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Where to Find Family Court Records in Nebraska?

The District Courts, County Courts, and Separate Juvenile Courts handle cases relating to family law in Nebraska. The District Court is the trial court of highest jurisdiction and is located in 93 counties. It hears appeals of family-oriented cases both from the Juvenile and County Courts. Each court develops and maintains records of cases filed within its jurisdiction. Interested persons can access these records through the local courthouse that handled the relevant case. The Family Court system in Nebraska has jurisdiction over marriages, separation, divorce, child custody, spousal support, paternity, guardianships, and adoption.

What Is Family Law in Nebraska?

Family law refers to legal opinions that underline court decisions regarding family disputes within the state. Chapter 42 of the Revised statutes of Nebraska Legislature outlines these opinions. Over 50 sections of this chapter address marriage, divorce, dissolution, juvenile delinquency, child and spousal support, annulment, paternal rights, and children’s legitimacy. Some of them are:

Section 101 Marriage

Section 346 Divorce

Section 349 Dissolution

Section 350 Legal Separation

Section 358 Child or Spousal Support

Section 373 Annulments

Section 377 Legitimacy of Children

Section 906 Support Services

What Are Family Court Cases and Records in Nebraska?

All disputes arising from interaction within families make up family court cases in Nebraska. Such family court cases include dissolution/divorce, guardianship, child custody, adoptions, and spousal support. An individual initiates a family court case when they file a complaint with the court. The court will then open a case based on such filing, and subsequent events in association with the case are written down or filed cumulatively to form a family court record. These records typically contain complaint filings, counter-complaints, evidence, court restraining orders, written statements, involved parties’ contact information, court judgments, and dispositions. Most family court cases in Nebraska can be classified into one of these:

  • Child support: this involves the process of setting up financial support to meet the basic needs of a child
  • Child custody: the right of custody is awarded based on the couple’s agreement or court order.
  • Paternity rights: this refers to establishing the rights of the father of the child to have custody or visitation.
  • Property division (post-divorce): during the process of a divorce, all debts and assets of the couple are distributed equitably to both parties
  • Divorce: a legal process that puts an end to an existing valid marriage between two people.
  • Marriage: entails the process of endorsement to marry and the actual registration of the marriage union.
  • Spousal support arises if the receiving party can prove that they cannot support themselves outside of the marriage. It comes as alimony or essential child support.

Are Family Court Cases Public Records in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Public Records Law provides anyone of legal age the right to view or copy government public records. However, not all family court records come under this category. Most of them, such as birth, marriage, and divorce records, require eligibility status and the presentation of a valid form of identification. Generally, juvenile records, personal information such as contact addresses, financial information, information about minors, and identification numbers are kept away from public view even for publicly accessible records. Also, documents that have been sealed either by court discretion or upon request by one of the parties will not be available unless to eligible persons or third parties with a court order. Eligible persons include the persons listed in the record, authorized court staff and law enforcement agencies, and anyone who can demonstrate a legitimate interest.

How Do I Find Family Court Records in Nebraska?

The type of record requested and the court with jurisdiction over the case determine where the requester will go for family court records. For example, the separate Juvenile Courts in the state handle cases of juvenile delinquency. Therefore cases of juvenile delinquency, unless appealed to higher trial courts, will only be available at the local courthouse, which heard the case. County Courts and District Courts in the state also handle family court cases. Adoption records are only available at the County Courts in the state since they have exclusive jurisdiction over adoption.

Before requesting a record, contact the relevant courthouse for information first. Generally, requests can be made in person or writing. Use the District Court directory to locate the appropriate courthouse clerk’s office and the County Court directory to locate the proper address. Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy are the only court record where individuals can access separate juvenile court records. Have the necessary information required to conduct a search and processing request such as:

  • Name of the parties listed in the case
  • The date the case was filed
  • The case identification number or docket number
  • Third-party requesters should also have ready a valid form of identification.

Records that are not public would require, in addition to those mentioned above, a court order. This requirement applies to those who are not eligible to access a confidential record.

How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?

The Supreme Court of the State of Nebraska operates a trial court case management system known as Justice. The information available on this portal includes parties to the case, case summary, judges notes, and documents filed during the proceedings. All case records available online are public records. It means that confidential records are not available online, and parties must request these documents at the local courthouse office. Persons who wish to search by the party’s name have the option of a one-time court case search or an annual subscription. A one-time court case search will attract $15 and a maximum return search of 30 records. Also, note that only case information will be made available. An annual subscription of $100 allows an individual to create multiple and frequent searches within 12 months. This yearly subscription also allows multiple user names and passwords to be used in an account. General inquiries are free and enable requesters to view document images. The details of any case in a general search is $1. This annual subscription service also requires an initial new-user account set-up.

What Is Nebraska Custody Law?

The Nebraska Custody Law provides guidelines that aid court decisions regarding a child’s custody within the state. The state custody laws are majorly an adaptation of the Uniform Child Custody Act of 1979. These laws emphasize the preferences and welfare of the child as a priority when making decisions. In other words, the child gets to choose whom to stay with by law. It allows a custodial parent to move out of the state for a good cause, such as career movement or a remarriage. The following are additional factors to consider:

  • The work schedule of the parents
  • The home environment of the parent
  • An addiction history of a parent

Sole custody, joint legal custody, joint physical custody, and split custody are the state’s various options. Grandparents also have legal permissions to visit the child.

How to Find Family Court Lawyers in Nebraska?

The Supreme Court of Nebraska website provides referral services by the Nebraska State Bar Association and the Omaha Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. The website also links people with financial difficulties to the Legal Aid Network of Nebraska. This network provides pro bono services for persons who cannot afford to pay a lawyer.

The University of Cornell Law School also provides a directory of attorneys and their addresses within Nebraska. Searches are conducted using practice areas, cities, or counties. Alternatively, a random internet search will return the results of independent law firms that are visible online. Use the contact on the websites to locate the relevant lawyers.

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