Nebraska Divorce FAQ

Nebraska Divorce FAQ

Divorce – State FAQ – Nebraska

Residency requirements, venue and procedures

Q: How long must I have lived in Nebraska prior to filing for divorce in an Nebraska court?

A: 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 solemnized in Nebraska and at least one of the parties lived in Nebraska for the entire marriage.

Q: What are the terms used to identify the parties in a divorce proceeding?

A: The party filing the action is called the Petitioner, while the other party to the divorce is referred to as the Respondent. If the petition is filed jointly, both parties are referred to as Co-Petitioners

Q: What is “venue,” and what is the proper venue for a divorce case?

A: “Venue” refers to which type of court and in what locality the case is filed. In Nebraska, proper venue for the divorce action is the District Court. The Petition should be filed in the county where either party resides.

Q: What is the title of the document initiating the action for divorce? The order granting the divorce?

A: The title of the document initiating the divorce proceeding is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, while the title of the order granting the divorce is referred to as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Grounds for divorce

Q: What is meant by “grounds for divorce”?

A: A “ground” for divorce is a “reason” for divorce. A set of judicially recognized reasons for divorce exist in Nebraska. You must use one or more of these reasons to justify your divorce.

Q: What are the recognized grounds for divorce in Nebraska?

A: Irreconcilable differences is the only grounds upon which a divorce may be granted in the State of Nebraska.

Spousal support/alimony

Q: What does the term “spousal support” (or, “alimony”) mean?

A: “Spousal support” (sometimes called “alimony”) is money paid by one spouse to the other due to the payee spouse’s loss of the benefit of the payor spouse’s income due to the divorce.

Q: Is spousal support available while the divorce is pending in court, or only after the divorce has become final?

A: The court may order that one spouse support the other during the pendancy of the divorce action and/or after the divorce has become final. Support awarded pending the final decree of divorce is not to extend beyond the period of time necessary for the prosecution of the divorce action.

Q: What factors will the court consider when determining how much alimony to award to a party?

A: Either party may be ordered to pay alimony to the other party as the court deems reasonable, after consideration of the following factors:

1. The circumstances of the parties;
2. The duration of the marriage;
3. The history of contributions to the marriage; and,
4. 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.

Q: When does the duty to pay alimony end?

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

Property Division

Q: On what basis does the court decide how marital property is divided?

A: Nebraska is a so-called “equitable distribution” state. This means that the division of property and debts between the divorcing parties should be fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal. While the trial court’s discretion will not be disturbed on appeal without a showing of clear abuse, the court will consider the following factors:

1. The circumstances of the parties;
2. The duration of the marriage;
3. The history of contributions to the marriage; and,
4. 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.

Q: Is the “separate property” of one spouse subject to being divided up?

A: The question here is whether property “belonging to” one of the parties should be included in the marital estate for purposes of an equitable division. Generally, separate property acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage may be excluded from the marital estate if neither the property nor its income has been used for the common benefit of the parties during their marriage.

Q: What if the parties occasionally use an item of separate property (for example, silver table utensils inherited by the wife) for the benefit of both parties?

A: The property may be subject to division. Where the parties regularly use property acquired by one party before marriage for the common benefit of the parties, it is more likely to be available for consideration in dividing property. The frequency of use may be considered by the court in making the decision.

Child custody and visitation

Q: What is child custody and visitation?

A: “Child custody” refers to which parent will have legal custody of the child(ren), i.e. with whom the child(ren) will live. “Visitation” is the topic of the non custodial parent’s ability to visit/spend time with the child(ren).

Q: Can grandparents be granted visitation?

A: Yes. Grandparents may be awarded visitation and evidence may be presented by affidavit to demonstrate that a significant beneficial relationship exists, or has existed in the past, between the grandparent and the child and that it would be in the best interests of the child to allow such relationship to continue.

Q: If the parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation issues, on what basis will the court decide?

A: The court may award custody to either parent, regardless of sex, subject to the best interests of the child. In determining the child’s best interests, the court shall consider the following factors:

1. The relationship of the child to each parent;
2. The desires and wishes of the child;
3. The general health, welfare and social behavior of the child; and,
4. Any credible evidence of abuse inflicted upon any household member.

Child support

Q: What is “child support”?

A: Child support is money paid by the non custodial parent to the custodial parent in order to meet the needs of the child(ren).

Q: To what should the parties look for guidance regarding amount of child support to be paid? What standard will the court use if the parties cannot agree?

A: Nebraska has established child support guidelines which establish a rebuttable presumption that the amount of support contained in the guidelines is the correct amount of support due. The courts may deviate from the guidelines upon a showing that the application of the guidelines would result in an unjust or inappropriate result.


Inside Nebraska Divorce FAQ