Nebraska has adopted a concept of “no fault” divorce, making it unnecessary to prove cruelty, adultery, insanity, etc. in order to dissolve a marriage relationship. It is only necessary to demonstrate to the court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” which means the level of conflict within the marriage has advanced to the point where the parties can no longer get along and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. In Nebraska, if one party can support such an allegation, the court will generally dissolve the marriage even though the other party does not believe the marriage is irretrievably broken. The courts in Nebraska will not act as a “reconciliation court” and will not order the parties to go to counseling in an attempt to preserve the marriage.
There is no legal significance as to whether the husband or the wife files a complaint although there may be procedural and tactical advantages for one party to file first. If either husband or wife threatens to remove children from the State of Nebraska or dispose of assets, it may be necessary to proceed with the filing of the case in order to obtain certain orders from the court preventing such actions. Except in cases where spousal abuse has occurred, we believe in most cases it is desirable for the parties to discuss the fact that one party or the other is going to file a divorce before it is actually filed. In those cases where spousal abuse has occurred, we will discuss with you your options concerning financial and living arrangements at the outset of the case until temporary orders are entered. We can also discuss the availability of protection or harassment protection orders if you believe additional protection may be necessary for you and/or your children during this process.
We do not believe it is either practical or ethical for one lawyer to represent both spouses in a divorce case and we are prohibited from doing so by The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, of which we are members. Even in cases where both parties have agreed to virtually everything, we will only represent one client. The other party who chooses not to have representation does so at his or her own peril.
As noted, most courts in Nebraska do not act as conciliation courts. However, most parties can and should seek some counseling in connection with their divorce proceeding, particularly when minor children are affected. Divorces are difficult and a competent counselor or clinical psychologist can be very effective in helping clients deal with the emotional trauma, anger and sadness involved with the divorce. We have worked with a number of very competent professionals in this area and will be happy to make an appropriate referral for you. Should you and your spouse reconcile prior to completion of the case, the complaint for dissolution may be dismissed at any time.
If there is no appeal and the parties have entered into a Property Settlement Agreement, your divorce will be final thirty (30) days following entry of the Decree of Dissolution. However, it will be impossible for you or your spouse to remarry anyone during the six month period following entry of the decree. The Nebraska Unicameral has extended when the Decree is final to a period of six (6) months for purposes of health insurance coverage only. This means that, provided the health insurance company is so-inclined, they can view the parties as continuing to be husband and wife for health insurance purposes only. This allows one party to carry the other on their health insurance for up to six months. However, this provision in Nebraska law does not requirethat one party carry the other on their health insurance. In most cases, this is probably a good idea and will become part of the negotiation process.