Divorce is about untangling and separating the most important parts of the life you shared with your spouse. Parenting responsibilities, home and finances must all be restructured.
Our goal is help you navigate the process and make the best decisions you can.
Divorce in the State of Nebraska involves three primary issues:
1. Dissolution of marriage;
2. Parenting responsibilities and parenting time; and
3. Financial matters.
Nebraska is a no-fault state. This simply means it is not necessary to show inappropriate behavior before the Court can dissolve your marriage. Historically a person had to prove inappropriate behavior before a divorce could be granted. The inappropriate behavior included physical abuse, sexual abuse, adultery, impotency, fraud or some variations of those cause of actions. In 1972, Nebraska became the second state in the US to become a no-fault state.
Today, a divorce can be granted if one or both spouses are of the opinion the marriage is irretrievably broken. Generally, Courts will not make any inquiry of either person as to why the parties are ending their marriage.
During the divorce process there are two "divorces" occurring at the same time. First, there is the legal divorce.
Divorce is a legal process just like disputes involving contracts or automobile accidents. You are asking for judicial involvement in your marriage and family. Once the legal system is involved it is necessary to abide by legal rules, known as Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence. The legal process may seem like a foreign language to you.
If you remember when you first married, you signed a Marriage Certificate most likely witnessed by your Maid of Honor and Best Man. These two people witnessed the civil contract to your marriage. Once the civil contract is established, it is necessary for the Courts to dissolve that contract.
The divorce process in Nebraska generally takes eight to ten months. It starts with the Plaintiff filing a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage and is followed by the Defendant being served. The Defendant can enter an appearance by signing a document called, Voluntary Appearance rather than be served by the sheriff at home or work.
After the Complaint has been filed and the Defendant has entered their appearance, the parties need to determine whether they need a Temporary Order from the Court. Temporary Orders can dictate the terms of child support, alimony, exclusive occupancy of the family home, continuation of health insurance, and other matters. Occasionally, the parties are able to work out these temporary issues without involving the Court. However, the Court process is always available. If needed, temporary hearings are usually scheduled ten to twenty days following the filing of a Complaint.
Shortly after the Complaint is filed, the attorneys start a process called discovery. Conducting discovery is an opportunity to ask questions of the other side regarding assets and liabilities. These questions are either driven towards financial issues or child custody. Discovery methods include Interrogatories (which are simply questions) and Request for Production of Documents. The necessary documents include tax returns, pay records, retirement statements, bank records or any other financial information that is not readily available to the other party. Once the attorneys have sufficient information regarding the assets and liabilities of both parties and their respective positions, the case will either proceed to settlement or trial.
Custody of children is another issue within the legal divorce process.
All parents going through a divorce must attend a parent education workshop and will have the opportunity to mediate a parenting plan. If the parents are unable to agree upon a parenting plan, the Court will resolve the contested custody issues.
After a parenting schedule is established, child support needs to be established. Basic child support provides for the children’s food, clothing and shelter. Child support is arithmetically calculated based upon the income of both parties and it is simply determined by an algorithm established and approved by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Child support is driven by the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines and federally mandated collection methods.
In addition to basic child support, parents are responsible for day care and health care expense. One parent will be required to provide health and medical insurance and those health. Medical expenses not covered by insurance are split between the parties in proportion to their incomes. Day care is also divided proportionately based on income.
Often times, once the marital estate is identified, the parties will pick what assets they want to be awarded. As an equitable distribution state, the Court can divide assets as little as one third to one party and two-thirds to the other party. It is most common that assets are equally divided.. This includes all assets of the parties, which generally consists of real estate, automobiles, household goods, personal property, art, jewelry, collectibles,
savings and checking accounts, retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, pension plans, etc. The process can get very complex depending upon the size of the estate.
The second divorce is called the cultural divorce. The cultural divorce is the divorce that affects not only you and your spouse, but also your children, extended family, co-workers, neighbors and friends. There is a ripple effect to a divorce as it impacts everyone in your life.
Emotions vary for men and women who go through a divorce. The most common for men is usually guilt and it seems as though the most common emotion for women is fear. The guilt is felt by men even when they should not feel guilty. Fear is felt by women whether they earn millions of dollars per year or stay at home. The emotions are all very consistent with the gender. Often times, divorce has such a profound impact on individuals that it is necessary for them to work through multiples issues during the divorce process.
Our attorneys are here to guide you through this difficult and stressful process, providing the high quality of counsel and legal representation you can count on and deserve.