Divorce in Nebraska, Part 1
Cornhusker State requires one-year residency, unless marriage performed in state
Retaining attorney recommended
Most courts in the United States recommend retaining legal counsel for handling a divorce; even if both parties agree the marriage should come to an end; at least the petitioner (the one who files the lawsuit) should have an attorney in order to ensure the filing is legal and the decree will be enforceable. Of course, a contested divorce virtually guarantees the necessity of each party having an attorney, especially in complex cases with minor children, significant assets, or both.
Counseling can help with emotional pain
Another thing to consider is professional counseling. A divorce can be emotionally traumatic, even when both parties realize the relationship has run its course. Many people have reported feelings approaching those of having a death in the family. Certainly, divorce brings an end to any number of hopes and dreams. A compatible, trained attorney can help with appropriate referrals.
Addressing domestic violence
Experts also advise that if the relationship dynamic includes domestic violence, it should be dealt with immediately. Again, an experienced attorney can be invaluable, providing legal advice, filing protective orders and so on. Nebraska has numerous online resources to help with domestic violence, including:
- Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition;
- Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services;
- A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C.'s page, Nebraska: Domestic Violence Resources (includes county-by-county info);
- National Coalition against Domestic Violence: Nebraska Domestic Violence Facts;
- Nebraska's Network of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (NDVSAC) programs;
- NDVSAC's statewide list of programs and contact info.
Filing in district court
According to the Nebraska judicial branch, "Nebraska trial courts are divided into two basic levels: District Court and County Court and are located in the county seat of each county.
"District courts hear felony criminal cases, divorce cases, and civil cases involving a substantial amounts of money, to name a few."
The Citizen's Guide to Nebraska's Courts describes the judicial system in good detail. You can see a map of the judicial districts, and a full listing of district courts and clerk contact information plus links to district court Web sites.
Nebraska is somewhat strict: unless you were married in Nebraska and have lived in-state ever since, one of the parties must have resided in the state for at least one year. The same requirement applies to military personnel, who must have have been stationed in Nebraska for at least a year, unless the marriage was performed in Nebraska and you have lived in-state ever since.
Filing pro se, or hiring an attorney
The courts encourage all who are considering divorce to proceed very carefully and suggest retaining counsel:
A divorce can be complicated, and disputes over children and property make them even more complicated. Representing yourself in such cases may not be appropriate or wise. Although it is up to you to decide whether and how you use a lawyer in your divorce, the law does allow you to do your divorce by yourself, known as proceeding pro se (pronounced "pro-say"). Another option is to hire a lawyer to do only part of your divorce. This is called Limited Scope Representation.
Elsewhere on this site is this advisory:
Although these instructions and forms were developed to assist people who are handling their own cases, the Supreme Court's Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation urges anyone thinking of handling their own case to consider getting a lawyer to help with the divorce case.
Each district court has specific local rules that may apply in your case. Check with the Clerk of the District Court in your county. If you fail to follow the local rules, you may not be able to finish your case.
We can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.
[Note: Continued in Part 2.]