How to Prepare for Divorce
Some people become overwhelmed and stressed by the ordeal but understanding the options and the steps involved - and how to prepare for them - will help you cope and move on with the rest of your life without the stress and anxiety.
If you’ve made the decision to divorce, you may have already considered some of the practicalities involved.
It is important to be as prepared and organized as possible during the process so that you are ready for the inevitable challenges that are thrown at you.
Some people become overwhelmed and stressed by the ordeal but understanding the options and the steps involved – and how to prepare for them – will help you cope and move on with the rest of your life without the stress and anxiety.
Understand the residency requirements and grounds for divorce in Nebraska
Before you can legally be granted a divorce in Nebraska, some basic legal requirements must be met.
A judge in Nebraska can legally grant you a divorce if:
- You or your spouse have lived in Nebraska for at least one year before filing the petition for divorce and have the intention to make the state your permanent home.
Grounds for divorce
As well as meeting residency requirements, you must have valid grounds (reason) for divorce.
Most couples file for divorce based on a marriage that is “irretrievably broken”. Only one party needs to believe that the marriage is irretrievably broken for the judge to accept that the marriage is broken. A divorce can then be granted in 60 days, providing all outstanding issues are resolved.
Evaluate your divorce options
There is more than one way to handle a divorce. It doesn’t have to end up in a court battle.
In fact, that’s the exception to the rule. Most divorces in Nebraska can be arranged through negotiation, collaboration or mediation.
These options are generally preferable to litigation because they are less time-consuming, expensive, and stressful – and you get to retain control of the decision-making rather than handing it to a judge in a courtroom.
In a mediated divorce, you and your spouse hire a mediator to facilitate an agreement on the major disputed items. This could be child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, etc.
A mediated divorce can save time and money, and help you and your spouse remain on amicable terms while keeping the matter private and retaining full decision-making control.
Upon agreement, the mediator can prepare the necessary paperwork and it can be filed with the court without you having to appear.
An uncontested divorce is an ideal scenario for most divorcing couples.
You agree on all the major issues and are both prepared to sign an agreement to this effect. However, you prefer to have an attorney prepare and file all documents with the court and to make sure that you have covered all issues (including the tax consequences of the decisions you make)
Again, with uncontested divorces, no appearance before a judge is required.
With a collaborative divorce, both parties hire attorneys and all of the outstanding issues are discussed, negotiated and (ideally) agreed upon.
Sometimes, collaborative agreements require creative solutions to problems but experienced divorce attorneys are used to this process.
Preparation and organization are essential for a smooth divorce process. You’ll need to make countless decisions and each of them will, even in some small way, affect the life you lead after separation and divorce.
This burden is usually lessened if you have the support of an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you. You will understand the information you need to gather and the steps that you will need to go through.
First, there will usually be a “discovery” process as you prepare for the financial discussions that divorce negotiations always entail.
Make a list of assets and debts, detail current monthly incomings and outgoings, and, if possible, projected incomings/outgoings after you separate.
Begin gathering copies of supporting financial statements and records. This may include the following:
- Bank accounts statements
- Recent federal and state tax returns
- Pay stubs
- Brokerage accounts statements
- Insurance policies
- Credit card statements
- Retirement accounts
- Mortgage statements
- Car loan statements
- Details of any other marital assets
Understand the basic steps for filing for divorce
The precise divorce process will depend partly on your circumstances but the basic steps in Nebraska are as follows:
- Meet the residency requirements and grounds for divorce (as detailed above)
- File divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse
- If your spouse agrees or does not respond, it proceeds as an uncontested divorce, which is usually relatively quick.
- If your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, it becomes a contested divorce and your spouse may file papers explaining his or her position.
- Settle the outstanding issues through mediation or collaboration
- If this does not work, a series of court appearances usually follows and a judge will need to decide.
Get additional information about divorce laws in Nebraska
The best places to find additional information on divorce laws in Nebraska are:
- The State of Nebraska Judicial Branch: self-help info on filing for a simple divorce with children but without custody/visitation disputes or property disputes and a simple divorce without children and without disputed property.
- Legal Aid of Nebraska divorce handbooks
Need help navigating the divorce process in Nebraska?
Speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can help guide you through the process. Contact us at Nebraska Legal Group for a free case evaluation.