Before a couple can apply for divorce in the state of Nebraska they must fulfill the residency requirement as laid out by the state. Unless the marriage was performed and consummated in Nebraska, one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for at least a year before the original complaint is filed.
Fill out your Forms
If a couple fulfills the residency requirements, one spouse may file a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage in his or her home county's district court, or the district court or county where his or her spouse lives. Once the Petitioner has filed the complaint, he or she is responsible for serving his or her spouse (now called the Respondent).
The Respondent must be served within 6 months of the filing of the complaint. Service can be done in three different ways:
- Through a Voluntary Appearance Form
- Through a Summons
- Through publication in newspapers and other public outlets
The state of Nebraska suggests that the Petitioner attempt first to get the Respondent to sign a Voluntary Appearance form stating that he/she has been informed of the divorce action brought against him/her. If the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce proceedings and that does not work, then attempt service through the summons, and only turn to publication as a last resort. After being served, the Respondent has 30 days to file a response to the complaint with the district court. Even if the Respondent is served with a Voluntary Appearance form, he or she still has the option to file an answer.
Make Copies of your Forms
Once you have filled out the appropriate forms, make at least three copies of each. One set will be served to your spouse, one to be filed with the state, and one should be kept for your records.
Bring your Completed Forms to your Court Clerk's Office and Pay the Fee
Proceed to your court clerk's office with the originals and copies of your forms. If everything is in order, the clerk will use the original forms and ask you to pay a fee to file.
Once the Petition for Dissolution is filed and served, the couple must wait 60 days before the court will grant the dissolution. This time period is set aside as both a cooling off and mediation period, where the couple hopefully reaches a settlement and attends mediation. At the very least it provides time to assess the current situation of the marriage and the subsequent dissolution.
After the 60 day waiting period, the case will either settle and the dissolution will be granted through a decree of dissolution, or the couple will go to trial. Trial time depends upon the county in which the trial takes place. Anything that is contested will be settled equitability in trial. Equitable settlement does not mean a 50/50 split, but rather a fair and equal distribution of the contested marital property (debts, assets, property, etc.) based upon the length of marriage and the fault (or lack thereof) of parties involved.
If the parties have reached an agreement and they do not desire to proceed with a lengthy trial, they can use Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process to complete a Divorce Settlement Agreement. The Divorce Settlement Agreement details the division of property, assets, debts and liabilities, as well as settles matters of child support, custody and visitation.
When settlement is reached, then a written decree is created explaining the terms of the agreement and the Judge's decision. The divorce is final after 30 days and the spouses are allowed to remarry after 6 months. This 30 day time period is set aside to appeal the decree of marriage.
Forms and Instructions
Before attempting to do your entire divorce online, please remember that each county in Nebraska has slightly different filing procedures and thus it is a good idea to see the clerk in the county district court where you plan to file or where your divorce is filed.
Unfortunately if your divorce is contested, there are no forms available online through the state of Nebraska, and it is best to begin your divorce procedures by going down to the County District Court where the divorce is filed, or where you wish to file for divorce. There you should see the Clerk and ask them what forms are necessary. Consider getting a lawyer if your divorce is contested and based on fault grounds.
A Note Regarding Mediation
Before a decree for dissolution can be issued, the court must be able to see that every effort has been made for reconciliation. Thus, if both parties agree to counseling for reconciliation, then court must provide it for them. If a county has Conciliation Court then the dissolution of marriage can be transferred there. If a county does not have Conciliation Court the court will refer to qualified counselors or agencies in the area.
If children are involved in the case, then the District court may order that mediation be entered in order to resolve custody, visitation and any other contested issues. The involved parties must also attend seminars on divorce in order to understand its effects on children and the family unit. After the seminar the involved couple must see a certified mediator to figure out a parenting and custody plan.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.