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Nebraska Divorce Laws: Property, Custody, and More

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Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining process, and understanding the laws that govern it is crucial. In the state of Nebraska, divorce laws cover various aspects such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. Familiarizing yourself with these laws can help you navigate the divorce process more effectively and ensure a fair outcome for all parties involved. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Nebraska divorce laws, exploring key topics such as property division, child custody, and more.

1. Property Division in Nebraska Divorce

When it comes to property division in a divorce, Nebraska follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that marital property is divided in a fair and just manner, but not necessarily equally. Marital property refers to assets and debts acquired during the marriage, while separate property includes assets owned by each spouse before the marriage or acquired through inheritance or gift.

Nebraska courts consider several factors when determining how to divide marital property, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the property
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse
  • The value of the property
  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements

It’s important to note that Nebraska is not a community property state, which means that property is not automatically split 50/50. Instead, the court aims to divide property in a manner that is fair and reasonable based on the specific circumstances of the case.

2. Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. In Nebraska, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. The court encourages both parents to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child, unless it is determined that it would not be in the child’s best interests.

Nebraska recognizes two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child primarily resides.

When determining custody arrangements, the court considers various factors, including:

  • The child’s wishes, if they are of sufficient age and maturity
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable and nurturing environment
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse

Nebraska courts generally prefer joint custody arrangements, where both parents share legal and physical custody of the child. However, if joint custody is not feasible or in the child’s best interests, the court may award sole custody to one parent.

3. Child Support in Nebraska

Child support is a financial obligation that ensures the child’s needs are met after a divorce. In Nebraska, child support is determined based on the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, which take into account various factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines use an income-sharing model, which means that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child in proportion to their income. The guidelines provide a formula to calculate the amount of child support owed, taking into account each parent’s income and other relevant factors.

It’s important to note that child support obligations can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child’s needs. However, any modifications must be approved by the court.

4. Spousal Support in Nebraska

Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is financial support provided by one spouse to the other after a divorce. In Nebraska, spousal support is not automatically awarded in every divorce case. Instead, it is determined on a case-by-case basis.

When deciding whether to award spousal support, Nebraska courts consider various factors, including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and earning capacity
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • Any contributions made by one spouse to the other’s education or career

If the court determines that spousal support is appropriate, it will consider the amount and duration of the support. The court aims to provide support that allows the recipient spouse to maintain a similar standard of living to what they had during the marriage.

5. Divorce Process in Nebraska

The divorce process in Nebraska typically begins with one spouse filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. The filing spouse must meet the residency requirements, which include being a resident of Nebraska for at least one year before filing.

Once the petition is filed, the other spouse must be served with the divorce papers. If both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, they can submit a written agreement to the court, which outlines how they have resolved issues such as property division, child custody, and support.

If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, the court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present their case. The court will then make decisions on contested issues based on the evidence presented.

After the court issues a final divorce decree, both parties must comply with its terms. Failure to comply can result in legal consequences.


Divorce laws in Nebraska cover various aspects such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Understanding these laws is essential for anyone going through a divorce in the state. Nebraska follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital property, prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody decisions, and uses the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines to determine child support obligations. Spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account various factors. The divorce process in Nebraska involves filing a petition, serving the other spouse, and potentially attending a hearing if the parties cannot reach an agreement. By familiarizing yourself with these laws and seeking legal guidance, you can navigate the divorce process more effectively and ensure a fair outcome.

Remember, divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, so it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the legal proceedings and protect your rights.

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