Back to Top

Basic Nebraska Divorce Law

In Nebraska, a divorce is actually called a Dissolution of Marriage. Before you  file for divorce, you must first  determine whether you have met the State's residency requirement, which is you must live in Nebraska for a year or longer. If you have not, you can file for a legal separation and convert this into a divorce action after you have met the year residency requirement.

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 an attorney 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. Experience and compassion is essential in a divorce attorney. The Law Office of Karen L Vervaecke has been representing clients in family law matters for close to 25 years.

Bring all of the documents you believe will be important in determining the issues of your divorce. These  include  current mortgage statements, credit card bills, auto loan statements, bank statements and any other bills or legal documents you can think of. 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, if you have not already been served or signed a Voluntary Appearance, your counsel 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, as you have thirty days from the date you are served to file your Answer.

Temporary Motions & Orders

Your attorney and/or opposing counsel may file a Motion for Temporary Relief. Unless the attorneys negotiate a temporary order beforehand, there will be a short hearing  done by affidavits in the Judge's chambers with only the Attorneys and Judge 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 and will remain in place until the Dissolution of Marriage Decree is entered.

 

Custody

 

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 in reaching a fair settlement on your behalf.

Your attorney may also issue subpoenas for third parties to obtain documents or testimony if necessary.

Depositions are also commonly conducted during divorce litigation. During  depositions, the attorney will ask questions of witnesses for the opposing side. The witness' oral statements are taken under oath by a court reporter with opposing counsel  present. Clients usually attend.  Depositions are a valuable tool in the discovery process.

Settlement

During the entire divorce process, your attorney may work to obtain a  settlement on your behalf if that is possible. Often there settlement conferences where the parties and their lawyers sit down and  try to reach an agreement. Mediation may also be helpful. It is possible the mediate the entire divorce.

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 Decree of Dissolution (divorce degree) and the Property Settlement.

The Decree can be appealed for thirty days. if you are divorced in Nebraska, you are not free to legally remarry anywhere for six months from the date your Divorce Decree is issued.