Divorce

One of the most exciting moment of an individual’s life is the day he or she gets married.  It is a time of hope and optimism for the future.  Sometimes though, relationships go wrong.  When that relationship is a marriage, it can be a very difficult time.  Both emotionally, and legally.

Marriage is a legal institution and Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state.  That means that the only thing a court looks at when determining whether to grant a divorce is whether one person in the marriage believes that the parties have irreconcilable differences.  If you or your spouse wants a divorce that divorce will be granted.  It is an unpleasant fact of life that court actions tend to increase the stress and emotions which are present in parties when a divorce is filed.

There are some people who want amicable divorces, who feel that civility can be achieved, and try very hard to work with their spouse to make the process as smooth as possible.  The parties may attempt to work out an agreement (stipulation) which addresses all of the issues: property division, child custody and parenting, support.  Even in the best situations, where the parties are in complete agreement, it is important for each person to contact their own attorney.  This ensures that the agreement covers all necessary issues, and that it actually has the effect the parties both want.  In this situation, where the parties are friendly, and in complete agreement about all issues, and both have contacted an attorney to review the agreement, a divorce is relatively quick to achieve.

There are also cases where one of the spouses may disappear or abandon the marriage and the state.  It is still possible, and even important to get a divorce under these circumstances.  The remaining spouse could be held liable for debts incurred by the missing spouse, and marital property could be removed by the missing spouse.Divorce under this circumstance is not as quick a process as when the parties agree, but it is faster than the next situation described.

Most divorces are not so simple though.  Often times when a divorce is being considered, the parties are not able to communicate.  One or both spouses are hurt, possibly very angry.  It is human nature to want to protect ourselves from someone or something that has hurt us.  And when there is a child or children, then we become even more protective.  This is when having a knowledgeable attorney becomes even more important.  Child custody issues will be discussed at more length in another section.

Nebraska is not a community property state, there are laws which govern which property (and debts) are marital, and which is not marital.  It may be very surprising to find out what is considered marital, and what is not.  To further complicate matters, the courts will find that a division whereby the parties receive between 1/3 to 2/3 of the property is fair.  A good attorney will help you to work out a division of assets and debts that will best benefit you.

A divorce may go to trial on all the issues, or only a few issues if the parties can agree to issues.  In the situation where the case goes to trial, it will be heard by a district court judge.  It could take many months from the date of filing the original papers to the date of trial.  There are a number of hearings that occur prior to trial, and there may be some temporary orders issued by the court prior to the actual trial.  At trial there will be witnesses and exhibits, and the judge will listen to the testimony and look at the evidence, and then take the matter under consideration.  It may take days, or weeks for a judge to come to a decision and issue a written order (decree).

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