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Nebraska

Grounds for Divorce Under Nebraska Divorce Laws

In Nebraska, there are two categories of grounds for divorce:

  1. No-Fault Grounds: irreconcilable differences. Basically, this means that you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on the fundamental issues of your relationship. If the differences between you are so great that you cannot live together, then you may be able to file for divorce under these grounds.
  2. Fault Grounds: Either spouse is mentally ill and unable to consent to dissolution of marriage, including temporary incapacity resulting from drug or alcohol use. Evidence must be provided to show the mental incapacity of the spouse.

Residency Requirements

At least one of the parties to the action for dissolution of marriage must be a bona fide resident of Nebraska for at least one year, or the marriage must have been sanctified in Nebraska and at least one of the parties lived in Nebraska for the entire marriage. 

Name of Court and Title of Action/Parties

The spouse that files for divorce is known as the Petitioner, and the other spouse is called the Respondent. If the petition is filed jointly, you are both Co-Petitioners. An action for divorce is filed in the District Court.  The action that starts the process is called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The action granting the divorce is called the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

Legal Separation

Nebraska divorce laws permit judgments of legal separation to be granted upon the same grounds as judgments of dissolution of marriage. 

One key difference between legal separation and dissolution of marriage is that the former does not allow you to remarry.

Mediation

No decree of dissolution of marriage will be entered unless the court finds that every reasonable effort for reconciliation has been made.  If the court determines that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, the court may transfer the matter to conciliation court or counseling. So it is probably a good idea to make every effort to fix your marriage before attempting to file for divorce. Especially if there are children involved. Worst-case scenario, the mediation does not go well and you will have evidence for the court.

Alimony

According to Nebraska divorce laws, either spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to the other as the court deems reasonable, after consideration of the following factors:

  • The circumstances of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The history of contributions to the marriage
  • The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of any minor children in the party’s custody

Unless the parties agree otherwise, the duty to pay alimony terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient. 

Distribution of Property

Nebraska is an equitable distribution state. Equitable does not mean equal, but fair.

The good news (for those who came into the marriage with property or who have property that belongs solely to them) is that each spouse gets to keep any property that belongs solely to him/her. The court will then distribute the marital (shared) property, as it deems equitable and just. When making this determination, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The circumstances of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The history of contributions to the marriage
  • The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of any minor children in the party’s custody

Child Custodody

The court will consider the best interests of the child when determining custodial arrangements. Factors the court will consider in determining the child’s best interests include:

  • The relationship of the child to each parent
  • The desires and wishes of the child
  • The general health, welfare and social behavior of the child
  • Any credible evidence of abuse inflicted upon any household member

Preference will not be given to either parent based upon the sex of the parent and no presumption exists that one parent would be more fit or suitable than the other.

Regardless of custodial arrangements, each parent shall have full and equal access to the education and medical records of the child and may make emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of the child while in that parent’s physical custody unless otherwise ordered by the court. 

Child Support

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.

Parenting Education Classes

Any party to a divorce action involving minor children of the marriage may be ordered to complete a parenting education course prior to the entry of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. The parenting course will help you to understand the difficulties that a child must face during a divorce. It will help you to determine the best way to deal with these issues and to make things easier on your child.

Name Change

Either spouse may request to have his or her name restored in the petition for dissolution of marriage.

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