether the parties have children and also on whether a party is the plaintiff (the spouse who files for divorce) or the defendant (the spouse who responds). If the spouses have minor children (children financially dependent on the plaintiff and who aren't legally emancipated), the parties must file the Simple Divorce with Children forms. But if they do not have any minor children together, the plaintiff should use the Simple Divorce without Children forms.
If the spouses have minor children, the forms include the Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage with Children, the Confidential Party and Social Security Information Forms, and the Vital Statistics Certificate. The plaintiff may also prepare the Financial Affidavit for Child Support and the Parenting Plan as well.
The Complaint, Confidential Forms, and Vital Statistics Certificate start the divorce.
If the spouses have no minor children, the forms include the Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage without Children, the Confidential Party and Social Security, Gender, Birth Dates form and the Vital Statistics Certificate.
Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant should sign affidavits, oaths, or sworn statements unless he or she is in the presence of a notary. Most of the forms come with separate instructions, which should be read and kept handy.
Filing the Paperwork with the Court
The plaintiff makes two copies of all documents and holds onto the original. One copy is filed with the court, one copy is sent to the defendant, and the plaintiff keeps the last one. The papers filed include the complaint, the Vital Statistics Certificate, and the Confidential Party Information and Social Security forms. There is a filing fee of $157 unless the plaintiff completes the Affidavit and Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and the court agrees that the fee should be waived because he or she is indigent. After paying the fee (or getting it waived) and presenting the correct, complete forms, the clerk creates a divorce file and assigns it a case number for all future documents.
Serving the Documents
The other spouse should be served as soon as possible after filing with the court. He or she must be served within six months of filing the complaint, or the divorce case is automatically dismissed.
Nebraska requires personal service by hand-delivery or substituted service by mail.
Within 20 days of issue, the server, other than by certified mail, makes proof of service to the court stating the time, place (including the address if applicable), name of the person with whom the summons was left and method of service. Otherwise, they should return the undelivered summons to the court with a statement of the reason for the failure to serve. When service is by certified mail, the plaintiff, or plaintiff's attorney, files proof of service within ten days after return of the signed receipt.
Disclosing Financial Information
Both spouses have to complete the Financial Affidavit in a contested divorce, which happens when the parties do not agree on all the terms and conditions. The affidavit, a statement sworn in front of a notary public, details each partner’s financial picture - employment, assets and liabilities, and income and expenses. From this, the court understands more about, for example, how much child support should be paid, or whether one spouse needs alimony. A divorce with children also includes a Financial Affidavit for Child Support.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
The grounds for dissolution of marriage must be substantiated with evidence or testimony; otherwise the court may dismiss the case. If the couples agree the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will likely rule that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If one of the parties disputes that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing of the complaint and the prospect of reconciliation, and shall make a finding of whether the marriage is irretrievably broken or not.
Finalizing the Divorce
In Nebraska, there is a 60-day waiting period after the dissolution is filed until the court grants the dissolution. If there are children involved or if there is any dispute over property, the divorce will most likely take longer.
Nebraska divorce laws state that a court shall not enter a divorce decree unless the court finds that there has been a reasonable effort to achieve reconciliation. If the court determines that there is a reasonable opportunity for reconciliation, the case may be referred to a conciliation court in the counties with such a court, or to qualified marriage counselors or family service agencies in other counties.
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