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The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Nebraska

Marriage in Nebraska is a contract subject to termination via divorce or annulment when a spouse files a petition to the Nebraska Judiciary. Records created or submitted during the divorce or annulment are publicly available to requesters, who must follow systematic instructions to access official records.

What is a Nebraska Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree in Nebraska is an order that dissolves a marriage when a family court judge finds that a marriage is irretrievably broken (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42–372).. Also, a divorce decree states the rights and obligations of the divorcees after adjudication. One consequence of a final divorce decree is that the parties revert to maiden status. The divorcees enjoy the peculiar rights, duties, capacities, and incapacities ascribed to unmarried persons in Nebraska.  

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

What is an Annulment in Nebraska?

An annulment is a decree of nullity, declaring a marriage contract void per Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42–374. Nebraska family laws specify and define persons who may marry, may not marry, and the circumstances under which a marriage is invalid or voidable. These include:

  • The marriage between the parties prohibited by law, e.g., consanguineous marriage;
  • Impotency of either at the time of marriage;
  • Marriage of persons with living spouses before the divorce is final; and,
  • Marriage by force or fraud.

Annulment follows the procedure laid out in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42–373. Generally, the process is similar to a divorce proceeding, except that the plaintiff must be an actual resident in the county of filing. Divorce and annulment records are public records unless restricted by court order or statute.

Annulment vs. Divorce in Nebraska

The two legal actions share similarities as they end a marriage and follow the Nebraska Rule of Civil Procedure. Still, Nebraska marriage laws draw important distinctions between annulled marriages and those that end by divorce. Regarding annulment, the law stipulates that there must be a legal flaw that renders the civil union invalid, void, or voidable. Whereas in divorce, the Nebraska family law affirms the validity of the marriage contract but recognizes that subsequent events have necessitated the dissolution.

Furthermore, couples in the state may initiate divorce at any time based on statutory grounds. However, the law requires a person to file for annulment as soon as he or she is aware of the voidability of the marriage (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42–375)..

Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce in Nebraska?

No, an annulment generally costs more than an uncontested divorce. The person filing for annulment must pay the applicable court fees and attorney fees if represented. Furthermore, the court does not admit oral testimony and witness only. Thus, the plaintiff must pay for medicolegal investigations to establish the voidability. All of these expenses add up and make annulment comparably expensive than a divorce.

What is an Uncontested Divorce in Nebraska?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce where the parties agree on the grounds of divorce and the terms of the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement must be equitable and detail the duration and amount of child support, alimony, and parental time. It must also include the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities. It is possible to complete an uncontested divorce without an attorney as the process is streamlined and does not require a court appearance.

Where To Get an Uncontested Divorce Form In Nebraska?

Family courts handle divorces in Nebraska, and divorcee forms are available at the office of the clerk in the county of residence. The intending divorcee may also download, complete, and notarize online divorce forms before submitting the divorce forms at the clerk’s office. Note that the forms to fill in an uncontested divorce are unique to each case. Thus, the intending divorcee must consult an attorney or read the systematic instructions that the judiciary provides. Also, the intending divorcee or the estranged spouse must meet the Nebraska residency requirement of one year.

Upon adjudication of the divorce, court records created and filed during the proceeding are available to interested persons. Interested requesters must visit the court to inspect and copy the divorce records. These records are also online on Justice Search and cost $15.00 per subject searched. In-person and mail requests for divorce records must go to the specific court that handled the divorce (see court directory).. When the court seals a divorce record, unauthorized persons cannot access it at the courthouse, online, or by mail. Concerned parties should read the Nebraska judiciary guide to accessing sealed records.  

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching for records simpler, as geographic locations do not limit their activities. Thus, the search engines on third-party sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or persons involved in the case. These include information such as the city, county, or state of residence or accusation.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not government-sponsored. Consequently, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How Do I Get a Copy of my Divorce Decree in Nebraska?

Visit the district court that adjudicated the divorce to request a copy of the divorce decree. The clerk only processes requests during business hours, and the requester must provide the necessary details to facilitate a search. These include the divorce case number, party names, and the date of the divorce decree. The clerk will provide an estimate for the associated fees.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability is not guaranteed. Similarly, their availability through third-party websites and companies is not guaranteed, as these organizations are not government-sponsored, and record availability may vary. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records is not guaranteed.

How do I get a Nebraska Divorce Decree Online?

Nebraska divorce decrees are not available via online requests. Thus, the requester must visit the family court to get a copy of the divorce decree.

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