Nebraska

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Nebraska

For a Nebraska court to have jurisdiction over a dissolution action at least one of the parties must have actual residence in Nebraska for at least one year prior to the filing of the petition or the marriage was solemnized in Nebraska and either party has resided in this state from the time of the marriage to filing the petition.

This second requirement is used when the parties have been married for less than a year.

Grounds for Divorce in Nebraska

The Nebraska Legislature has adopted a “no fault” divorce scheme permitting the divorce or dissolution of a marriage upon a finding that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Therefore, a party does need to prove the reasons they are seeking the dissolution. Rather, they must show that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and attempts to reconcile were unsuccessful.

Marital and Non-Marital Property in Nebraska Divorce

Marital property includes all property accumulated and acquired during the marriage. Property brought into marriage by one of the parties should be set aside to that party and not be considered part of the marital estate.

Also, property acquired during the marriage by one of the parties through a gift or inheritance ordinarily is set off to that party and is not considered part of the marital estate.

Debts and Marital Property and Assets in Nebraska Divorce

Debts, liabilities, and losses incurred during the course of the marriage should be included within the marital estate and divided along with the parties’ assets. Any losses should be deducted from the marital estate and not from the separate property of the parties unless solely attributable to the separate property.

In Nebraska, the usual practice is to require one of the parties to pay a debt and hold the other party harmless from any liability thereon.

Settlement Agreements

Under Nebraska law, to promote an amicable settlement between the parties upon their separation or dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written property settlement agreement containing provisions regarding the disposition of property, support and custody of minor children, and the maintenance of either of them.

A property settlement agreement is similar to a contract; once signed by the parties, it cannot, as a matter of right, be withdrawn from, vacated or modified.  Property settlement agreements avoid the risk that a trial will produce a less favorable outcome as well as cost more in time and attorney fees.

Spousal Maintenance and Alimony in Nebraska Divorce

Spousal maintenance is commonly used interchangeably with alimony and spousal support. In Nebraska, the purpose of alimony is to provide continued maintenance or support of one party by the other when the trial court deems it appropriate.

In determining whether to award spousal support or the amount of spousal support the court, the criterion is “reasonableness.”

To assist in its decision the court will analyze several factors, these factors may include: 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, 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.

Child Custody in Nebraska

Child custody in a dissolution or legal separation is determined on the basis of the best interests of the minor children with the objective of maintaining the ongoing involvement of both parents in the minor children’s lives.

In Nebraska, one party may have sole custody of the minor children or the parties may have joint custody of the children. There is also a difference between physical custody (who has possession of the child) and legal custody (who makes decisions regarding the child’s religion, reduction, and so on). Joint custody can mean any combination of these.

Child Support in Nebraska

In Nebraska, both parents have a duty to support their minor children. Thus, the trial court may and almost always will order one party to pay child support to the other.

Determining the amount of child support to be ordered has been simplified considerably by the Nebraska Supreme Court’s promulgation of the Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines provide suggested amounts, depending on the respective incomes of the parties and the number of children, for the child support obligations to be imposed on the noncustodial parent.

Legal Separation in Nebraska

In an action for legal separation, the parties continue to be legally married, but all other aspects of their marital relationship are severed. The parties are unable to remarry, but issues such as custody, support, division of assets and debts can become legally enforceable. This is an attractive option for those persons who, for religious or other reasons, do not believe in divorce.

Legal separation may also appeal to new residents of Nebraska because there is no durational residency requirement for legal separation. Thus, petitioners who cannot satisfy the one year durational residency requirement for dissolution because they have not lived in Nebraska for a sufficient period of time can file an action for legal separation and, once the necessary length of residence has been achieved, they can amend the petition to ask for a dissolution.

Paternity in Nebraska

Paternity is important to the issues of child custody, parenting time, and child support. In most cases, paternity is not an issue. There are cases, however, in which one of the parties disputes a child’s parentage.

Proof of parentage can be established through scientific evidence such as blood tests, genetic testing or through acknowledgment. Acknowledgment consists of signing a notarized statement that the child is the father’s.

Any child conceived after the marriage of the parties but before the filing of the dissolution action is presumed to be legitimate until the contrary is shown.