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How Do I Begin a Nebraska Divorce Proceeding?

Every divorce proceeding in Nebraska begins with the filing of a complaint for dissolution of marriage  in the same county where at least one of the parties resides.

Throughout the process of your divorce, it is important to receive the legal counsel of an attorney who will help ensure that you fulfill all legal requirements for your divorce in Nebraska. Beginning a divorce can be an intimidating process, but with the help of an experienced divorce attorney in Nebraska, your divorce can go smoothly.

The First Step to a Nebraska Divorce Proceeding 

The first step in initiating a divorce in Nebraska is filing a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage with the appropriate court. This legal document outlines the grounds for divorce and the relief sought by the filing party. 

In Nebraska, divorce operates under a no-fault system, which means that specific wrongdoings are not necessary to obtain a divorce. Instead, the spouse seeking a divorce must demonstrate that the marriage has irreconcilable differences, leading to its breakdown.

Technically, there is a second  legal ground for divorce in Nebraska, which includes when one spouse is mentally ill and unable to consent to the dissolution of marriage, or when there is a case of drug and alcohol abuse. However, these grounds are rarely utilized due to the availability of the no-fault option.

Nonetheless, fault can still be taken into account when determining issues such as child custody, spousal support, and related matters.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Nebraska 

In order to file for divorce in Nebraska, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least one year. However, there are exceptions to this rule:

  • If you got married in Nebraska and seek a divorce within a year of your wedding date, your divorce application may still be valid if you have been a continuous resident of Nebraska throughout your marriage.
  • For individuals serving in the U.S. armed forces, one partner must have retained their residency in Nebraska if stationed elsewhere or been stationed at a Nebraska military base or installation for one year prior to filing for divorce.

If you do not meet the residency requirement in Nebraska, you have the option to file for legal separation and convert it to a dissolution action later. Once you have fulfilled the residency requirement, you can amend the complaint to request a divorce. This does start the statutory 60-day waiting period over when you convert a legal separation into a divorce proceeding.

Working With A Nebraska Family Law Attorney For Your Divorce

While it is not mandatory to hire an attorney in Nebraska, it is highly recommended, especially if your divorce involves complex issues like child custody, property division, or significant assets. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, ensure your rights are protected, and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Time Considerations for Nebraska Divorce Proceedings

The time it takes to finalize a divorce in Nebraska varies depending on factors such as court caseload, cooperation between spouses, and the complexity of the issues involved. An uncontested divorce may take a few months, while a contested divorce can take significantly longer. A variety of factors contribute to how long your divorce process can take in Nebraska. There is also a statutory 60-day waiting period after the service of process on the non-filing party, i.e., a divorce decree cannot be entered before 60-days have expired after both parties have official notice of the suit.

Child Custody and Support in Your Nebraska Divorce

If you have children, the court will consider the best interests of the child when determining child custody and visitation arrangements. Nebraska encourages joint custody, but the final decision will be based on factors such as the child’s preferences (if mature enough), the parents’ ability to provide a stable environment, and the child’s existing relationships. Child support and spousal support (alimony) decisions may also be necessary depending on your circumstances. 

Post-Decree Modifications in Nebraska

Under certain circumstances, you can request a modification of the divorce agreement in Nebraska. Common reasons to seek modification include changes in income, child custody arrangements, or relocation. If the divorce decree did not order alimony, it can never be modified to award alimony. If child support is modified, it is not modified retroactively to the time a change occurred but may be modified to the date of filing of the modification action. This is because child support is vested fully in the payee as soon as it accrues.To modify custody or parenting time, you must first demonstrate a material and substantial change in circumstances since the last parenting plan was entered and that the proposed change is in the child(ren)’s best interests. Your divorce attorney can assist you through this process should the situation warrant official changes. 

Starting a Nebraska divorce proceeding can be a challenging process, and each case is unique. It is advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Nebraska to ensure your rights are protected and to navigate through the legal complexities smoothly.

Contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Nebraska Legal Group by submitting a free case evaluation or calling us at 402.509.7033 in Omaha or 531.248.5050 in Lincoln.


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Two Old Mill, 10855 West Dodge Rd
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Omaha, NE 68154

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Lincoln, NE 68510

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