Uncontested Divorce in Nebraska
There are two primary paths for the dissolution of marriage: contested and uncontested divorce.
- A contested divorce is when the spouses disagree on one, several, or all of the terms of their divorce, including the dissolution of marriage itself, marital property and debts division, spousal support, child-related issues, etc. Thus, the divorce case proceeds to court, where a judge resolves all the disputed matters.
- When both you and your spouse agree on all the issues in your divorce, you can get an uncontested dissolution. Then, instead of relying on the judge's decision, a couple can memorialize their arrangements concerning minor children, property, and finances in a Marital settlement agreement and submit it for court approval.
The uncontested divorce process is generally faster and more amicable than a litigated divorce. Besides, if the spouses are ready to cooperate and settle their differences out-of-court, they do not necessarily need to address a law firm to choose the right forms and prepare for filing for divorce.
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Steps for Filing a Divorce in Nebraska
The Nebraska divorce process involves several consecutive actions.
For a couple to be eligible for the dissolution of marriage in Nebraska, either spouse must have resided in Nebraska for at least one year before filing for divorce. The exception is when the spouses were married in Nebraska and have been married less than one year, and at least one of the spouses was a state resident the entire time.
When filing for divorce in Nebraska, the spouse who initiates the case fills out a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage. This legal document informs the court of the plaintiff's desire to end the marriage and contain a legal ground for divorce, as provided by the Family Law.
Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that neither spouse has to blame the other and prove marital misconduct (like adultery, abandonment, cruel treatment, etc.) before the court to issue the final decree.
The only valid ground for divorce recognized by Nebraska Family Law is the "Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage" (irreconcilable differences between the spouses). If the spouses tell the court that their marriage is broken and there is no chance for reconciliation, it is sufficient. In some cases, if one spouse denies that the marriage is broken, the judge may consider the relevant factors, including any possibility for reconciliation.
To start the legal process in Nebraska, the plaintiff (the party initiating the case) must file a Complaint for Dissolution and other completed divorce papers with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where either spouse lives.
Divorce papers in Nebraska
Initial Nebraska divorce papers include:
- Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage (Without Children - DC 6:4.1 / With Children - DC 6:5.1)
- Vital Statistics Certificate (Bureau of Vital Statistics Worksheet)
- Social security information form (DC 6:5.12)
- Confidential Party Information (Employment and Health Insurance Information) (DC 6:5.11)
Additional divorce papers and documents may be required depending on the county and various circumstances of a particular case (like whether the spouses have minor children, whether the divorce is contested or not, and more).
When the plaintiff files all the necessary divorce papers with the local court, they must pay a mandatory filing fee. In Nebraska, the court fee is about $160, but you can contact the Clerk's Office for the exact amount. In some cases, if the plaintiff cannot afford to pay the filing fee, they can request a fee waiver by filing an Affidavit and Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and an Order to Proceed In Forma Pauperis with the court.
Nebraska requires a mandatory 60-day waiting period between the date you serve your spouse with divorce papers and the final hearing. In divorce cases with minor children involved, the divorcing spouses must complete a parenting class during this time.
When the case is filed, you must serve your spouse with copies of the divorce documents in a court-approved manner. In Nebraska, the service of process can be accomplished in any of the following methods:
- by asking the defendant to sign a Voluntary Appearance form (this type of service is typically applied in uncontested cases, where the spouses are ready to cooperate);
- by filing the Praecipe for Summons with the Clerk and having the sheriff serve your spouse;
- by Service by Publication (if the spouse's home address is unknown, and the sheriff cannot serve the Summons on them).
When at least 60 days have passed from the time the defendant was served, the couple can get a court hearing date. County courts can have different procedures for requesting a final hearing date, so it's best to contact the Clerk to know how to do it. Once the plaintiff has a court date, they must complete and file a Notice of Hearing form to tell the other spouse about the divorce hearing.
Uncontested final hearings are brief. The judge usually asks some questions to make sure the couple meets all the Nebraska Judicial Branch divorce requirements and the divorce decree prepared by the spouses is done correctly. If so, the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution and grants a divorce.
Getting a Divorce With Children
To resolve child-related issues out of court, the divorcing spouses must create a Parenting Plan addressing custody and parenting time. There are two types of child custody defined by Nebraska statute, legal and physical, each of which can be awarded jointly to the parents or solely to one spouse. Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority of each parent, and physical custody determines the child's primary residence and which parent takes care of the child daily. So, the spouses can develop various forms of custody arrangements, like joint legal with joint physical custody, joint legal with sole physical custody, etc. In most cases, the law favors joint legal custody (which allows both parents to share their particular legal rights and responsibilities for critical child-rearing decisions) as an option that meets the child's best interests.
Besides, all spouses with minor children must take a parenting education class and provide the court with the information needed for deciding a fair amount of child support.
In Nebraska, both parents are responsible for contributing to their children's support until the child turns 19 (the age of majority in Nebraska). The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines provide basic formula for calculating child support based on the parents' net incomes and child-related expenses. However, different child support worksheets must be used depending on the type of custody arrangement.
In general, the following unique forms and documents are provided for divorcing parents to file:
- Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage with Children (DC 6:5.1)
- Certificate of Completion of Parenting Education Course (DC 6:5.5)
- Financial Affidavit for Child Support (DC 6:5.2)
- Parenting Plan Parent-Created (Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custody) (DC 6:5.37)
- Parenting Plan Parent-Created (Joint Legal and Sole Physical Custody) (DC 6:5.38)
- Parenting Plan Parent-Created (Sole Legal and Sole Physical Custody with One Parent) (DC 6:5.39)
- Parenting Plan, Absent Parent, Plaintiff's Use (DC 6:5.14)
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage – With Children (DC 6:5.3)
Filing for Divorce in Nebraska Without a Lawyer
Getting a divorce in Nebraska can cost a fortune in legal fees. However, when the spouses seek an uncontested divorce and do not need a lawyer to represent them in a divorce case or provide specific advice, they can arrange their own divorce and save money. Such a Pro Se or do-it-yourself divorce is a legit option, recognized by Nebraska Supreme Court and available for couples who do not have disputes over children or property. Instead of hiring a full-service attorney, the spouses may resort to mediation to develop their Settlement Agreement or Parenting Plan and use cheap online divorce services to complete all the documents correctly.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Nebraska
- The spouses attempting a DIY divorce can download blank forms from the Nebraska Supreme Court government website. However, they should be well aware of the state's divorce laws and District Court rules to complete all the papers without mistakes and avoid case delays.
- For those who do not want to waste time grappling with paperwork by themselves, OnlineDivorce.com provides a win-win alternative. Using this website, you can get your divorce forms completed in only two business days at a much lower price than attorneys' flat fees for uncontested cases.
- Divorce Online strictly abides by the Nebraska Statutes and country-specific requirements and provides only the relevant legal forms along with step-by-step filing instructions. We aim to help our customers prepare all the required divorce forms quickly without much hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The minimum possible limit for an uncontested divorce in Nebraska is 60 days from serving the divorce papers on the defendant, as defined by the mandatory waiting period. However, even straightforward uncontested divorces typically take a little longer because of additional factors, including the court workload and each couple's unique circumstances.
Generally, the cost of divorce is based on the length of the process and the amount of conflict, so uncontested divorces are less expensive than litigated ones. For uncontested cases, the average lawyers' flat fees are about $1000-$1500 in Nebraska. To lower the cost of divorce, the spouses can resort to alternative dispute resolution methods or use online divorce paperwork drafting services.
Any divorce starts with paying a court filing fee, so generally, there is no such thing as free divorce in Nebraska. However, if the plaintiff has a low income and cannot afford to pay this cost, they can ask the court for a fee waiver by filing an Affidavit and Application to Proceed Without Payment of Fees (In Forma Pauperis).
Nebraska divorce forms include but are not limited to Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage, Vital Statistics Certificate, Social security information form, Confidential Party Information, Voluntary Appearance, Notice of Hearing, Certificate of Completion of Parenting Education Course, Financial Affidavit for Child Support, Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.