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Nebraska Legal Separation
Legal Separation in Nebraska

A legal separation in Nebraska is identical to a divorce in all legal issues except that it does not end the marriage. Unlike an informal separation, a judge grants a legal separation, and court orders issued are enforceable as law. Legally separated couples can live apart, but they cannot remarry because they are still legally married.

Nebraska's legal separation statutes are found in Chapter 42 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.

Any married person in Nebraska can file for a legal separation at any time. Typically, when a couple cannot meet the divorce residency requirements, they file for a legal separation instead.

Like divorces, legal separations address issues such as alimony, property settlements, child support and child custody. For example, Nebraska Revised Statutes 42-364.17 states that all legal separation decrees must include financial arrangements for the care of any children of the marriage. This includes arrangements for which parent provides medical care, dental care, day care, education expenses and any other expenses associated with child support or child care obligations.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.


In Nebraska, the process of obtaining a legal separation is the same as filing for divorce. The petitioner must file a Petition for Legal Separation and a Decree for a Legal Separation with the appropriate district court. The complaint includes the name and address of the spouses, date and place of marriage, the terms and condition of child custody and visitation, asset and liability division, a statement of the relief sought by the plaintiff, including adjustment of custody, property, and support rights, and an allegation that the marriage is irretrievably broken.


In Nebraska the only grounds for a legal separation are the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.


For a legal separation, Nebraska has no residency requirement, but if the residency requirement for a divorce are met after filing the petition for a separation, the filing spouse may change the action from a separation to dissolution.


In Nebraska, a sheriff or legally authorized person must deliver the complaint to the respondent. The court won't issue a decree of legal separation unless the respondent is formally and properly informed of the action. If the respondent cannot be served because he or she cannot be found, the petitioner must ask the court for permission to use alternative methods such as service by publication or notice through the mail.

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