Nebraska Child Custody Laws

Child custody laws in your state will greatly affect the outcome of your custody arrangement. By taking the time to learn more about these laws, you are more likely to feel more comfortable as you formulate your family's agreement. This is especially true if you find yourself heading to a court hearing regarding your case. Here are a few things to know about Nebraska child custody laws.

The Nebraska Parenting Act

Specific to this state, the Nebraska Parenting Act enforces certain requirements for parents involved in a court case dealing with family matters like child custody. This act requires parents to create and submit a parenting plan to be reviewed by the court. Parents are welcome to work this out a plan on their own, or they may enlist the help of a family law attorneys. This plan will spell out how parenting responsibilities are to be divided from here on out. This would include everything from determining legal and physical custody, to working out how a child will be transported between homes and how parents will communicate with each other. 

As parents are in the midst of formulating their custody agreement, they will also be required to attend a parenting education class. This class is meant to teach parents about things like parenting plans, the effect that divorce has on kids, and the legal process that their case will entail. One goal of this class is that parents will come to an agreement on a parenting plan which they can then submit to the court. If they cannot come to an agreement, they will likely be required to attend mediation. With the help of a mediator, parents will again work on creating a custody agreement. Parenting education classes and mediation are both meant to give parents an opportunity to come to a resolution on their parenting plan while also learning communication and dispute resolution skills that they can use in everyday life. Parents are also encouraged to maintain some level of consistency between their households for the sake of their kids. Having similar expectations and rules will help the kids transition more easily into the new family structure. If mediation doesn't help parents reach an agreement, Nebraska Family Court will determine a parenting plan for them. 

Besides a parenting plan, parents will also need to work out a financial arrangement and property division as part of a property settlement agreement. Part of this agreement will include determining child support. In Nebraska, child support payments are decided based on how much physical custody time each parent has. It is not uncommon for one parent to have a larger portion of custody time than the other, so the non-custodial parent typically must pay child support. All of these actions take place in order to give the child the most comfortable and consistent lifestyle after their parents' divorce. 

Nebraska child custody laws put great weight on looking into the best interests of the child.

Whether determined by the parents alone, in mediation or by the court, a child custody arrangement in Nebraska will be decided based on the child's best interests. Things like the child's physical and emotional health, and developmental needs will all be studied and factored into the final custody decision. Nebraska courts will also consider a child's wishes in regards to where they'd prefer to spend their time, but this often serves simply as something that the courts will take into consideration. Factors like the child's overall health and safety will take precedence over their personal wishes. Also, neither parent will be favored for custody over the other based on sex, so each parent has equal opportunity for being awarded custody before all of the other factors are evaluated. 

As part of a parenting plan, co-parents must find an adequate method of communication. They'll have to keep track of and share lots of information including schedules, parenting expenses and vital information about the kids. Using the OurFamilyWizard website, parents are able to upload and access all of this information from one location. Parents will not have to search through various emails or text conversations to find the one detail they need right now. The tools on the OurFamilyWizard website keep a family's information organized by topic, and search tools help supplement the search for information. Everything that parents may post to their accounts is secure and only viewable on their accounts within their family. The best part is that all of this information is available from anywhere with an internet connection, whether it be from a home computer or a smartphone via the OurFamilyWizard mobile app. 

This information should not be considered as legal advice. Please speak with an attorney for further guidance and legal assistance for your case in particular. To find a family law professional in your area, take a look at our Resources guide for Nebraska. Also, to learn more about the Nebraska Parenting Act, check out this brochure provided by the Nebraska Supreme Court website.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.