Is Common Law Marriage Recognized? Nebraska does not recognize a common law marriage. Can my marriage be annulled? Marriages can be annulled if the marriage was prohibited by law, either party was impotent at the time of the marriage, either party had a spouse living at the time of the marriage, or where either party lacked the capacity to legally contract a valid marriage. What is "No-Fault? Divorce? Nebraska recognizes No-Fault Divorce. This means that neither party has to be "at fault" for a divorce to be granted. Neither party has to allege infidelity, abandonment, or any other specific difficulties that arose in the marriage leading to the desire to obtain a divorce. Rather, the only need is that reconciliation efforts have failed and the marriage is "irretrievable broken". How is a divorce proceeding started? A Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. Is there a waiting period? There is a 60 day waiting period from the time of serving the Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage before the final divorce hearing can be scheduled. Is there a residency requirement? At least one party must have been a resident of Nebraska for at least a year prior to filing for dissolution of marriage, unless the marriage took place in Nebraska and either party has resided in Nebraska from the time of the marriage to the filing of the Complaint. How long will my divorce take? A few months to over a year. The time period varies based on a number of factors such as what issues are being contested, if the parties are able to work together to reach an agreement as to the division of their debts and assets, and if children are involved. Will I have to pay Alimony? Alimony, or Spousal Support as the courts call it, is not a guarantee in any case. There are various factors that the courts look at when making a determination to order alimony in any case. Some of these factors include the length of the marriage, the age and education of both parties, the physical and emotional health of the parties, the earning capacity of both parties, and the contribution of the parties to the marital life to include things such as one party working to help put the other party through school or one party giving up a job to care for the minor children. Can I change my name to my maiden name? Yes. A party can have the maiden name or a former name restored during the divorce proceeding if they wish to do so, but are not required to. The name change request should be included in the Complaint or Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and then it can be included in the final Divorce Decree or Order. How long must I wait to remarry? You must wait six (6) months before you can get remarried. When is my divorce final? The divorce is final thirty (30) days after the final Divorce Decree is entered for all purposes except for remarriage and health insurance, both of which have a six (6) month waiting period after the final Divorce Decree is signed. Do I need an attorney? You are not required to have an attorney. The Courts provide self-help forms for handling a pro se divorce, or representing yourself without the help of an attorney. However, the courts will not assist individuals or give legal advice to parties who are not represented by an attorney. There are various forms that need to be filled out correctly and procedures that must be followed in order for the divorce to be granted. An lawyer can prepare all the necessary forms and will be familiar with the procedures that will take place. An attorney can also advise you of your various options and help insure that your legal rights are protected. Who will get custody of the children? There is no longer a parental preference, rather, the Court looks at a number of factors, including, but not limited to the following when making a custody determination: (1) The environments offered by each parent including safety, stability, nurturing, and cleanliness of the home. (2) The child's preference for which parent he or she wishes to live with may be taken into consideration. Generally and older child's preference is given more weight. (3) The fitness of the parents. The Court may look at illness of a parent, criminal history, sexual conduct, and any other relevant factors that may be at issue in the particular case. (4) The parent's ability to provide for the needs of the child(ren) such as educational, physical, safety, nutrition, hygiene and the like. (5) Domestic violence between the parents may be taken into consideration for purposes of determining custody, parenting time, possible supervision during parenting time, and exchange of the children. What is the standard parenting time? Each case is unique and the parenting time schedule can be substantially different from case to case. However, in most cases, the non-custodial parent will have the children every other weekend. The start and end times for the weekend varies, but is often from Thursday evening to Monday morning. The parents will often alternate every other holiday, with both parents ending up having the children for every holiday over a two (2) year time frame. What about joint custody? Most often joint custody won't be awarded over the objection of one of the parties. Joint custody doesn't work well for every situation. Joint custody works best when there is effective communication between the parents, there is a desire of the parents to work together and to continue to co-parent, the parents are able to be flexible and compromise when making decisions concerning the children, and the parents hold similar values and have similar parenting styles. Joint custody does not necessarily mean equal parenting time, nor does it mean that the children go back and forth between parents every week. There are many different parenting time schedules for those awarded joint custody. Can the parents decide custody and parenting time? Yes. If the parents are able to agree on custody and parenting time, the Judge will most likely approve the plan, as long as the Judge feels that the custody arrangement is in the child or children's best interest. Most often, custody arrangements work best when the parties are able to come to an agreement on their own, rather than having a Judge make the determination for them. The parties know more about their own parenting abilities and their situation than a Judge ever could. Can custody be modified? Yes. In order for a modification, there must be a substantial change in circumstances. The modification must be in the best interests of the children. Do Grandparents have visitation rights? Grandparents may be granted visitation rights in limited circumstances to include when the child's parents are deceased. How much will I have to pay in child support? This is dependent on your income, the other parent's income, the number of children, and the child custody arrangement. Nebraska has support guidelines in place to determine the child support amount. Are there any deductions when calculating child support? Yes. There are certain items that are deducted from your income when determining children support such as taxes, money paid towards a retirement account, previously ordered child support, and health insurance paid for the children. Is there a minimum child support amount? Yes. The minimum set forth in the child support guidelines is $50, or 10 percent of the obligor's net income, whichever is greater. How are medical expenses paid? The custodial parent is generally responsible for the first $480.00 out of pocket. After that, each parent is generally ordered to pay 50% of the out of pocket costs. Is a Home Study needed for an Adoption? A home study of the adoptive parents must be completed, unless it is a step-parent adoption. The Home Study will include a criminal background check and a check of the Nebraska Central Registry for child abuse. How do I get a Home Study? A Home Study for adoption must be completed by a child placement agency that is licensed in Nebraska. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human services may conduct the Home Study in certain cases. What are my rights as the biological father? The rights of a biological father in an adoption depend upon whether the father has acknowledged paternity, has been deemed the father through a court action, or was born of a marriage. The father must be given notice of the adoption and an opportunity to contest the adoption. Do I need an adoption attorney? There are various technical statutes and legal requirements that must be abided by to ensure the validity of the adoption. These requirements must be followed to ensure the adoption is not later reversed or deemed to be invalid.