Nebraska Divorce Laws

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE: (1) one of the spouses must have been a resident of Nebraska for at least 1 year; or (2) the marriage was performed in Nebraska and one of the spouses has lived in Nebraska for the entire marriage. The dissolution of marriage may be filed for in a county where either spouse resides. There is a 30-day waiting period after service of the petition for dissolution of marriage on the respondent before the case can be decided in court. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-342, 42-348, 42-349, and 42-354].

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE: No-Fault: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-361]. General: Spouse lacked mental capacity to consent (including temporary incapacity resulting from drug or alcohol use). [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-362].

LEGAL SEPARATION: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only grounds for a legal separation in Nebraska. There are no residency requirements specified in the statute. If the residency requirements for dissolution of marriage are met after the petition for legal separation has been filed, the spouse filing may change the proceeding to a proceeding for dissolution of marriage. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-350].

SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE PROCEDURES: Joint petitions for dissolution of marriage may be filed by both spouses. In such cases, the spouses should be referred to as "Co-Petitioners" on the court documents. In addition, marital settlement agreements are specifically authorized by law. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-361 and 42-366].

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS: A dissolution of marriage will not be granted until every reasonable effort for a reconciliation has been made. If it appears to the court that there is some reasonable possibility of reconciliation, dissolution of marriage actions may be transferred to a conciliation court or the spouses may be referred to a qualified marriage counselor, family service agency, or other agency which provides conciliation services. Official conciliation counselors are available in counties of over 250,000 persons. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-360 and 42-808].

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION: Nebraska is an "equitable distribution" jurisdiction. The spouses retain their separate property acquired prior to the marriage. All of the spouse's marital property, including any gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage, may be divided, based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker; (2) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective; (3) the length of the marriage; and (4) any custodial provisions for the children. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-365].

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT: Either spouse may be ordered to pay reasonable spousal support, without regard to marital fault, based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the circumstances of both spouses; (2) the duration of the marriage; (3) the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other spouse; (4) any interruption of personal careers or education; and (5) the ability of the supported spouse to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of any minor children in his or her custody. Reasonable security for the payments may be required. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-365].

CHILD CUSTODY: Joint or sole custody of children is determined according to the best interests of the child and based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the general health, welfare, and social behavior of the child; (2) the preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity; (3) the child's relationship with each parent prior to the filing for dissolution of marriage; and (4) any credible evidence of child or spousal abuse. No preference is to be given because of parent's sex. Joint custody may be awarded if both parents agree. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-364].

CHILD SUPPORT: The amount of child support is determined based on a consideration of the earning capacity of each parent. There are official Supreme Court child support guidelines which should be available from the clerk of the court. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42-364].

PREMARITAL AGREEMENT: The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement is not enforceable if it is proven that (1) the agreement was not executed voluntarily; (2) the agreement is unconscionable in that there was no fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party, did not voluntarily waive the right to the disclosure of this information, did not have adequate knowledge of these obligations; (3) a provision of the agreement modifies or eliminates alimony and that modification causes that person to be eligible for public assistance. If the marriage is determined to be void, the agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result. [Revised Statutes of Nebraska; Chapter 42, Sections 1003, 1006, and 1007].

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