Family Law

Nebraska Family Law: An Overview

Marriage, divorce and child care are all governed by Nebraska’s family laws despite the highly personal nature of these aspects of family life. These laws exist to ensure that every family member’s individual rights are preserved and provide guidelines toward healthy and equitable resolutions.

If you have a family law case in Omaha, Grand Island, Lincoln or elsewhere in Nebraska, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo’s Nebraska Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, a Nebraska family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.

Nebraska Foster Care

Foster care differs from adoption in that foster placement is temporary until the child is either reunified with their family or adopted by their foster family if reunification is impossible.

A foster parent provides a safe home and cares for a foster child’s health, education and welfare while their birth parent(s) work to resolve the personal and legal issues that caused them to temporarily lose custody. The birth parent(s)’s parental rights to the foster child aren’t terminated during foster care unless a court determines that reunification isn’t in the best interests of the child.

Any adult or married couple age 19 years or older may apply as foster parents. To qualify, the individual or couple must undergo a home study, which is a report compiled by Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services. The home study consists of multiple in-house observations of the potential foster parent(s)’s childcare skills, interviews with all family members, an inspection of the foster home and background checks.

Nebraska Prohibited Marriages

Most cultures prohibit certain marriages based on societal, religious or healthcare grounds. The United States is no exception, though every state is permitted to prohibit marriages based on a federal standard. Nebraska prohibits the following marriages:

  • Marriage in which either party is under 19 years of age without parental consent. The minimum marriage age is 17 years.
  • Marriage between family members of any degree of consanguinity up to and including first cousins.
  • Marriage in which either party is already married to a third party at the time of the marriage. (Bigamous and polygamous marriages are prohibited.)
  • Marriage in which either party is mentally incompetent and cannot provide consent.
  • Marriage in which either party’s consent to marry was given under the influence of force or fraud.

If any of these prohibited marriages are solemnized, they may be considered void by a court of law. A prohibited marriage may be annulled, which is similar to divorce except that the marriage is considered void and to have never occurred.

Nebraska No-Fault Divorce

Nebraska doesn’t require a person petitioning for divorce to prove that the marriage should be ended based on any ground other than an irretrievable breakdown. This means that, at no fault of either party to a marriage, the marriage is unsustainable due to a fundamental disagreement or marital disharmony between the parties.

This relieves the respondent (the party who didn’t file for divorce) from any blame for the divorce. It also prohibits the court from taking marital fault into account when making a decision about spousal support (i.e. alimony) and property distribution. Marital fault may still be considered in decisions about child support, visitation and custody, though.

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