While most family law cases in Nebraska are heard exclusively by Nebraska district courts, a small number of family law cases are instead heard by district court referees, often referred to as child support referees.

Who is a District Court Referee?

District court referees are attorneys who have been appointed by Nebraska courts to provide rulings on certain family law issues. They are typically longstanding practitioners who have a great deal of experience in family law. A district court referee listens to evidence presented by parties at trial, similarly to a district court judge.

What Type of Cases Are Assigned to the District Court Referee?

District Court Referees may only hear the following issues:

  • Establishment of child support, spousal support, or medical support
  • Modification of child support, spousal support, or medical support
  • Enforcement and collection of child support, spousal support, or medical support
  • Protection orders

If a family law case contains other issues, the district court referee may only rule on the issues listed above.

How Are Cases Assigned to a District Court Referee?

District court referees are not automatically assigned. Instead, Nebraska courts must specifically refer eligible cases.

What Are the Advantages of Having a Case Assigned to the District Court Referee?

Generally speaking, district court referees are able to hear trials and issue rulings more quickly than other courts. This often translates into saved time and legal expenses.

What Happens After the District Court Referee Issues Its Ruling?

After considering the evidence presented at trial, the district court referee will issue a suggested order to the district court. If neither party objects to the suggested order, then the district court will typically adopt the suggested order as its own ruling. However, parties do have the right to request a hearing before the district court to challenge the district court referee’s suggested order.

It is critical to understand the process and advantages of a district court referee. Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne is here to advise you on the nuances and advantages of district court referees.

David Pontier

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