A divorce or marriage dissolution severs the legal rights and responsibilities of the marriage contract. The parties continue to be bound by legal agreements or court orders, however. These agreements and orders address how property is distributed, how children and spouses are supported, and other relevant issues.
Do You Need an Attorney?
You and your spouse can file a joint Petition for Divorce if you are ending a short-term marriage involving no real property, few marital assets, and no minor children. This provides for a more simplified divorce process. After longer marriages involving accumulated real estate, considerable marital assets, or minor children, issues may not be as easily resolved to each party’s satisfaction. Your Nebraska divorce attorney can explain how state laws affect your obligations and entitlements and how you can protect your rights and interests.
Type of Divorce
Nebraska is a pure no-fault state, meaning that you need only allege that your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown in order to be divorced. If your spouse agrees with this, there is no need for the court to inquire further. Otherwise, the court may question each of you at trial to determine if there has indeed been an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage.
Getting a Divorce
Before you can file for a divorce in Nebraska, you or your spouse must establish residency for at least one year. If you have not lived in the state that long, you can file for a legal separation instead, then file for divorce after you have satisfied the one-year residency requirement. A legal separation has the full force and effect of a divorce except that you remain legally married.
You can file a divorce petition in the county where either you or your spouse lives. There is a 60-day waiting period after you file before your divorce can be granted, but it is unlikely that a complex or contested divorce could be finalized in 60 days.
If you have minor children, you and your spouse must complete a parenting class and file proof of completion with the court.
You may also have to attend court-ordered mediation if contentious child custody or other parenting issues are involved. Mediation is held before a neutral third party who works with you and your spouse to help you compromise in certain areas and reach a mutually agreeable parenting plan. You can then submit your parenting plan to the court for approval. If you do not reach an agreement, the court will make an ultimate custody determination at trial.
Property and Debt Distribution
Nebraska is an equitable distribution state. After marital property is identified and valued, the court can distribute assets and debts based on your economic circumstances, the duration of the marriage, and child custody arrangements, among other factors. The division may not be 50-50.
Change of Name
Either party in a Nebraska divorce can request in their petition for divorce that the court restore a former name or maiden name. Provisions for this are included in the final divorce decree.
Consult a Nebraska Divorce Lawyer
State laws can change or may be subject to different interpretation. Consult with a Nebraska divorce attorney if you are considering a divorce to ensure proper compliance with all laws and court rules.