It’s one thing to think about filing for divorce in Nebraska. It’s quite another to actually take that big step.
If you’re not familiar with how the system works, you can easily be overwhelmed and intimidated by the process.
The best thing to do is to break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. That’s the best way to make sure you have the best possible outcome with the least amount of stress and costs.
Here are several things to know.
- What Information Should I Gather and Prepare for Divorce in Nebraska?
- How Do I Determine Which Divorce Process is Right for me?
- What are the Necessary Forms to Prepare for a Nebraska Divorce?
- How Do I File and Serve My Forms on My Spouse in a Nebraska Divorce?
- After I Have Filed, What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce in Nebraska?
- More FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Nebraska
What information do I need to prepare for a divorce in Nebraska?
The first step may be the most critical. It involves gathering the documentation you’ll need to support your subsequent divorce efforts.
This can take some time and effort to accomplish, especially if you’re trying to do it quietly or without the help of an uncooperative spouse.
But you’ve got to make sure your legal rights are protected, and the best way to do that is by gathering documents and evidence to support your claim.
The keys are to start early and stay organized. The quicker you can put your hands on particular pieces of information when you need them, the better off you’ll be.
We’ve simplified the process for you by creating a Divorce Information Checklist you can access as part of our article, The Ultimate Divorce Checklist: The Information You Need to Prepare for Divorce.
What are my options for getting a divorce?
After you have decided to get a divorce, one of the most important things you will do is decide HOW you’re going to get divorced.
You have options.
Every divorce is different, so you’ll need to look at the particulars of your relationship and your marriage and then decide if you want to move forward with an uncontested divorce, or one of the many options in a contested divorce.
What are the Necessary Forms to Prepare for a Nebraska Divorce?
The exact forms you will need vary by the specifics of your divorce, but at a minimum, you will need to file the following, along with a payment of fees when you do:
Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage (DC 6:5.1) — This form officially begins the process of divorce. You can view instructions for filing the form here.
Vital Statistics Certificate — Nebraska law requires that you file a fully completed Vital Statistics Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment. Fill out the Vital Statistics Certificate and take it with you when you file the Complaint. If you do not know the responses to some of the information the form wants, you must try to locate the information. If you cannot find the information, you may put “unknown” in the appropriate box on the form.
Confidential Employment and Health Insurance Information and Social Security Information forms (DC 6:5.11 through DC 6:5.12a) — These documents must also be given to the clerk of the district court at the time of filing your Complaint.
How Do I File and I Serve My Forms on My Spouse in a Nebraska Divorce?
When you have completed your paperwork, you must file it in person with the clerk of the district court where you or your spouse live. When you file and pay your fees, you will be given a case number that must be used on all future documents.
After you file your paperwork, you must officially notify your spouse of your intention to divorce him or her.
You can serve your spouse with paperwork within six months after you file, or you’ll need to start your case all over again.
The official notice is called “service of process,” and can take place by Voluntary Appearance, filling out a request for a Praecipe for Summons, or by publication.
- Voluntary Appearance. Your spouse can accept service by signing a Voluntary Appearance. Complete the form (DC 6:4.3a) and give a copy to your spouse, along with a copy of the complaint. Your spouse must sign the Voluntary Appearance and return it to you or file it with the court.
- Praecipe for Summons. Complete the appropriate form (DC 6:4.4) to have service completed by the sheriff in your county. File it with the clerk of the district court where you filed for your divorce.
You will have to pay a fee to have this service performed on your behalf. Fees vary from county to county, so check with your court to see what the exact amount is. If a judge granted a fee waiver, attach that proof to the Order to the Praecipe.
If your spouse lives or works in a different county or state than you do, you will need to contact the sheriff in that locale and determine who to complete service of process for that jurisdiction. Mail a copy of the paperwork to the sheriff who will attempt to serve your spouse.
If the sheriff is successful, you will receive a return of service notice. You will then file that paperwork with the court to show this important step has been completed.
- Service by Publication. If you can’t serve your spouse in either of these ways, you can ask the court to complete service by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. Check with the court for specifics on how to do this for your county.
Once I Have Filed, What are the Steps for Getting a Divorce in Nebraska?
After proof of service is completed, your spouse is now considered the defendant in your divorce case and has 30 days to respond to the complaint.
If you’re the defendant, you’ll need to file an Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. If you file, you’ll also need to provide your spouse with a copy of the response which can be sent by first-class mail.
You cannot ask the court to hear your case until at least 60 days from the date your spouse was served, with the following caveats:
- If you filed a Voluntary Appearance signed by your spouse, the 60 days begin to run the day after you file the Voluntary Appearance with the court.
- If the sheriff served your spouse in person, the 60 days begin to run the day after the sheriff
- If you served your spouse by publication, the 60 days begin to run the day after the last date the Notice of Divorce Proceeding was published in the newspaper.
If you have minor-aged children, parents must also complete a Parenting Education course sometime before the final hearing. The court-approved providers are available online. After you complete the course you must submit a Certificate of Completion of Parenting Education Course.
To request a divorce hearing date, contact the clerk of the district court. Each court operates a bit differently, so be sure to check with the specific court where your hearing will be held.
When you have a date, notify your spouse by completing a Notice of Hearing. File a copy with the court and send a copy to your spouse by first-class mail.
Depending on the nature of your case, your attorneys may attempt to negotiate parts of the divorce before your hearing. This part will vary widely depending on your circumstances.
During your hearing, if you haven’t reached agreement already, the court will rule on parenting time, child support and other issues. If you have children, you are required to come to court with a completed child support calculation. You must also have a Parenting Plan that needs to be submitted for approval.
After you testify, the judge will decide whether or not to grant a Decree of Dissolution.
When the decree is signed, it is filed with the clerk’s office, but the divorce will not be final for 30 days. Also, you cannot remarry anyone anywhere in the world for at least six months after the decree is signed and filed unless your spouse dies.
FAQs About Getting a Divorce in Nebraska
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Nebraska?
The cost is $158 to file at the time you submit initial paperwork to the court. You may also have to pay an additional fee to have the paperwork served on your spouse, depending on what method you choose.
Can divorce fees be waived in Nebraska?
Fees can be waived if you can prove you have low income. You will need to complete an In Forma Pauperis form and submit it to the court for consideration when you file your initial paperwork.
Can I file for divorce online in Nebraska?
You can partner with an online service or a private attorney to help you complete paperwork online or via email. But when it’s time to file, you must do so in person at your district courthouse.
Our favorite resource for a fast and effective online divorce is: 3 Step Divorce.
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- Immediate access to completed forms
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Can I file for divorce without a lawyer?
There are no legal requirements for using an attorney when you get divorced in Nebraska. People often complete the process on their own when their divorces are simple and uncontested.
Just be aware that if you run into any complications, you should seriously consider retaining an attorney to protect your interests. One mistake could cost you dearly and that doesn’t need to be the case.
What are the residency requirements for getting a divorce in Nebraska?
You or your spouse must have lived in Nebraska for at least one year prior to filing your paperwork. The one exception is that you were married in Nebraska less than one year ago and have lived in the state your entire time since your marriage.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Nebraska? What is the timeline?
It depends. With an uncontested divorce, it will take about 60-90 days for the court to approve a final dissolution of marriage. By law, the final hearing must be held at least 60 days after the paperwork has been served on your spouse. Expect varying delays based on a court backlog or availability of judges.
Going through mediation, collaboration or other forms of negotiated divorce can take several months. Much of this will depend on how cooperative you are, the types of issues you have to settle and how quickly you can reach an agreement.
All forms of litigation take a long time, as much as 1-2 years, and possibly longer. If a divorce is complicated, involves large amounts of marital assets, or there is a high level of conflict between the spouses, expect the process to take a long, long time.
Can I file for divorce in Nebraska while I’m pregnant?
Yes. You can file while you’re pregnant. However, your divorce probably won’t be finalized until after the baby is born. That’s because the court will need to establish custody and support orders after the fact.
There also might be some issues about who the father of the child is, and that may need to be established through DNA testing to determine if your husband is the father or not.
If I serve in the military, how does that affect divorce?
If you or your spouse are in the military and you want to get a divorce, at least one of you must reside or be stationed in Nebraska.
Servicemembers have certain protections afforded to them by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You can postpone a divorce while overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition due to military service commitments.
You can choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing paperwork that allows the divorce to proceed uncontested.
Child support and spousal support are determined by Nebraska state guidelines, but federal law dictates that these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemember’s pay and allowances.
Retirement benefits are divided in accordance with the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. This legislation directs that the former spouse must have been married to the servicemember for a minimum of 10 years during which the member performed at least 10 years of military service creditable towards retirement eligibility. This is known as the 10/10 rule.
The act also allows former spouses to receive commissary, exchange, and healthcare benefits after a divorce if the former spouse can show that:
- The service member served at least 20 years of creditable service
- The marriage lasted at least 20 years
- The period of the marriage overlapped the period of service by at least 20 years.
Looking for more great tips about filing for divorce? Check out a few of our most popular resources.
- Everything You Need to Know About Alimony
- A Beginner’s Guide to Divorce Mediation
- How to Divorce a Narcissist (and Win!)
- Pendente Lite: A Complete Guide to Temporary Orders
- Laws Governing Military Divorce