Divorce in Nebraska: everything you need to know

1 min readLast updated March 22, 2024by Unbiased team

This article will take you through the process and costs associated with divorce in Nebraska.


  • Nebraska is a "no-fault" divorce state, so neither spouse has to prove the other was at fault to obtain the divorce.

  • The median cost of divorce in the US is $7,000, but this can fluctuate massively depending on your unique circumstances.

  • You can file for a contested or uncontested divorce in Nebraska.

  • A financial advisor can help you navigate your finances during a divorce and rebuild afterward.

What are the different types of divorce in Nebraska?

Nebraska is a "no-fault" divorce state, so neither spouse has to prove the other was at fault to obtain the divorce.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.

When filing for divorce, you can choose to file for a contested or uncontested divorce.

  • In a contested divorce, spouses disagree on various divorce-related matters, including grounds for divorce, property division, alimony, child custody, or child support. This typically leads to a trial, where a judge resolves disputes based on presented evidence and arguments.

  • Conversely, an uncontested divorce occurs when spouses agree on all divorce-related issues or when one spouse doesn't respond to the divorce petition. Uncontested divorces typically bypass trials, resulting in faster and more cost-effective resolutions compared to contested divorces.

As Nebraska is a no-fault divorce state, you need to show that your marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation.

How much does a divorce cost in Nebraska?

The cost of a divorce in Nebraska depends on several factors, such as the type of divorce, the county where the divorce is filed, the number and nature of the issues involved, the need for legal representation, and the need for expert services.

However, some of the common costs that may be incurred in a divorce are:

  • Filing fees: These are the fees that the court charges for filing and processing the divorce papers. The filing fees vary by county, but the typical cost is $161.

  • Service fees: These are the fees you pay to have the divorce papers served on your spouse. The service fees vary depending on the method of service, but they typically range from $20 to $100. If you cannot afford the service fees, you may be able to get a fee waiver.

  • Attorney fees: These are the fees you pay to hire a lawyer to represent you in your divorce. The fees vary depending on the lawyer’s experience, reputation, location, and hourly rate, as well as the complexity and duration of your case. They can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more. You may be able to get free or low-cost legal assistance if you qualify for legal aid or pro bono services.

  • Expert fees: These are the fees that you pay to hire experts, such as appraisers, accountants, financial planners, psychologists, or mediators, to assist you in your divorce.

How do you file for divorce in Nebraska?

The process of filing for divorce in Nebraska may vary based on the type of divorce sought, but typically follows these steps:

  1. Determine eligibility: You or your spouse must have lived in Nebraska for at least 90 days before filing. Grounds for divorce can be either no-fault or fault-based.

  2. Prepare and file divorce papers: The initiating spouse, known as the petitioner, completes and files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the district court of the county where either spouse resides. A filing fee, which varies by county, must be paid. The petitioner also serves a copy of the papers to the respondent.

  3. Wait for the respondent's response: The respondent has 21 days to file an answer to the divorce petition. They may also file a counter-petition. Failure to respond within this period may result in loss of rights to contest the divorce.

  4. Negotiate or go to trial: If both spouses agree on divorce terms, they can sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. This document outlines details like property division, alimony, and child custody. Otherwise, unresolved issues may proceed to trial.

  5. Finalize the divorce: The divorce becomes official once the judge signs the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, entered by the court clerk. Nebraska mandates a 20-day waiting period after filing the petition before finalizing the divorce.

How do you split assets in a divorce in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, marital property acquired during the marriage is divided fairly, though not always equally, under equitable distribution laws.

The court weighs factors like the marriage's duration, each spouse's contribution to property acquisition, economic circumstances, child custody arrangements, tax implications, and other relevant factors.

Additionally, the court distinguishes between separate property (owned before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance) and marital property.

Generally, separate property remains unaffected unless commingled with marital assets or used for marital purposes.

How does alimony work in Nebraska?

Alimony is not automatic in Nebraska, and the court will decide whether to award it and how much based on the following factors:

  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse

  • The education, training, and employability of each spouse

  • The age, health, and physical condition of each spouse

  • The length of the marriage

  • The standard of living established during the marriage

  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including homemaking and childcare

  • The financial needs and resources of each spouse

  • The tax consequences of the alimony

  • Any other relevant factors

Typically, the court will order one of the following alimony types:

  • Lump sum alimony, which is paid in a single payment instead of monthly installments.

  • Periodic payments, which is when money is paid to a spouse at regular intervals for a set time.

  • Property transfer is when property is signed over from one spouse to another in lieu of a lump sum or regular payments.

What happens to children during a divorce in Nebraska?

If you have minor children with your spouse, you will have to address the issues of child custody and child support in your divorce.

Child custody refers to the legal and physical rights and responsibilities of the parents regarding the care, education, and welfare of the children.

Child support refers to the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent to contribute to the expenses of raising the children.

How is child custody determined in Nebraska?

The court will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child, considering the following factors:

  • The relationship of the child with each parent and any siblings

  • The wishes of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity

  • The wishes of the parents

  • The stability and continuity of the child’s home, school, and community

  • The mental and physical health of the child and the parents

  • The ability of the parents to cooperate and communicate with each other

  • The potential for abuse, neglect, or violence by either parent or anyone else in the household

  • Any other relevant factors

The court can award different types of custody, such as:

  • Sole legal custody, which means that one parent has the exclusive right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child, such as education, health care, and religion

  • Joint legal custody, which means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child

  • Sole physical custody, which means that the child lives with one parent most of the time, and the other parent has visitation rights

  • Joint physical custody, which means that the child lives with each parent for approximately equal periods

  • Split custody, which means that each parent has sole physical custody of one or more of the children

The court will also establish a parenting plan, which is a written document that outlines the schedule and arrangements for the child’s time with each parent, as well as the communication and cooperation between the parents. The parents can agree on a parenting plan, or the court can impose one if they cannot agree.

How is child support calculated in Nebraska?

The court will order child support based on the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, which are a set of rules and formulas that estimate the amount of money that the non-custodial parent should pay to the custodial parent to cover the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care.

The guidelines take into account the following factors:

  • The income of both parents

  • The number of children

  • The cost of child care, health insurance, and extraordinary medical expenses

  • The amount of time that the child spends with each parent

  • Any other relevant factors

The court can deviate from the guidelines if it finds them unfair or inappropriate in a particular case based on the evidence and circumstances.

The court can modify or terminate child support if there is a material change in either party's or the child's circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in income, a change in custody, or a change in the child’s needs.

How can I protect my finances when going through a divorce in Nebraska?

Experiencing a divorce can be a demanding period, especially concerning financial matters.

Here are some strategies to safeguard your finances during this time:

  1. Financial Organization: Prior to initiating divorce proceedings, gather all pertinent financial documents such as tax records, bank statements, credit card statements, and retirement account information. Creating a comprehensive list of assets and liabilities, including both marital and non-marital properties, will facilitate equitable distribution negotiations with your spouse.

  2. Mediation Consideration: Mediation offers a collaborative approach in which you and your spouse, aided by a neutral third party, address various divorce-related issues like property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. This alternative can save time and costs and alleviate the stress associated with court proceedings.

  3. Social Security Evaluation: If your marriage lasted at least a decade, you might qualify for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's record. This could be a valuable source of income during retirement, particularly if your ex-spouse had a higher income. However, meeting specific criteria is essential to accessing these benefits.

  4. Professional Financial Guidance: Given the significant impact of divorce on your financial landscape, seeking guidance from a financial advisor specializing in divorce matters is advisable. They can assist you in navigating the complexities of these changes and devising a tailored plan for your financial future.

Get expert financial advice

A financial advisor can help you assess your current financial status, create a post-divorce budget, and develop a long-term financial plan that aligns with your needs and goals.

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs. Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.