Nebraska Divorce Basics

Learn the basics of a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, in Nebraska.

This article explains the divorce laws and procedures in Nebraska.

Grounds for Divorce

Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state. This means that neither spouse is required to prove that the other was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, either spouse may file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, stating that there's no chance of saving the marriage.    

Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

At least one spouse must be a Nebraska resident for one year to file for divorce in the state. You must file your divorce complaint in the district court of the county where you or your spouse reside. The judge can enter a decree of divorce no sooner than 60 days after the second spouse is served with a copy of the complaint.

Read Filing for Divorce in Nebraska to find more information about how to file for your divorce.

Property Division

Nebraska divides marital property equitably, meaning according to what is fair to both spouses; the property division will not necessarily be equal. Marital property is all property (your home, income, and possessions) acquired during marriage. The court considers several factors before making property orders including the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial and other contributions to the marriage (such as maintaining a home and raising children), and each spouse's economic circumstances after separation. Property that either spouse acquired before marriage or after separation is considered separate property and it remains that spouse's separate property and isn't divided as part of the divorce.

Alimony

Nebraska courts may order one spouse to pay alimony if the other spouse is in financial need. The judge will consider each spouse's economic situation, the length of the marriage, and whether the recipient spouse needs education or training to return to the workforce. Alimony ends automatically if the recipient spouse remarries or when either spouse dies. Alimony orders can be modified by agreement between the spouses or by court order if either spouse's circumstances change.

Child Support

Both parents are obligated to financially support their child until the child reaches age 19. Nebraska calculates child support based on state guidelines, using each parent's earning capacity as the starting point. The judge may order a support amount that deviates from the guidelines to include health insurance, medical, and educational costs. You can estimate your child support obligation  here. Child support is enforced by the  Department of Health & Human Services  and support payments may be withheld from your paycheck unless both parents agree on a different arrangement. To modify a child support order, at least one parent must show significantly changed circumstances.          

Child Custody

In making a child custody order, Nebraska courts are guided by the best interests of the child. The court may award custody to one or both parents; the presumption is that joint custody between both parents is best. The court will look several factors to determine custody including the child's relationship with both parents, the health, welfare, and social behavior of the child, the parents' wishes, and the child's wishes if the child is old enough to express a preference. Parents are strongly encouraged to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court explaining how they plan to share responsibilities of caring for the child. The court will adopt the plan as its order if the plan is in the child's best interest. The court will examine what is in the child's best interest if either parent wishes to modify custody.

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