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Stages of Divorce
Nebraska Divorce Basics
This article will give you some basic information regarding Nebraska divorce law and Nebraska divorce process, but is not a substitute for legal analysis of your situation and advice from a licensed divorce attorney, which you should seek immediately.
Choosing a Lawyer
The first step is to meet with an attorney who focuses on divorce and family law practice for an initial consultation. Most good, experienced divorce and family law attorneys charge for this service. Don't underestimate the importance of hiring a divorce attorney with whom you are comfortable. Legal representation for your divorce is a personal service. It is important that you are confident in the divorce attorney advocating for you.
Bring all of the documents you believe will be important in determining the issues of your divorce. These may include a current mortgage statement, credit card bills, current auto loan statements, and other documents relevant to property and debts. If you have already been served with a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage, bring that as well.
Commencing the Case
After you retain your divorce attorney, he or she will file a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage on your behalf.
If you have already been served with a complaint for divorce filed by your spouse's divorce attorney, your divorce attorney will file with the court a written Answer to the Complaint. If you have been served, it is important that you retain legal counsel with experience in divorce as soon as possible. You have thirty days from the date you are served to file an Answer to the Complaint.
Temporary Motions & Orders
Your divorce attorney and/or opposing counsel may file a Motion for Temporary Relief. If either side does so, you will have a hearing. These temporary hearings in divorce are usually done by affidavits in the Judge's chambers. Only the attorneys and the Judge are present.
Some typical requests for temporary relief in a divorce include a determination by the Judge as to who will reside in the marital home until the final Divorce Decree is entered, a determination of temporary spousal or child support, temporary child custody and parenting time, and temporary restraining orders. The hearing for temporary relief will result in a Temporary Order by the judge regarding the issues raised at the hearing.
Preparing for Trial
The beginning trial preparation phase in your divorce case is also called the "discovery" phase of litigation. Your attorney may serve the other side with Interrogatories and/or Requests for Production of Documents. These are tools for obtaining sworn statements and documentary evidence regarding issues relevant to the divorce and child custody for use at trial, or to aid your attorney in reaching a fair settlement on your behalf. Your attorney may also issue subpoenas for third parties to obtain documents or testimony.
Depositions are also commonly used in divorce. During a deposition, your attorney will ask questions of witnesses for the opposing side. The witness oral statements are taken under oath by a court reporter. Opposing counsel will be present. Divorce clients usually attend depositions.
During the entire divorce process, your divorce attorney should work to obtain settlement on your behalf. Occasionally, divorce attorneys will hold a settlement conference where the parties and their lawyers try to reach an agreement. Mediation may also be helpful.
If settlement isn't possible in your divorce, a trial will be had regarding some or all of the issues. Both sides will present evidence, including documents and testimony, supporting their position. In a divorce trial, the judge is the decision maker. Juries are not used in divorce cases.
The trial will result in a Divorce Decree. The Divorce Decree can be appealed from for thirty days after it is issued. You cannot marry anywhere in the world for six months from the date your Divorce Decree is issued.
If You Have Children
This article does not cover divorce with children. Information on that topic is addressed separately. Be aware, however, that the parties are required to comply with the Nebraska Parenting Act, which has multiple facets.
A Final Note on Legal Representation
This article is not a substitute for legal advice from your divorce attorney. It is meant as a brief overview of the divorce process in Nebraska to enhance your knowledge about and comfort with the basic law in Nebraska and litigation process.
A good divorce lawyer is a crucial support that you should not be without during this challenging time in your life.