Nebraska Divorce Law

Nebraska Child Support Guidelines:

The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines and the Child Support Calculator assist the court in determining the amount of child support that should be paid in your case.

Nebraska recognizes the duty of both parents to contribute to the financial support of their children and each parent’s financial responsibility is proportionate to his or her income and earning capacity. The calculation takes into consideration the parents’ incomes, as well as various deductions, and produces what the monthly contribution of each parent should be.

The guidelines are considered a “rebuttable presumption,” that is, if either parent can produce evidence showing that there is a reason that the guidelines should not apply, the court may choose to not follow them. Likewise, parents may agree to “deviate” from the guidelines, but such agreements must be in your child’s best interest and approved by the court. Otherwise, the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines will determine the amount of support required by each parent.

Child support and parenting time are interrelated issues. Under the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, there are different worksheets that can be used to determine the amount of child support depending on whether one parent has sole physical custody or the parents share joint physical custody.

Nebraska law requires that child support orders address how the parents will provide for the child’s health care needs through health insurance as well as the non-reimbursed medical expenses of the child. The guidelines provide instruction on how to incorporate such expenses into the calculation.

Nebraska Parenting Act:

The Nebraska Parenting Act applies to cases involving child custody or parenting time, such as divorces with children, legal separations, paternity, and custody modification cases.

The Parenting Act requires parents involved in a custody matter to:

  1.  Attend a parenting education class
  2. Create a parenting plan
  3. Participate in mediation if they cannot agree on the terms of the parenting plan
Parenting Education Class

Each parent is required to attend a court-approved basic parenting education class in which he or she will receive information and tips to help his or her child cope with the impact of divorce or separation. The class also provides information about mediation, parenting plans, and the legal process. For modification actions, parents are required to attend a second level parenting education course that assists parents in developing strategies for resolving parental conflict and minimizing the child’s exposure to parental conflict.

Parenting Plans

The Parenting Act also requires that the parents complete a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a “blueprint” or a “guideline” for how children will be parented after their parents have separated.

A parenting plan may either be agreed to by the parties, negotiated by the parties with the assistance of their respective attorneys, or mediated with the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator.

A typical parenting plan provides for the following: legal and physical custody, routine parenting time, holiday parenting time, vacation parenting time, notifications regarding the child’s residence, a transition plan for drop-off/pick-up of the child, safety plans, and re-mediation. The parenting plan does not include any financial arrangements.

Mediation

The Parenting Act requires that if parents cannot agree to the terms of the parenting plan, they must attempt mediation. In mediation, the parents will meet with a neutral third-party mediator in order to create their parenting plan. The mediator does not make decisions or provide recommendations, but rather assists the parents in reaching agreements with regard to their plan.

Typically, in mediation, both parties meet with the mediator separately for an initial intake session. Then, the mediator meets with both parties to attempt to mediate the terms of the parenting plan. For parents in high-conflict relationships, specialized mediation is available.