Grounds for Divorce in Nebraska

Divorce is never easy, but in Nebraska, it might not be as complicated as you think.

By , Attorney

What Are Grounds for Divorce?

When filing for divorce, the spouse making the request must give the court a legal ground to terminate the marriage. When you prepare your application for dissolution of marriage (divorce), you must list a specific reason for your request. Some states still allow spouses to pursue a fault divorce, meaning something your spouse did during the marriage caused the relationship to fail. The acceptable fault reasons vary by state, but the most common include cruelty, mental illness, and adultery.

Every state allows spouses to file for no-fault divorce, which is typically based on irreconcilable differences or living apart for a specific amount of time. Couples will need to demonstrate that the relationship has reached a breaking point and there's no chance for reconciliation. The most favorable characteristic of no-fault divorce is that neither spouse needs to prove that the other's poor behavior caused the breakup.

Nebraska Is a Pure No-Fault Divorce State

If you're hoping to divorce in Nebraska, the only option is to use the state's no-fault procedures. Think of this as a way for couples to avoid the typical bitterness and guilt that usually comes with attempts to place blame during the divorce process.

You can ask for a divorce even if your spouse disagrees, and you only need to prove that your marriage is irretrievably broken, and there's no chance for reconciliation. These requirements may seem complicated, but they aren't. If you and your spouse are no longer compatible and there's no chance you'll repair the relationship in the future, a judge will grant your request for a divorce.

There are some states, like Michigan, where it's enough for a spouse to make a statement to the court that the marriage is over. But in Nebraska, you must provide evidence to the court, such as your own testimony, or testimony from friends and family.

How Does No-Fault Divorce Work in Nebraska?

To begin the divorce process in Nebraska, the filing spouse will need to provide a complaint for dissolution of marriage with the court. This document will include details about the relationship, including:

  • whether the couple has children (including if the couple has an agreement on all custody and visitation matters)
  • whether the couple shares marital property and debt
  • whether either spouse has retirement or pension accounts, and
  • whether either spouse will request alimony from the other.

You'll also need to state whether your marriage is irretrievably broken and if there's a chance you can repair it. The status of your marriage is the number one requirement for no-fault divorce, so if you forget this information, it's possible the court will ask you to resubmit your complaint.

In addition to the above statements, you will need to meet Nebraska's residency and waiting requirements, meaning at least one spouse must live in the state for one year before filing for divorce. The only exception to this rule is when the couple has been married for less than one year. In this case, if at least one spouse lived in the state for the entire marriage, you can file for divorce here.

If you meet the requirements, Nebraska also has a minimum waiting period before the judge will hear your case, which is 60 days. This time allows couples to work out the details of the divorce before the court needs to intervene.

After the waiting period is over, you'll appear in front of a judge who will evaluate your case. If you have a settlement agreement, the court will enter it into the record and finalize the divorce. If you don't, a judge will decide divorce-related matters, like property division, child custody, and alimony. This hearing is also the time when you will present evidence of your broken marriage to the court.

Is Annulment Possible in Nebraska?

Yes, but under very limited circumstances. Annulment and divorce are similar in that they are both legal procedures that end a marriage. But, an annulment is different from divorce because it treats the marriage as though it never existed. There's a common misconception that if you've been married for a short amount of time you can ask the court to void (or erase) your marriage. On the contrary, although Nebraska allows annulment, the court will only grant it for very specific reasons, including:

  • your marriage was illegal (for instance, if you and your spouse are too closely related)
  • either spouse was impotent or mentally ill at the time of the marriage
  • bigamy (either spouse was already married to someone else), or
  • one spouse forced the other into the marriage using threats or fraud (lies).

The spouse pursuing the annulment is responsible for proving the reasons for the request to the court. After you convince the court that you qualify for an annulment, the judge will decide the same issues as divorce (property division, custody, child support, and alimony) with the goal of restoring each spouse to the same position they were in before the marriage.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Considering Divorce?

Talk to a Divorce attorney.

We've helped 85 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you