Back to Top

Basic Nebraska Divorce Law

The first thing you need to determine before you file for divorce in Nebraska is whether you have met the state's residency requirement. You may file for divorce if you have lived in the State of Nebraska for a year or longer. If you have not, you may only file for a legal separation and convert this into a divorce later. Legal separations instead of divorce most commonly occur when there are religious reasons not to divorce.

Choosing a Lawyer

The next step is to meet with an attorney for an initial consultation. Most attorneys charge for this service.

Don't underestimate the importance of hiring somebody with whom you are comfortable. Legal representation is a personal service and it is important that you are confident in the attorney advocating for you.

Bring all of the documents you believe will be important in determining the issues of your divorce. These may include a current mortgage statement, credit card bills, current auto loan statements, bank statements and other documents. If you have already been served with a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage, bring that as well.

Commencing the Case

After you retain an attorney, he or she will file a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage on your behalf.

If you have already been served with a complaint filed by your spouse's attorney, your attorney will file with the court a written Answer to the Complaint. If you have been served, it is important that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible. You have thirty days from the date you are served to file an Answer to the Complaint.

Temporary Motions & Orders

Your attorney and/or opposing counsel may file a Motion for Temporary Relief. If either side does so, you will have a hearing, unless the attorneys negotiate a temporary order beforehand. These temporary hearings are usually done by affidavits in the judge's chambers. Only the attorneys and the judge are present.

Some typical requests for temporary relief include a determination by the judge as to who will reside in the marital home until the Final Decree is entered, a determination of temporary spousal or child support, temporary child custody and parenting time, temporary attorney fees, and temporary restraining orders. The hearing for temporary relief will result in a Temporary Order by the judge regarding the issues raised at the hearing.

Preparing for Trial

The trial preparation phase is also called the "discovery" phase of litigation. Your attorney may serve the other side with Interrogatories and/or Requests for Production of Documents. These are tools for obtaining sworn statements and documentary evidence for use at trial, or to aid your attorney in reaching a fair settlement on your behalf. Your attorney may also issue subpoenas for third parties to obtain documents or testimony.

Depositions are also used. During a deposition, your attorney will ask questions of witnesses for the opposing side. The witness oral statements are taken under oath by a court reporter. Opposing counsel will be present. Clients usually attend depositions.

Settlement

During the entire divorce process, your attorney may work to obtain settlement on your behalf. Occasionally, attorneys will hold a settlement conference where the parties and their lawyers try to reach an agreement. Mediation may also be helpful. It is possible the mediate the entire divorce. See Mediation.

Trial

If settlement isn't possible, you will have a trial. Both sides will present evidence, including documents and testimony, in support of his/her side. Juries are not used in domestic relations cases. The judge usually takes the matter under advisement, issues a ruling and the petitioner’s attorney drafts the Degree of Dissolution (divorce degree) and the Property Settlement.

The Decree can be appealed for thirty days after it is issued. You cannot remarry anywhere in the world for six months from the date your Divorce Decree is issued. 



If You Have Children

This topic is covered separately. Click here for more information.

Typical Divorce Timeline:

  1. Complaint filed
  2. Opposing party either signs voluntary appearance or is served (clock starts ticking once this happens) and Answers Complaint and Counters
  3. If minor children, mandatory parenting class and mediation
  4. Temporary order (optional)
  5. Discovery—interrogatories, request for production of documents, subpoenas for 3d parties, depositions, etc. Each party is given 30 days to respond to discovery requests. (Often takes much longer)
  6. Case settlement conference (optional)
  7. Case set for trial. The above steps take anywhere from 60 days to 9 – 12 months.

Vervaecke Law and Mediation is dedicated to being available to answer clients’ questions and address important legal concerns. To schedule an initial consultation with Karen please call 402-504-1818. You may also e-mail now now to request an appointment.