A no-fault divorce, which means that couples seeking a divorce do not need to prove fault or wrongdoing by either party, has been in the spotlight recently. This system can simplify the divorce process and reduce conflict between spouses, but it also has its own set of challenges. In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of no-fault divorce in Nebraska and what it means for couples going through a separation.

Is Nebraska a No-Fault Divorce State?

Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates in Nebraska have actually decreased in recent years, according to Statista data. That said, you may find that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you’re ready to start the legal process of divorce. Here are some of the most important things for you to know about divorce law in Nebraska, including whether Nebraska is considered a no-fault divorce state.

Getting Divorced in Nebraska

If you want to get divorced, the first step is a divorce application which should be filed at your local district court. In Nebraska, this divorce application is called a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage. There is a court filing fee (about $160 as of the time of this writing) and you are also required to submit statistical data (where married, social security number, date of birth, etc.) when you file the Complaint.

Once your Complaint has been filed. The Clerk assigns a case number and a judge to your case. You then have to give the other party formal notice of the divorce action. In Nebraska, this is usually by one of two methods. One is to have your spouse sign a document called a “Voluntary Appearance” where they acknowledge that they received the divorce Complaint. This Voluntary Appearance is filed with the Court and counts as service. The second method is by having the sheriff serve your spouse with the Complaint. On cases where you are unable to serve the other party by one of these two methods, the Court can grant an order allowing service by another option, such as by publication in the newspaper.

Once an opposing spouse has been served with the Complaint, they can choose one of several different ways to proceed. A divorce can be contested or uncontested.

A contested divorce requires appearances in court (and may require several), whereas an uncontested divorce is when there is an agreement between both parties to end the marriage with terms you both agree to.

In Nebraska, there is a 60 day mandatory waiting period after service. Thus, even in uncontested divorces, you have to wait until the 60 days are up to submit your divorce decree. However, the good news is that most judges will accept a hearing waiver. Thus, after your 60 days are up, you may be able to submit your decree and hearing waiver to finalize your divorce without ever having to step foot into a courtroom.

Seeing a Lawyer

Both parties may seek legal representation for a divorce in the State of Nebraska.

Whether you are the person applying for the divorce or the opposing spouse, it can make the process smoother and easier to see a divorce lawyer first.

Lawyers know the court system and the law as it pertains to their area of practice. A first consultation with a divorce lawyer in the State of Nebraska will give you a clearer outline of what to expect and a general idea of what the strengths and weaknesses of your case may be.

Even for couples who have generally agreed to the terms of their divorce, legal assistance can help make sure the terms are fair and the divorce decree actually states what you think it means. Too many times has a spouse later learned that they gave far away more than their share as they didn’t understand what the law entitled them to. Other times, parties that go forward without an attorney draft a Decree that is missing necessary terms or uses terms that mean something different in a legal context than a party understood them to mean. Especially if the parties own real estate or are diving retirement accounts, the parties can accidentally create title issues or serious tax consequences because of the divorce decree they drafted on their own

Ask an experienced divorce lawyer instead of trying to navigate the court system on your own and hoping that you did things right. If you have assets to protect, turning your divorce into a do-it-yourself legal project can have dire consequences down the road.

Approaching the Court

In Nebraska, a lawyer may provide legal advice to a client, but they also may appear on behalf of their client. For example, you will be expected to appear at trial with your attorney. However, for the majority of the other motions and hearings, your attendance will be optional as your attorney will be able to appear on your behalf.

Alternatively, if your divorce is uncontested, your attorney can submit the documents to start and finalize the case with the Court on your behalf. You will likely never even enter the courthouse in an uncontested divorce case if you have an attorney.

Is Nebraska a No-Fault Divorce State?

Yes, Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state, which means that couples can get divorced without having to prove that the other spouse was at fault. A party must just prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Nebraska Revised Statute 42-347

Within some states in the US that still have “fault” divorce, it is necessary for one partner to give a valid reason for their divorce application to be considered. Infidelity and financial reasons, as well as irreconcilable differences, are some of the reasons why one partner may feel they would like to apply for a divorce.

No-fault divorce states like Nebraska do not require any reasons to be given for a divorce application. Therefore, you can still get divorced in Nebraska even if your marriage appears to still be strong from the outside and one spouse wants to stay married. As long as at least one spouse thinks the marriage is irretrievably broken, the Court will likely grant the divorce.

Law Office of Julie Fowler, PC, LLO | Divorce Lawyers Omaha

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If you are looking for an attorney in a child support case or divorce in Omaha, Nebraska, or the surrounding areas (including Papillion, Bellevue, Gretna, Elkhorn, Lincoln, Nebraska City, Sarpy, and Lancaster), contact our office to set up a consultation.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.