How to File for Divorce in Nebraska
The legal name for divorce in Nebraska is dissolution of marriage. A dissolution of marriage as the name suggests ends all ties and legal commitments regarding marriage. All matters that could bring both parties together such as children, property, financial accounts, etc, are settled in the divorce proceeding. The Nebraska State Code on Divorce provides the framework for divorce proceedings and interpretation of terms in the state. It is important for intending parties to get sufficient information about the divorce process in the state before initiating one. The US Census Bureau (2018) places Nebraska at the 36th position of divorce rates across the country, having 7.0 divorces per 1000 women not less than 15 years old. Relative to a 10-year earlier data, divorce rates have dropped by a significant count of 2.7 divorces per 1000 women in the state. District Courts have jurisdiction of divorces and allied matters in the state.
Do I need a reason for divorce in Nebraska?
Nebraska operates a purely no-fault grounds for divorce in the state. It means that either party does not have to be responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. There only has to be the affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Consent from the other party must accompany this affirmation. Nebraska Court has jurisdiction over divorce cases where a resident spouse has a bona fide intention of permanent residency for at least one year prior to filing the complaint. A lack of this residency requirement makes up insufficient grounds to file for a divorce in the state.
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 in order 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.
Why do I need a divorce lawyer?
The rules of procedure as prescribed by the Supreme Court of Nebraska encourage litigants to get the services of a lawyer. This is because a divorce could get complicated, especially in the presence of associated differences such as disputes over child custody or property. A divorce lawyer will provide the needed wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating the twists and turns in a divorce case.
How do I get started in a divorce in Nebraska?
Having met the residency requirements to file for the dissolution of marriage in Nebraska, follow the steps:
Complete the Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage (DC 6: 5.1). Follow the instructions for completing the form. The laws of the state also require the filing party to complete a Vital Statistics Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage and submit along with the complaint form. Expect to pay a filing fee, otherwise request the judge for a fee waiver. Download and complete the Confidential Employment and Health Insurance Information and Social Security Information forms. Submit this along with the complaint to the Clerk of the District Court where either party lives.
Thereafter send a notification to the defendant-spouse. The official notification is the service of process. The peculiarity of the divorce case can inform the type of service of process used. In a case of a no-contest divorce, a filing party can serve an official notice by an agreement as a Voluntary Appearance. if otherwise or spouse does not respond to the Voluntary appearance service, serve a Summons (also called Praecipe for summons). Use the guidelines for completing the Praecipe for Summons.
Upon receiving the service of process, the defendant-spouse has 30 days to file a written response to the complaints. Also, the earliest court hearing regarding the case is 60 days from serving the defendant-spouse. Depending on the case, the court could order a reconciliation process. If both parties agree on custody rights and visitation, they must enroll in a parent education course during this period. Where it is a contested divorce, the defendant-spouse can file an Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage (DC–10: 1).
The final hearing: a final hearing is scheduled on request by both parties after the 60 days have expired. If both agree on the settlement, then the final hearing will be the last step. If all attempts to reconcile differences in settlement agreements fail, then the first court appearance will not be the final hearing but a trial to decide on the differences. A final hearing is when the judge signs the decree and files it with the clerk’s office. After filing, the court waits for another 30 days before it is final. After the final divorce, parties must marry no one anywhere in the world until after 6 months or if the divorcing spouse dies. For more information, visit the Supreme Court of Nebraska Guidelines on Divorce.
How to file for divorce in Nebraska without a lawyer?
Divorcing parties have the option of initiating a divorce action without a lawyer. The Rules of Court Procedure by the Supreme Court of Nebraska state that filing parties must complete all necessary forms. While the Clerk of the District Court can help with a checklist of documents, they cannot help prepare any legal documents. Besides, they can only provide limited information about the process. The Supreme Court Rules of Procedure therefore recommend that a pro se proceeding may not be in the interest of the divorcing parties if there are associated issues or contests over the divorce process. Self-representation in a divorce case may only be straightforward under the following circumstances:
- Both parties agree on custody and visitation plans
- All minor children were conceived, born, or adopted to the parties during the marriage
- Neither party is pregnant
- There is no real property or ongoing business that is divisible without an argument. Here, parties are fully aware of all incurred debts and have no problems arguing on who will pay for what
- Neither party has an ongoing pension or retirement plan
- There will be no request of alimony by either party
- The defending party is not in the military
Unless the divorce case meets the above-listed conditions, the state laws do not recommend self litigation. For example, there are special laws that apply to having a spouse in the military.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. 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 cannot be guaranteed.
How does Nebraska divorce mediation work?
The divorce mediation known as reconciliation in Nebraska Courts is an integral part of the divorce processes by the laws of the state. Unless there is sufficient evidence of domestic abuse or crime related incidents, Conciliation Courts attempt to handle divorce cases during the 60-day waiting time. Counties without a Conciliation Court transfer the divorcing parties to State-approved Mediation Centers. Mediation provides the option of resolving differences without a court process. It also encourages privacy, mutuality of consent, and better solutions in the aspects of settlement. Sometimes, mediation may ultimately lead to the couple’s reconsidering the option of divorce. When the reconciliation process fails, then the court schedules a trial for the case.
How long after mediation is divorce final in Nebraska?
From the time of filing the complaint for dissolution and a defendant spouse response, the earliest time frame before a final divorce hearing is 60 days. All mediation is expected to take place during this time. Unless there are reasons for extension, the court should schedule a final hearing at the end of this time frame.
Are divorce records public in Nebraska?
Nebraska state laws only allow the parties listed in the record, their immediate children, and authorized legal delegates to access divorce records in the state. Persons outside the eligibility list will need a court order.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple record. 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 person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How do I get Nebraska divorce records?
The Department of Health and Human Services in Nebraska maintains divorce records at the Vital Records Section of the agency. Records here date back to January 1909. Older records are available at the Office of the Clerk of District Court that granted the divorce. Parties must submit a request by first downloading and completing the Application for a Certified Copy of a Divorce Certificate form. Enclose the payment for copies (check or money order), a copy of an approved photo identification, and a stamped self-addressed envelope (for mail requests). Submit in person to:
Office of Vital Records Department of Health and Human Services
Lincoln NE 68508–3621
Submit mail requests by sending them to this address:
Vital Records Office
P. O. Box 95065
Copies of divorce records have a standard price of $16 each. At county level, the copying fees at the District Court Clerk’s office varies. Contact the relevant courthouse for more information.