Wife removes wedding ring after quarrel with husband

Preparing for Divorce

Abrahamson Law Office  June 20, 2024

Divorce is one of the most challenging and emotionally draining experiences a person can go through. It not only signifies the end of a marital relationship but also brings about significant changes in various aspects of life, including finances, living arrangements, and even family dynamics.  

Nebraska recognizes two primary types of divorce: no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce. While the divorce process itself can be complex, being well-informed and adequately prepared can help mitigate the stress and uncertainty that often accompany this difficult life transition.  

At Abrahamson Law Office, we believe that informed decisions lead to better outcomes, and we are here to provide guidance every step of the way. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we proudly serve clients throughout Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County (Wahoo), Otoe County (Nebraska City), and Dodge County (Fremont). 

Understanding Divorce in Nebraska

In Nebraska, divorce is governed by state statutes that outline the requirements and procedures for dissolving a marriage. The state recognizes two primary types of divorce: no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce. Understanding the distinctions between these types is crucial for navigating the divorce process. 

No-Fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce, one spouse does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong to cause the marriage to fail. Instead, the petitioner only needs to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning that the relationship has deteriorated beyond repair, with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.  

This approach emphasizes the voluntary admission that the marriage cannot be salvaged. It simplifies the proceedings by eliminating the requirement to present evidence of wrongdoing. 

Fault-Based Divorce

While no-fault divorces are more common, Nebraska law does allow for fault-based divorces. In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove that the other spouse's misconduct led to the breakdown of the marriage. Grounds for a fault-based divorce in Nebraska can include: 

  • Adultery 

  • Extreme cruelty 

  • Abandonment 

  • Habitual drunkenness 

  • Drug abuse 

Opting for a fault-based divorce can potentially influence the court's decisions regarding alimony, property division, and child custody. At Abrahamson Law Office, we are committed to helping our clients understand their rights and options under Nebraska law. 

The Divorce Process in Nebraska

Understanding what to expect during the process is a key way to prepare for divorce. Below is an overview of the Nebraska divorce process: 

1. Consult an Attorney 

The first step is to consult with a qualified family law attorney who can provide experienced advice and guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. 

2. File for Divorce 

The first step is filing a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage with the district court in the county where either spouse resides. It's important to note that either you or your spouse must have lived in Nebraska for at least one year before filing. Alongside the complaint, documents such as financial affidavits and parenting plans (if children are involved) must be submitted. 

3. Serve the Papers 

Once the complaint is filed, the other spouse must be formally served with divorce papers. This can be done through personal service (delivered by a sheriff or process server) or by mail with a signed acknowledgment. Proper service ensures that the other party is aware of the proceedings. 

4. Response and Temporary Orders 

The served spouse has 30 days to respond to the complaint. During this time, either party can request temporary orders to address immediate concerns, such as custody, spousal support, or use of marital assets. These orders remain in effect until the final divorce decree is issued. Failure to respond can result in a default judgment. 

5. Discovery and Negotiation 

The discovery phase involves exchanging financial information and other relevant documents between the spouses to ensure full disclosure before any settlements or court decisions are made.  

Spouses can engage in negotiation or mediation (often facilitated by their attorneys) to reach a mutual agreement on issues like asset division, alimony, child custody, and child support. This can often result in a more amicable resolution and avoid a lengthy court battle. 

6. Trial and Final Decree

If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, the case may go to trial. During the trial, both parties will present evidence and arguments, and the judge will make decisions on contested issues. Once all issues are settled, the court issues a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, legally ending the marriage and outlining the terms of the divorce. 

Impact on the Division of Assets and Liabilities

In Nebraska, the division of assets and liabilities is typically guided by the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the court aims to divide marital property and debts fairly, though not necessarily equally. This is based on various factors including each spouse's financial circumstances, contributions to the marriage, and future needs.  

Couples need to understand that equitable distribution applies to all types of marital property, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and personal belongings, as well as marital debts. Accurately identifying, valuing, and categorizing assets and liabilities and working with experienced legal and financial professionals can ensure a comprehensive and fair settlement. 

Impact on Child Custody and Support

Couples need to understand that Nebraska courts prioritize the best interests of the children involved. Child custody decisions are made based on several factors, including each parent's ability to provide a stable environment, the relationships between the child and parents, and the child's wishes if they are of sufficient age and maturity.  

There are two primary types of custody: legal custody, which pertains to decision-making authority on behalf of the child, and physical custody, which pertains to where the child resides.  

Child support, on the other hand, is calculated based on the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, which consider both parents' incomes, the number of children, and the custody arrangement. Understanding these fundamentals and working with a knowledgeable family law attorney can help ensure that your children's needs are met during and after the divorce process. 

How Can an Attorney Help You Prepare for Divorce?

Divorce is complex and emotionally taxing, but seeking professional legal assistance can make a significant difference. At Abrahamson Law Office, we are committed to providing compassionate and effective representation throughout the divorce process. Some of the ways we can help you prepare for your divorce include: 

  • Preparing the necessary documentation: We will assist in gathering and preparing all the required documents, such as financial statements, affidavits, and parenting plans. 

  • Evaluating financial and property settlements: We can help you identify marital assets and liabilities and help ensure a fair and equitable division through negotiation or litigation if needed. 

  • Custody and support arrangements: We will work to reach amicable custody and support agreements, always prioritizing the best interests of the children involved. 

  • Manage communication between spouses: We serve as intermediaries, facilitating communication between you and your spouse, and negotiating terms to avoid unnecessary conflict. 

  • Prepare for court proceedings: If your case goes to trial, we will prepare you, represent your interests, and present a compelling case on your behalf. 

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

Preparing for a divorce in Nebraska involves understanding the process and the implications it can have on your life and family. By taking informed steps and seeking the right support, you can navigate this challenging period with confidence and clarity. 

If you are considering a divorce or need legal guidance, reach out to Abrahamson Law Office today. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you with compassion and experience. Contact us to schedule a consultation.