Nebraska Nebraska

Child Custody Law

Child Custody General Information - What Is Child Custody?

Child custody is defined as the guardianship over a child, which covers both physical custody and legal custody. In a child custody dispute the court may award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to a single parent.

Child custody cases in Nebraska can be either contested and resolved by court order, or noncontested and defined in a child custody agreement between the parents. A custody agreement or order will legally determine, at minimum, the following things:

  • Where the child lives (physical custody)
  • Who is involved in making parenting decisions (legal custody)
  • How the visitation schedule with non-custodial parents or relatives is arranged

This page describes how a contested child custody case is handled in the Nebraska court system, and what factors are used to determine which parent gets custody.

Nebraska Child Custody Law Summary

After a breakup or divorce in Nebraska, couples with children must come to a child custody agreement that describes which parent the children will live with, how visitation will be scheduled, and how the non-custodial parent will pay child support.

Some of the factors considered by Nebraska in child custody cases include the child's wishes and any history of domestic violence.

The goals in determining custody will include:

  • minimizing any negative impact of parental conflict on children.

  • provide parents the tools they need to reach a decision that is in the best interests of the child.

  • to provide alternative dispute resolution or specialized alternative dispute resolution options that are less adversarial for the child and the family

  • to ensure that the child's voice is heard and considered in parenting decisions

  • to maximize the safety of family members through the justice process

in the case of domestic or child abuse and/or neglect:

  • ensure victim safety and sensitivity

  • accountability of the offender

  • acknowledge overall safety in plan decisions

To determine custody, the court will consider the best interests of the child, which includes consideration of the previously mentioned including:

  • The relationship of the child to each parent prior to the hearing

  • The desires of the child, if they fit the age of comprehension, or if such desires are based upon sound reasoning

  • The overall welfare of the child.

  • Evidence of abuse on any household member.

The best interests of the child requires:

  • A parenting plan or other court-ordered plan that provides a child's safety, emotional growth, health, stability, and physical care, including regular school attendance

  • If evidence indicates domestic abuse, the parenting and visitation arrangement must provide the safety of the victim

  • The child's families and those serving in parenting roles remain appropriately active and involved in parenting with safe and appropriate contact between the child and their families when they have shown capable to act in the best interests of the child and have shared responsibility in raising the child

  • That even when the parents have mutually agreed on a parenting plan, the court will determine whether it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to maintain communication and make joint decisions.

Child support money is paid to the party having custody of the child, but there can be exceptions.

Nebraska Child Custody Factors - How Is Child Custody Decided In Nebraska?

If the parents are on amicable terms they may agree to custody terms in a parenting agreement between themselves, or via a mediator. If child custody is disputed, however, they will have to receive a child custody order from a Nebraska judge, who will attempt to make a custody decision that is in the "best interests of the child".

In the state of Nebraska, a number of factors are taken into account by the courts when determining who gets child custody. This section describes Nebraska's custody factors, considerations, and presumptions when evaluating a custody order.

Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating child custody in the state of Nebraska?

Nebraska has a list of statutory factors that are considered by the court when determining a custody order. This list may include factors such as the child's age, the living situation of each parent, any history of abuse or neglect from either parent, etc. Although there is a statutory list of factors, consider other factors at its discretion depending on the particular circumstances of the case.

Do judges in the state of Nebraska favor joint custody?

Judges in Nebraska are authorized to order either joint or single-parent custody of a child subject to a custody dispute.

Courts in Nebraska do not have a presumption in favor joint custody orders when evaluating child custody. The judge will evaluate the specifics of the custody dispute to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child.

Do Nebraska courts encourage parents to cooperate together to raise the child?

It is not particularly encouraged that the parents cooperative together to raise the child.

Are the child's wishes considered when determining custody in the state of Nebraska?

In Nebraska, the court does consider the child's reasonable wishes when determining which parent wins custody. The judge may take the child's age, maturity, and judgement into consideration when considering the child's custody preference.

Do Nebraska courts consider domestic violence when determining custody?

Nebraska has laws that explicitly permit the consideration of domestic violence in conjunction with child custody. This may mean that domestic violence is a statutory factor in custody determinations, that the court has a presumption against custody for abusers, or that special procedural considerations are imposed in cases involving domestic violence.

Do the courts in the state of Nebraska have the right to hire an attorney or Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child?

Nebraska has statutory authority for appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney specifically to represent the child in a custody case. This person advocates for the best interest of the child, and is tasked with investigating the family situation and advising the court what custody situation would be in the best interests of the child.

| State Law Official Text

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