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Nebraska Custody (Parenting) Plan

A Nebraska custody (parenting) plan is a required document for custody cases in Nebraska. It allows the parents of a minor child to outline the terms of legal and physical custody and how childcare will be handled after the divorce.
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How to File for Custody in Nebraska

Determining child custody is typically a part of the divorce process in Nebraska. If both parents are able to reach an agreement about the terms of custody, such as visitation and childcare responsibilities, it is called a “simple divorce” in Nebraska.

1. Agree on a Parenting Plan

The first step of the process should be to discuss the terms of custody with the other parent. Because the court is more likely to approve a parenting plan that both parents agree on—granted that it serves the best interest of the child—it is highly recommended that both parties get on the same page about parenting time, visitation, communication, and other childcare responsibilities.

2. Calculate Child Support

Both parents have an equal duty of financially contributing to support their child in proportion to their respective incomes.[1] An estimate of how much child support the court may order can be calculated using the Nebraska Child Support Calculator.

3. Complete and File Required Forms

Fill out the required paperwork to file for a divorce. This includes:

Parents should also begin preparing a parenting plan, which will be required by the court during the hearing.

Submit the completed forms to the clerk of the district court and pay the filing fee,[2] which could be waived by completing an Affidavit to Proceed in Forma Pauperis with the judge’s approval. Once the forms are filed, the clerk will provide a case number and the name of the judge assigned to the case. Within six months of the filing date, the other spouse must be given a “service of process” notice.

4. Attend Parenting Class

Nebraska law requires all parties of a divorce to attend a basic-level parenting education course before the hearing. Find a list of court-approved parenting education course providers online or from the clerk of the district court.

Once the course has been completed, prepare the Certificate of Completion of Parenting Education Course (DC 6:5.5) using the Instructions for Completing the Certificate of Completion of Parenting Education Course (DC 6:5.5a). File the original certificate with the clerk of the district court.

5. Request and Attend Hearing

Contact the clerk of the district court to arrange a hearing date. Before the hearing, fill out a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and attach the completed parenting plan. Bring these documents to the hearing. If no parenting plan is presented to the court, it will be created by the judge.

In some cases, parents may be able to waive the requirement of a hearing.[3] This would allow the court to enter a decree without a hearing.

6. Receive Court Judgment

Once the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and files the document with the clerk’s office, the divorce will become finalized after 30 days. The custody terms outlined in the parenting plan will become legally binding until the child turns 18 or it is modified by the court.

Custody Laws

  • Child’s preference: Nebraska courts will consider the child’s preference if they are “of an age of comprehension” and when their wishes are “based on sound reasoning.”[4]
  • Court-ordered parenting education course: § 43-2928
  • Grandparents’ visitation rights: Chapter 43, Article 18
  • Parenting Act: Chapter 43, Article 29
  • Parenting plan requirements: § 43-2929
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: Chapter 43, Article 12

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