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What are Nebraska Divorce Records?

A divorce record is a type of vital record that contains information on divorces in the state. The information is gathered throughout the divorce process and is documented or filed in various formats by public bodies in the state of Nebraska. There are 7.0 divorces per every 1,000 women older than 15 years old in Nebraska.

There are three ways to break the bonds of matrimony in Nebraska:

  • Dissolution of marriage or Divorce: Terminates a marriage
  • Annulment: Makes a marriage null and void, because it was illegal from the start.
  • Legal Separation: Unlike divorce and annulment, a legal separation does not entirely terminate a marriage. Both parties are still legally married but are allowed to live separate lives while still fulfilling responsibilities.

Divorce in Nebraska can only be “no-fault” which means that neither party has to prove wrongdoing to be granted a divorce from the significant other. The only ground needed to get a divorce is by declaring that the marriage is irretrievably broken despite all possible attempts at trying to make it work. The divorce petition can be filed by one or both parties, and if uncontested or both parties have reached an agreement, the court may enter a decree of dissolution after 60 days without holding a hearing. If contested, a hearing will be held to judge if the marriage is truly irretrievably broken.

A divorce is granted when the judge signs the decree of dissolution and files it with the clerk’s office. However, it may not be finalized until after 30 days to 6 months after the case the decree is filed, depending on several reasons.

Note: At least one spouse must have been residing in Nebraska for one year before either of them can file for divorce in the state. The exception is if the couple got married in the state and has been living there ever since the marriage (for less than one year).

How are Divorce Records Generated in Nebraska?

Generally, the process of generating divorce records begins when a spouse files the Complaint for Dissolution with the clerk’s office of the district court and ends when the decree is filed in the same office. So, the information contained in these two documents and on every action done in-between shall be recorded and stored by the clerk and certificates are eventually sent to the Vital Records Office, Department of Health and Human Services. Other types of divorce records shall be kept by the court.

Are Divorce Records Public in Nebraska?

Although divorce records are technically public records in Nebraska, like other vital records in the state, access is restricted to those with legitimate or direct links to the record. In compliance with the Nebraska public records law, persons requesting divorce records need to have valid claims and satisfy the necessary conditions provided by record custodians.

Eligible persons can view, inspect, or request to obtain certified copies of records from custodians. The information included may include:

  • The names of all parties (spouses and children)
  • Date of birth
  • Date of marriage and divorce
  • Location of marriage and divorce
  • Grounds for divorce
  • Type of decree (dissolution or annulment)

In most cases, the same people can also access sealed records or confidential sections of the divorce records. However, ineligible requesters can still obtain informational copies that provide the most basic information about a divorce without revealing confidential information like financial information, social security number, medical records, and other potentially damaging information. They serve more like notifications than official documents.

What are the types of Divorce Records available in Nebraska?

The state of Nebraska offers three major types of divorce records: divorce decree, certificate of divorce, and divorce court records.

Divorce decree: Also known as the decree of dissolution of marriage, this is the document that was signed to finalize a divorce in the district court where the divorce was filed. It contains the court order that officially ends a marriage as well as a declaration of rights and responsibilities of parties. This includes all the terms agreed upon in an uncontested divorce or the court’s decisions in a contested divorce. Information includes details about alimony, division of property, custody, child support and visitation, and so on. Parties involved may need copies to review roles or petition for amendment of certain terms. Copies can only be obtained from the clerk of the district court where the divorce was heard.

Certificate of divorce or dissolution: When a divorce is being filed in Nebraska, the party is required to fill and submit a Vital Statistics Certificate form. This allows the Vital Records Office of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to generate and maintain certificates of the divorce which can be obtained later from the same office by eligible parties. The vital record office has records from January 1909 till date. Later records can be requested from the clerk of the district court.

Divorce court records: It is often overlooked that like other court proceedings, divorce hearings in Nebraska are recorded as court records or case files and can be obtained by the public, as defined in state laws (Neb. Stat. § 84–712.05).. While hearing may not be required for an uncontested divorce, the same cannot be said about contested divorce. Therefore there will be recorded information like court minutes, evidence, testimonies, and transcripts of proceedings. This record can be obtained from the court where the divorce was heard.

Note: It is under the court’s discretion to close the hearings or restrict the accessibility of the divorce case files to only parties involved or direct relations of the divorced couple.

How Do I Get Divorce Records in Nebraska?

Divorce records in Nebraska can be obtained from three major sources:

  • The clerk of the district court where the divorce occurred
  • The Vital Records Office, DHHS
  • Third-party organizations or vendors

Specifically, divorce certificates from 1909 can be obtained from the vital records office while older certificates, decrees, and case files can be obtained from the clerk of the district court where the divorce was filed, heard, or finalized.

The process of obtaining divorce records will be easier if requesters follow the following steps:

Step 1: Determine the type of divorce record required:

Interested persons should first ascertain if the divorce record required is a decree, certificate, or court record. They should also determine if the purpose of obtaining a record can be satisfied by getting informational or certified copies of the record. Official or legal reasons will require certified copies.

Step 2: Determine the custodian of the record:

Determining the custodian of the record only requires interested persons to identify the type of divorce record and copy they require. To find divorce records of other people, individuals need to have certain information like names, date, and location of divorce to streamline the search.

Step 3: Determine record availability and accessibility:

This has to do with finding out the following:

  • If the record is public or sealed
  • If the interested person is eligible to obtain the record
  • If the required information is confidential and if the individual to able to view them
  • The various means that are available for making requests (internet, mail, fax, or in-person) and the one with the best speed, ease, and overall experience.
  • Requirements of records custodians (identification, fees, etc)

These details can be obtained by contacting the record custodian or checking online indexes of court websites.

Step 4: Contact the Custodian

The last step is to request the divorce record from the record custodian. This may be done by making walk-in requests in the district court or may involve sending a written request to the clerk of the district court where the divorce was filed.

To obtain divorce certification from 1909, interested persons should fill the Application For Certified Copy Of Divorce Certificate form and mail it along with the required fees (money order or check) and a copy of valid identification.

Charges for obtaining divorce records may include administration, duplication, or research costs. The set fees may vary across counties but should not exceed the standard rates.

Step 5: Wait for Response

Individuals will have to wait for some days while the custodian reviews the request. If the request is approved, time is needed to do research or collect and duplicate the required records. All this can be done from 1 to 15 working days depending on the custodian and the means the request was made.

Who Can Obtain Divorce Records in Nebraska?

Divorce certificates, decrees, and sealed court records can only be obtained by the parties mentioned in the document i.e. the divorced couple and their children. Legal representatives of these eligible parties can also obtain divorce records on their behalf. On the other hand, case records that have not been sealed or restricted by the court may be open to members of the public.

Note: Persons can also petition the court and get a court order to view necessary records.

Are Nebraska Divorce Records available online?

Yes, information about divorces in Nebraska can be obtained in the websites or indexes of district courts in the state or third-party vendors. However the divorce details on these sites are mainly posted as a notice, therefore, information may be very basic or incomplete.

How Do I Seal My Divorce Records in Nebraska?

Since divorce certificates and decrees are restricted to eligible individuals, it does not require sealing. Also, in most instances, the court closes the divorce hearing from public view. However, in the rare instance where the certain divorce records are open to the public, either party involved can petition the court to seal such records. The individual will have to provide valid and compelling reasons why the need for sealing the record supersedes the need for public knowledge and how public knowledge of the record can potentially harm the parties involved.

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