I'm getting a divorce, when can I start dating other people?
technical answer to this question is that from the date the Petition
is filed, the divorce process is considered started
. We always tell
our clients that they should not begin dating until the case
is concluded. This is for a number of reasons. First, the quickest
way to get the other side angry and in no mood to cooperate is
to immediately bring another person onto the scene.
Secondly, if you have children, it may be too difficult for
them to deal with the divorce and deal with another new person;
they need to be given time (and hopefully counseling) to help
deal with their feelings and should never be introduced to
a new person unless and until the parent feels this will be
a long-term relationship. Finally, for their own mental and
emotional well-being, clients need to give themselves time
(and counseling) to deal with all these emotions. Adding another
person to the mix usually makes for a longer more difficult
divorce and a longer period of recovery afterwards.
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long will a divorce take?
: The more fighting,
the longer the case takes, because in those situations
each issue is contested. Also, it can depend on how
much information is agreed upon and how much information needs
to be gathered. If you are convinced that your spouse has assets
hidden, then much time and expense can be spent in trying to
track assets. If, however, you both pretty much know what there
is, where it is and how much it's worth, this cuts the time
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Q,What if my spouse
says they won't give me a divorce?
people have seen TV shows or movies where one spouse
has threatened they wouldn't "give" the other
spouse a divorce. Although this mattered under the old
fault laws, it does not matter today. Nebraska is a no-fault
divorce state, which means that as long as one person
believes the marriage is "irretrievably broken",
the Court must grant the divorce. Even if the other party
does not believe so, it does not matter and the Court
must grant the divorce. What people fight over now is
not the granting of the divorce, but custody, child support,
property and debt division, etc.
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spouse says they will never pay me child support, no mater what
the court says. What do I do now??
your spouse does not pay the support they are ordered
to pay, the Court has the authority
to find them in contempt and put them in jail to make
them do so, and most of the judges will do this to people
The state has set up Child Support Enforcement Offices
where at no charge to you, lawyers will file the necessary
documents with the Court to force your ex-spouse to
pay the support they were ordered to pay.
Unfortunately, the public process is fairly slow
and you must always remember that attorney's involved
in government provided child support enforcement
are working for the government and not for you. Your
privacy and personal information may not be confidential.
Our attorneys have over 15 years of Child Support
Enforcement experience and we can provide the same
services much faster and with the same results while
at the same time ensuring you of a client relationship
and confidential handling of your information.
If your ex-spouse
moves to another state, each state has reciprocal
laws where the child support office of that state
your divorce decree in the state where your ex-spouse
is working and will enforce the court order through
garnishing wages, etc. Our office is prepared to
follow through on such actions.
One other important issue is seeking child support
where the parents were not married. While you may
use public services to get a child support order
and then to enforce it, you may not be the legal
guardian of the child and the other side may move
for guardianship. The government can do no more than
basic child support enforcement in these matters!
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oldest child is 20 and still living at home and going to college.
Will my spouse have to pay child support for this child?
obligation to provide child support for a child ends
at the age of majority, which is the
age of 19 in the state of Nebraska. The Court cannot
order child support beyond the age of majority in those
would agree to provide support for this child and would
agree to include that in the final divorce decree, the
Court can approve this type of voluntary agreement. Also,
in awarding alimony, the Court can give some consideration
to the monthly expenses of the spouse who is providing
for a child who is still living at home, although this
is very speculative.
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gets temporary possession of the house and when?
A:The Court cannot remove someone from
their home until there has been a hearing. At the time
of the filing of the Divorce Petition, it is very common
to file a Motion for Temporary Allowances, asking for,
among other things, temporary child custody, temporary
support, and temporary possession of the family residence.
It usually takes 10 days to 2 weeks to have this hearing
scheduled, depending on the judge to which the case is
assigned. At the hearing the Court will consider such
issues as the best interests of the children, the cost,
the difficulty of either party moving, whether or not
both parties could remain in the home, etc. to decide
who will remain in the home and how soon the other party
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I keep the divorce out of the newspaper?
A:No. This is public information and the newspapers are allowed to print this information. The notice will appear two times. First when the divorce is filed and second when the final decree is entered.
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it matter who files first?
the old fault laws, it could make a difference who filed,
but today the only difference
it makes is a strategic difference in court. The person
who files is the person who presents their case first
in the Temporary Hearing and at the final trial. This
can be a benefit strategically, as the person who files "sets
the tone" for the hearing or trial and the other
side can very often be put in the position of having
to answer the issues brought up by the person who filed.
It can also matter if the two parties are living in different
counties at the time of the filing.
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the husband always have to pay the attorney's fees for the wife?
usually. However, in this day and age, the Court's position has
become one of both parties are expected to work
and attorney's fees are usually awarded only where one parties'
income is much larger than the other party. This is an issue
that can vary dramatically from judge to judge.
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much will child support be and how is it determined?
A:In Nebraska, child support is always ordered
in line with the child support guidelines.
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the Court always uphold the child support guidelines?
Nebraska, in almost every situation the Court will follow the
guidelines to the penny, especially if
there is no dispute about how much income the paying parent makes
(for example, they have a salary that does not change from month
to month as opposed to a self-employed person whose income can
vary dramatically from month to month. The only other variable
that the courts have considered and given credit for is for extraordinary
ongoing medical expenses on the part of the payor. See
Child Support Guidelines.
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overtime and bonuses included in the income calculation
for the child support guidelines?
A:If they are usual and regular they are included.
The Court will usually take the average figures for computing
the guidelines, rather than the high end of a pay stub that contains
many hours of unusual overtime.
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can I protect my pre-martial or non-marital assets?
them separate. Keep cash in separate accounts with only your
name. Do not commingle, or "mix" marital money with
non-marital money. Don't put your spouse's name on the title
of any pre-marital home, car, etc. If you do spend pre-marital
or non-marital money on your house (for example for the down
payment) keep very clear documentation of exactly where the money
came from and where it went to.
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if II haven't lived Nebraska for one year? Can I still
file for divorce?
but you can file for Legal Separation and then change the case
to a divorce as soon as the one year
period is up. With a Legal Separation, the Court will still make
a determination of temporary child custody and order child support
and alimony, and determine who will have temporary
possession of the house, just as in a divorce.
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is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13
a Chapter 7 bankruptcy , your debts are wiped out and some of
your assets are transferred to a court
appointed trustee. In other words, you surrender property of
your estate that is "nonexempt" in exchange for a discharge
of all your debts. After the bankruptcy process, you no longer
owe creditors anything. Chapter 7 is often called a "straight" bankruptcy
or "liquidation" bankruptcy. In contrast, in a Chapter
13 bankruptcy your debts are not wiped out. With Chapter 13 you
keep all your assets and establish a new workable repayment plan.
The repayment plan typically lasts between three and five years.
Chapter 13 can be a good option for individuals who have a steady
income and believe they will be able to make steady payments
over the term of the plan. Often the plan is designed so that
you make regular payments on your secured debts and may reduce
payments on unsecured debts. At the end of the plan, any remaining
owed on the unsecured debts are discharged.
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do I know if I qualify to declare bankruptcy? Are there
any special requirements?
people qualify to declare bankruptcy. However, if you recently
declared bankruptcy and want to file again, there may be some
restrictions. It is best to check with an attorney in this situation.
In general, if you received a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 discharge
of debts within the past six years you will have to wait until
more time passes before filing under Chapter 7 again. The six
year period begins when the petition is filed, not when you were
granted a discharge. There is an exception if you obtained a
Chapter 13 discharge in good faith and paid 70% of your unsecured
debt. Also, note that Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed for
at anytime. So if you need immediate relief from creditor's collection
efforts and are barred from Chapter 7, this can be a good option.
There is also a rule that forbids filing a bankruptcy within
180 days of a previously dismissed petition in some circumstances.
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what if I'm not a US Citizen, Can I still declare bankruptcy?
so long as you live in the United States, have property here,
or a business here. US citizenship is not
required. Q: What property can I keep if I file for a Chapter
7 bankruptcy? A: If you are considering filing for bankruptcy,
it is natural to want to know what property you will be able
to keep. Unfortunately, an accurate and complete answer is too
complex for this FAQ. However, in most states the list of "exempt" property
is extensive. California's exemption guidelines are relatively
generous! In most cases you can keep all of your clothing, household
goods and furniture, public benefits assistance (such as Social
Security payments you haven't spent) and many other basic items.
For more information on exemptions, see the subheading below.
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there alternatives to bankruptcy?
and in some instances they make sense. The situations where these
other courses of action are appropriate
- If you previously received a bankruptcy
- If you only want to stop abuse and harassment
from collection agencies and other bill collectors.
- If a friend, relative, or significant other
cosigned a large loan you are trying to avoid.
- If you could pay off your debts in less than
- If you are worried that creditors will
seize all your property or garnish all
- If you defrauded your creditors.
- If you recently purchased large debts
for luxuries such as vacations, hobbies
- If you expect you will soon be incurring
more debts for necessities such
as medical care
for an existing illness.
For more information, or to set up
an appointment for a FREE bankruptcy
e-mail to: email@example.com or
call (402)734-0635 (Toll Free: 1-866-734-1911). Evening
and weekend appointments are
welcome! Patricia Ann Geringer,
Attorney at Law, 2421 'O' Street, Suite
01, Omaha, NE 68107. Use this convenient
FORM to schedule an appointment
for a FREE consultation.
Please check back often to view additions
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are Child Support Guidelines?
A:Child support in Nebraska is computed according
to the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines. The main principle
behind the guidelines is to recognize the equal duty of both
parents to contribute to the support of their children in proportion
to their respective net incomes. The guidelines are intended
to be used for both temporary and permanent support determinations.
When Are the Guidelines Applied?
In determining child support obligations in a divorce proceeding,
the Court is obliged by law to use the Nebraska Child Support
Guidelines unless there can be shown some very compelling reasons
for the Guidelines to not be applied. Deviations from the guidelines
are permissible under the following circumstances:
Child support is paid until the child reaches the age of majority,
which is 19, or until the child is emancipated, which means
that the child is supporting himself, for example, if the child
gets married or joins the military. The child support guidelines
take the gross income figure for each party and deducts taxes,
FICA, the cost of health insurance for the children, mandatory
retirement, and court-ordered child support paid for children
not of this marriage. The net figures are then combined, percentages
determined and a formula using the net income figures and the
number of children is used to determine the child support.
- When there are extraordinary medical
costs of either parent or child;
- When special needs of a disabled child exist;
- If total net income exceeds $8,000 monthly, child support
for amounts in excess of $8,000 monthly may be more
but shall not
be less than the amount which would be computed using
the $8,000 monthly income unless other permissible
- For juveniles placed in foster care; or
- Whenever the application of the guidelines in an individual
case would be unjust or inappropriate.
In addition to Child Support, the non-custodial parent will
be ordered to pay a percentage of work-related daycare expenses
incurred for the children.
Issues Regarding Children Subject to Change
Understand that while all issues of your property settlement
and debts will be final as of the finalization of your Divorce
Decree, the Court retains continued authority over issues
regarding children (custody, visitation, child support, etc.).
Therefore, if there is a substantial change in circumstances,
it may be possible to change custody from one parent to the
other. In order to prevent children being shuffled back and
forth from one parent to the other, however, this will usually
happen only in extreme cases. Child support can also be changed
if there is a significant change in income (either up or
down), or if the current child support does not comply with
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a divorce, who gets the kids?
A:The best way to determine custody of children
is for the two divorcing parents to agree who should have custody
of their children. This decision should be based on what would
be best for the children. The less conflict between the parents
on this issue, the better for the children. Although this is
the ideal, many parents cannot decide who should have custody
of the children and in that situation, it will be decided by
In The Best Interest of the Children
Child custody is determined in the Court by what is in the
best interests of the child. In determining the child's best
interests, the Court may consider factors such as the respective
environments offered by each parent; the emotional relationship
between child and parent; the age, sex and health of the
child and the parents; the effect on the child of continuing
or disrupting an existing relationship; the attitude and
stability of each parent's character; the moral fitness of
each parent, including the parent's sexual conduct; parental
capacity to provide physical care and satisfy educational
needs of the child; the child's preferential desires regarding
custody if the child is of sufficient age of comprehension-regardless
of chronological age, whether the child's preference is based
on sound reasoning; and the general health, welfare and social
behavior of the child.
Gender Is Not Relevant
The Nebraska statutes on custody specifically state that gender
is not to be considered in determining child custody.
Joint Custody can be granted. Joint custody is usually a situation
in which the children live with one parent for one week,
or month, or year, and then live with the other parent the
next week, or month or year. Judges are hesitant to grant
this because it can tend to be very unstable for the child.
This can be particularly true if the parents live in two
different school districts. Another type of joint custody
can be granted where the child actually lives with one parent,
but both parents have an equal say in important matters regarding
the child, including things such as where the child attends
school, religious instruction, medical care, etc. Obviously,
an arrangement like this is realistic only in situations
in which the parents get along and are extremely cooperative
with each other. Usually that is not the case in most divorces.
In 1994, the Nebraska Legislature passed the Parenting Plan
Act. This provides for mediation and for parties to develop
their own plan for custody and visitation.
The party that does not have custody will receive visitation
rights. It is usually a good idea to have the specific visitation
times set out in the final Decree so that everyone (parents
and children) know exactly when the visitation will take
place. Minimum visitation is typically considered to be every
other weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening, one
evening during the week, alternate holidays and at least
30 days in the summer. This visitation may be modified if
the children are very young or there are some other critical
extenuating circumstances. Mothers are usually awarded Mother's
Day and fathers are usually awarded Father's Day.
Permission to Leave the State
It is important for every custodial parent to know that they
must have permission of the Court in order to permanently
leave the state with the minor child. In most situations
if the custodial parent is leaving the state for an important
reason, for example, a new better-paying job, the Court will
typically grant permission and will make provisions for visitation
for the non-custodial parent and for transportation costs.
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pays for the children's health insurance?
A:In addition to child support and daycare expenses,
the Court will usually also require that health insurance must
be provided and that any uninsured medical, dental, etc. expenses
be divided between the parties, usually in proportion to their
In addition, the Court will order the spouse with health insurance
coverage to continue to cover the other spouse with health
insurance coverage while the divorce case is going on until
the final Decree is entered.
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general information regarding obtaining a divorce.
fact that you're visiting our web site means that you have probably
decided to get a divorce or are
considering doing so. If that is the case, there are a number
of things you should consider even though it is certainly a time
of great stress, upheaval and uncertainty. At this point, it
may be difficult to see how you can ever get through this divorce,
get back to a "normal" life and be OK.
In order for you to get through this period feeling as good
as possible and with the least emotional turmoil and stress,
it is important that you have answers to your questions and
information on which you can truly rely. When you understand
the process of divorce and the steps involved, much of the
fear and uncertainty may be dispelled. Equipped with information
and an understanding of just what to expect, you can start
rebuilding your life right now by making smart choices and
good decisions as you move forward with your divorce.
A number of pages on this site are extremely important to you
and these can either be accessed from our Homepage or by selecting
them from the list below.
A Basic Guide to Divorce is designed primarily to prepare you
with the basic information and knowledge you will need as
you go forward with your divorce.
About the Attorney will introduce you to the Senior Attorney
and her resume, answer questions about fees and show
you how to reduce your legal costs.
Non-divorce Family Law Services describes the other
types of cases handled in the practice including
bankruptcy, paternity cases, restraining & protection orders, modifications of
custody, child support and alimony, real estate services, father's
rights, wills & trusts, guardianships and, adoptions.
Thanks for educating yourself about divorce and for
learning more about us and the services we provide.
If there are
any questions you have that have not been addressed
at this site,
please feel free to schedule an appointment. The
first half hour consultation is FREE. Unfortunately,
because of malpractice and insurance issues,
we are unable to provide legal advice by e-mail or
telephone. You are encouraged to use our e-mail link,
firstname.lastname@example.org or to schedule an appointment.
What would a lawyer's
web site be without a disclaimer?
Please read it. And when you're
ready to take the next step in your divorce, please
call us at (402) 734-0635, email us email@example.com or use this convenient FORM to schedule an appointment
for a free consultation.
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the parents were not married, how is paternity established?
to the law, both parents are responsible for a child's upbringing,
both emotionally and financially. In
situations where the parents of a child have never been married
to each other, a paternity case can be brought by either the
father or mother. The paternity case.
Can Be Filed By Either Parent
- Establishes that the father is the legal, biological father
of the child
- Determines custody and visitation.
- Sets Child Support according to the Nebraska Child Support
- Can order the other parent to be responsible for the
expenses of the pregnancy and the birth of the child.
- Can order the other parent to pay a portion of work-related
Most often, paternity cases are filed by the mothers of children
who want to receive child support and other financial assistance
such as daycare reimbursement and health insurance for the
child. However, paternity cases can also be filed by fathers
who want to establish their rights of visitation or custody
with their child.
It is important for mothers to understand that filing a paternity
action for child support may also result in the other parent
receiving rights of visitation with the child. It is also important
for fathers to understand that filing a paternity action for
visitation will also result in being ordered to pay child support,
daycare expenses and health insurance.
The process works like this: A Petition is filed asking for
the Court to make a determination that the father is found
to be the legal biological father of the child. If there is
a question about whether or not the father is the biological
father of the child, DNA-based paternity testing will be done.
DNA testing is highly accurate and very reliable.
If the testing is positive or the father admits paternity,
the Court will determine child custody, visitation, child support
according to the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines and will
order the non-custodial parent to pay a portion of work-related
daycare expenses, and will apportion health insurance costs.
Mrs. Geringer has over 18 years of experience in Child Support,
Paternity and Enforcement law. She is recognized for her knowledge
of Paternity and support law and regulations.
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is a legal separation?
Nebraska, legal separation is not a first step to divorce as
it is in some other states. In Nebraska a
legal separation is designed for people who have decided that
they are going to live apart but who do not intend to get divorced.
Most often people who do not want to get a divorce are for religious
reasons or older couples who do not want to create problems with
their pensions, Social Security or health insurance coverage
will get a legal separation instead of a divorce.
With a legal separation, all of the documents are the same,
the waiting periods are the same and all issues involved
in a divorce (custody, child support, property and debt
division, etc.) must be addressed. However, at the end of
the legal separation you are simply separated and not divorced.
If you wish to get a divorce later on, you must file for
divorce and go through the process all over again.
People who have not lived in Nebraska for the required one
year, must file for a legal separation rather than a divorce.
We encourage people not to use a legal separation as an emotional "first
step" to divorce, because they are usually going to
end up spending more money to do so. If you are unsure, it
to know that the divorce process can be stopped at any time
if both parties want the case stopped. Under the Progression
Rules of the Court, you will have approximately 6 months
to finalize the case from the date you file and at any time
until 30 days from the date the Decree is entered, the case
can be dismissed.
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A:Alimony is spousal support which is paid by
one party of the divorce to the other. In Nebraska this can be
paid by either men and women depending on the circumstances.
In considering whether or not alimony will be ordered, the Court
considers a number of issues, including the circumstances of
the marriage, the length of the marriage, health of each party,
the contributions each made to the marriage, interruption of
personal careers or educational opportunities, who contributed
what to the care and education of the children, and the ability
of the custodial parent to engage in gainful employment without
interfering with the interests of minor children in their custody.
In determining alimony, the Court will look at the income and
expenses of both parties, balancing the need of the one party
against the ability to pay of the other party.
Let's take an example of how to compute a typical alimony award.
In our situation, the two parties have been married for 15
years. They have two children, ages 12 and 10. The wife is
in excellent health and is 35 years old. The husband is also
in excellent health and is 37 years old. The husband is an
executive and earns $80,000.00 gross per year, $50,000 after
taxes. His net take home pay, after the payment of health
insurance is $4,000.00 per month.
The wife completed three years of college before she got married
and had children. Throughout the marriage, she has primarily
been a homemaker. The family has moved to three different cities
because of the husband's career. The wife has now decided to
go back to school to finish college and get a master's degree
which will take a total of 3 years, but at the end of 3 years
she will have an estimated income of $35,000. She currently
works part time doing scheduling at a doctor's office. Her
take home pay is $750.00 per month. She will continue to work
while she goes to school.
The wife and children have monthly expenses of $2,700, which
the Court finds to be reasonable and not excessive. This includes
school expenses. Husband has monthly expenses of $2000, which
the Court finds to be reasonable and not excessive. In this
scenario, child support according to the guidelines will be
$1,266.00 for the two children.
In determining alimony, the Court will look at the income
and expenses of both parties. In this situation:
In the above example, the wife needs approximately $700 per
month to meet her expenses and the husband has an excess of
approximately $700 per month over his expenses and his child
support obligation. In this situation, it would appear fair
that alimony of $700.00 per month be paid, as this is what
the wife needs and this is what the husband has the ability
|Net Monthly Income
Of course, this example has been an easy
one and we were able to make up the figures so that the wife's
exactly to husband's ability to pay. In real life, the numbers
usually aren't that neat and tidy.
How Long Will Alimony Last?
The next question is, how long will alimony be paid? This again
is an issue that will vary greatly on the circumstances of
the parties and the judge the case is assigned to. In our
example, Mother needs the alimony for 3 years and at the
end of that time, will be earning enough to support herself,
plus she will still be receiving child support. The Court
could order the alimony to go for three years only, or perhaps
a little longer to make sure she "gets back on her feet."
The example above reflects the most
common type of alimony that is awarded, namely "rehabilitative alimony" which
is ordered to help the spouse who has not been working full
time to re-educate or re-train themselves to get back in the
In this day and age, however, large alimony awards are usually
not made unless you have a situation where it has been a long
marriage (generally at least over 10 years) and one party makes
substantially more income than the other. If you have a situation
where the incomes of the parties are not that different, alimony
is typically not awarded.
Termination of Alimony
Alimony ends on the death of either party or on the re-marriage
of the party receiving alimony. It is also important to note
that alimony is tax-deductible by the payor and the person
receiving the alimony must pay state and federal income taxes
on the alimony.
If alimony is not awarded in the original Divorce Decree,
neither party may ever come back to request alimony. This is
a very important law to remember, and some people will have
a Decree ordering alimony of $1 per year so that if something
happens in the future (for example, disability, etc.) they
can come back into Court to request alimony.
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Court will look at all your assets that were accumulated during
the marriage. This is referred to as
the "marital estate". Assets that were owned by one
party prior to the marriage are considered pre-marital and will
not be included in the marital estate. Also, assets or monies
that were inherited by one party or received as the result of
a gift from one's family during the marriage will usually not
be included in the marital estate.
The Court will look at the net market value of each asset in
the marital estate. For example, if you and your spouse purchased
a home during your marriage with marital funds and the home
could be sold today for $100,000.00 and has a mortgage against
it of $60,000.00, the net market value is $40,000.00, or
the current value of $100,000 minus the mortgage of $60,000.00.
| Existing Mortgage
| Net Market Value
The $40,000.00 net market value will be included in the marital estate and
divided by the Court.
For personal property, the market value will be how much you
could sell it for today (not replacement value). For example,
if you paid $500 for a television three years ago, it is
probably worth around $250-$300, depending on its condition.
All of the net values of the assets will be added together
and then divided. Property will be divided anywhere from 1/3-2/3
to 1/2-1/2 for each party. More and more often the Court tries
for roughly a 1/2-1/2 division.
It does not matter whose name is on the title of the asset,
whether it is a house, a car, or a savings account. If it
was accumulated during the marriage with marital funds, it
is part of the marital estate and subject to division.
Pension & Retirement Benefits
Within the past few years the Nebraska law has been changed
to provide that pension benefits accumulated during the marriage
are part of the marital estate and subject to division. Valuation
of a pension can be somewhat difficult and it is always important
to have a qualified attorney handle this. If the pension
is something like a 401-K plan which has a set value, valuation
is easy. But if the only information you have is that at
age 55 your spouse will receive $600 per month, it may be
necessary to have an actuary determine a present value, or
simply provide that once the spouse begins receiving the
pension, the other spouse will receive 50% of the present
monthly amount. Awards of pension benefits are almost always
covered by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and again,
it will be to your benefit to consult an attorney regarding
More On Pre-Marital Assets and Inheritance
Under the law of the State of Nebraska, any property that was
inherited during the marriage or gifted from your family
is considered non-marital property and is not subject to
division. The key here is whether or not these assets are
traceable and whether or not they have been commingled with
joint funds. If they are not traceable or if they have been
commingled with joint funds, there may be a problem.
Similarly, other pre-marital property is not considered marital
and will not be divided. For example, personal property brought
into the marriage is non-marital and not subject to division.
If one party owned a home prior to the marriage and it was
sold at the time of the marriage and the net proceeds were
placed in mutual funds in the name of the party owning the
home, these funds would typically be considered non-marital.
Division of Debts
What will happen with your debts? In determining a fair division
of property during a divorce proceeding, the Court will also
take debts into account. The Court will usually subtract
all outstanding debts from the net assets of the marital
estate to determine the net amount that each party is to
Future Liability of Debts
It is very important for you to understand that the divorce
Court can only determine the rights and responsibilities
between you and your spouse and cannot relieve you of responsibility
for a debt you have incurred. So, for example, if your name
is on the car loan for the car awarded to your spouse and
your spouse defaults, the loan company can sue you for the
balance even though the Divorce Decree orders your spouse
to pay the debt.
In this situation, you would need to
take your spouse back into Court and ordered to reimburse
you. The Court could
find the spouse in contempt and order your spouse. to reimburse
you for any of the spouse's debts which you paid.
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is involved in the Divorce Process
A A number of steps are involved. We've attempted
to provide an overview here:
Initial Interview with Attorney
During your initial interview, you will need to decide
if you feel comfortable with your attorney and
want him/her to proceed
with your case. Most attorneys require an up-front fee (known
as a retainer) of several hundred dollars to "retain" their
services. Most attorneys charge an hourly rate and their
time is charged against the retainer. Your attorney should
you with a detailed accounting of all the time he is charging
you for and what he did during that time.
During your initial interview and any subsequent meetings,
your attorney will begin to collect detailed information on
you, your spouse, your incomes, debts, assets, family situation,
children and any other information pertinent to your case.
Preparation of the Petition
The Petition is the basic document asking the Court for a divorce,
for a division of property, determination of child custody,
child support, etc.
Filing the Petition
After the Petition is signed, it is filed with the Clerk of
the District Court, along with a statistical report required
by the Court, a financial affidavit and child support guidelines
(if there are children involved). The assignment of a judge
is made by computer at this time.
At the time the Petition is filed, it is quite common to have
a Restraining Order entered. A restraining order is an order
entered by the Court which can do two things: 1) restrain
the other spouse from harassing, threatening, or harming
the other spouse and 2) restrain the spouse from selling,
transferring, hiding any assets, or taking out a loan against
any of the assets.
Notice In Local Newspaper
Court proceedings are public information. Most local newspapers
monitor activity within the courts and report it in the paper.
If your newspaper does so, and most do, there is no way to
prevent their announcement of your filing of a divorce petition.
The announcement usually appears in the paper within one
week after filing.
Giving Notice to the Other Spouse
After the Petition has been filed, the other party must have
legal notice of the action. This can be accomplished in one
of two ways: 1) forwarding a copy of the Petition to the
spouse and having them sign a document called a Voluntary
Appearance; or 2) having the spouse served with the documents
by the sheriff's office.
In most, but not all situations, it will be necessary to have
a Temporary Hearing to determine such things as temporary
child custody, temporary support, whether or not one spouse
should be excluded from the family home, etc. This hearing
will usually take place 10 days to 3 weeks from the date
the Petition is filed, depending on which judge the case
is assigned to and how quickly the hearing can be set on
the judge's calendar.
60 Day Waiting Period
From the date of the filing of the signed Voluntary Appearance
or the spouse is served by the sheriff, there is a mandatory
60 day waiting period before the final divorce hearing can
be set. Usually during this time the attorneys will send
out Interrogatories which are written questions. The other
spouse must answer the Interrogatories under oath giving
information about their assets, debts, income, etc. Also
during this time the attorneys will usually be attempting
a settlement of the case.
If the parties are not able to settle the case, the case will
go to trial and the District Court judge assigned to the
case will decide any of the issues not agreed upon by the
After trial or settlement, a written Decree will be prepared
by one of the attorneys setting out the parties' agreement
and/or the judge's decision. This is probably the most important
document that will come out of the entire process, as this
document will govern everything after the divorce.
30 Day/Six Month Interlocutory Period
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The Decree is final 30 days after the entry of the Decree,
except for remarriage, meaning that neither you nor your
spouse may remarry anyone anywhere in the world for six months
after the decree is final. For purposes of inheritance
and purchasing real estate, the
are the requirements for a divorce in Nebraska?
A:There are two requirements for getting a divorce
At least one person must be a resident of Nebraska for at least
one year. This means that either the husband or the wife
must have actually been physically present in the state for
at least one year. If you are in the military and claim another
state as your permanent residence, you must have been stationed
in Nebraska for at least one year.
Marriage Irretrievably Broken
The second requirement is that at least one of the spouses
must testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It
doesn't matter if the other spouse disputes or does not believe
that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the testimony
of either husband or wife is all that is necessary. There
must also be testimony that reasonable efforts were made
to reconcile the differences. These efforts can include marriage
counseling, talking to your minister, or simply talking to
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is 'No Fault' Divorce?
is a "no-fault" divorce
state. This means that with regard to property division, it makes
no difference who is "at fault" in the marriage or
who "caused" the divorce or who "wants" the
divorce, the Court will divide property between the parties in
a range between 1/2-1/2 and 1/3-2/3.
With regard to custody of children, fault can be a factor.
This means that if you and your spouse are contesting custody
of your children, negative aspects about you or your spouse
can be brought to the attention of the Court as reasons why
custody should not be awarded to that person. This is explained
in more detail in the section on Child Custody
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should I consider when employing a Bankruptcy Attorney?
A:Bankruptcy litigation requires an experienced
and steady professional.
The Patricia Geringer Law Firm works on Chapter 11 and 13
reorganizations, Chapter 7 liquidations and the restructuring
of debt through out-of-court workout agreements.
Whatever you do, never let legal actions concerning debt collections
go unanswered - get a competent attorney. If bankruptcy appears
to be the only answer, please feel free to give our office
a call. Our firm also represents out-of-state creditor interests
in bankruptcy related matters.
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is involved in Modification of Custody, Child Support
A:All issues regarding the children in a divorce
are always subject to modification, or change, until the children
reach the age of majority (age 19). This includes child custody,
child support, health insurance coverage, etc.
Changes in custody after a Decree has been entered are difficult
and should not be undertaken lightly. This is because the
Court wants to maintain a stable environment for children
and they do not want a "running gun battle," with
the parents constantly fighting over the children.
More Difficult Standard
As far as custody is concerned at the time of the divorce,
the Court's determination is based on "what is in the
best interests of the children." However, for a modification
of custody at a later date, the standard is supposed to be: "Has
there been a change of circumstances since the time of the
entry of the Decree (or the last Order of the Court whichever
is later) which was unforeseen by the parents and which now
makes it in the best interests of the children that their
custody should be changed." This is a much more difficult
standard and the Court will generally not change custody
unless there has been a significant change of circumstances.
Examples of such changes would be if the custodial parent
is providing an unsuitable home for the children, for example
with drug use or excessive use of alcohol; the relationship
between the custodial parent and the children has seriously
deteriorated (for example to the point where the child does
not obey the custodial parent or is running away). Again, in
order to have custody changed, this must be much more serious
than just that the child is not getting along well with the
Child support can be either increased or decreased depending
on the circumstances of the parties. The increase or decrease
will depend upon whether or not there has been a change in
the income of either party which will result in a child support
change of at least 10% and the change is expected to last
for at least 6 months.
The child support increase or decrease will be determined
by the Child Support Guidelines. It is important to note that
the change can only occur if the necessary documents are filed
in Court and approved by the judge. Every month that goes by
without filing the papers, the child support amount stays the
same and accrues.
As an example of this, if you and your former spouse agree
that the child will come to live with you for a few months,
you must file the necessary documents that month, or you will
owe the child support. Also, even if your former spouse gets
a big raise that starts in May, if you don't file until September,
the Court does not have the authority to go back to May when
the new income actually started. The Court only has the authority
to reduce or increase the support based on when the proper
documentation was filed with the Court.
Essentially the same rules used to determine increases or decreases
of child support apply to alimony. If there has been a substantial
increase or decrease in the incomes of either party, the
Court has the authority to increase or decrease the alimony.
Remember that if the original Decree does not award any alimony,
neither party can come back later to request alimony.
Also, the statute says that the paying party must be current
on all alimony payments before they can file to have the alimony
reduced. This is important to remember if you have lost your
job or had a substantial pay cut. File now, don't wait for
six months when you're already behind on your alimony payments.
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should I know about Domestic Violence, Protection and
A:Domestic violence is one of the most difficult
issues involved in a divorce. Our number one concern is the safety
of our clients and the safety of the children in these situations.
One of the first questions to ask is, where do we go? If you
believe that you or your children are in any danger, it is
a good idea to remove yourselves from the present situation
immediately, for example, go to the home of a family member
or friend or to a shelter. Do not wait.
Restraining Order vs. Protection Order
At the beginning of a case we can immediately file a Restraining
Order. However, in Nebraska if the other spouse has a history
of violence it may make more sense to have a Protection Order
entered. A Protection Order is essentially the same as a
Restraining Order, in that they are both court orders that
order a person to not harass, threaten, abuse, or disturb
the peace of the other person.
A major difference between a Restraining Order and a Protection
Order is that a Restraining Order can only be between spouses,
whereas a Protection Order can be between two people who were
not married to each other. But a more important difference
is that it appears that law enforcement officers seem to believe
they have more authority to arrest a violator under a Protection
Order than under a Restraining Order. For that reason, when
there is a history of violence, we usually recommend a Protection
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are equipped to construct 'Prenuptial' Agreements which are
fair, reasonable and agreeable to both
parties. In today's marriages - especially where two professionals
or business people are involved, prenuptial agreements are becoming
more and more popular. Not meant to impose a threat or a punishment
- they can go far to bring children from previous marriages together
with the new family. For more information on this topic, please
call us at 402-734-0635, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
use our convenient FORM to
schedule an appointment.
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I employ the firm to represent me if I live out of
firm actively seeks business and corporate representation
of out-of-town interests. For a small retainer
and reasonable fees - a small firm can rest assured that they
will be represented properly in the Metropolitan Omaha area;
A large firm can expect the same - while still paying the same
reasonable legal fees.
Out of Town Representation
We would be happy to represent you and your family
if you live out of state. However, we can only represent
you for actions which take place in the State of Nebraska
regarding issues which are best litigated in Nebraska.
We can not provide advice or assistance to individuals
living elsewhere in the nation. If you would like additional
information regarding this policy, please call us at
402-573-734-0635, email us at email@example.com or
use the convenient FORM to schedule an appointment..
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type of Legal Real Estate Services are available?
A:Mrs. Geringer has an exceptional combination
of education and actual experience in this particular field --
ensuring her clients of complete representation in matters involving
real estate and real property. With over twenty years as a real
estate professional, you can count on her to protect your interests
when involved in real property sales, purchases, closings, contracts
and escrow issues.
Do you know who
your real estate agent is representing (who is actually paying
for his or her services), and is the agent's company
collecting client service fees from both the buyer and seller.
In any event, you would be wise to consider employing a competent
attorney. You'll at least have some one in your corner whom
you know is representing your best interests!
The purchase of a home may be the most
important commitment of your lifetime! Good legal representation
may cost you much
less than a protracted court action once the sale is final.
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should I know about Wills and Estates?
should have a will prepared for disposition of their property
upon their death. Our office can prepare separate
wills along with estate programs which will meet your individual
needs. We also prepare and/or act as guardians in the case of
parents or grandparents whose children live either here or out-of-town.
If you're in the market for any of these services, we encourage
you to give us a call. You may telephone us direct, email
the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org -
or schedule an appointment using this convenient FORM..
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type of service do you provide for Adoption?
Law Offices of Patricia Geringer does not set up or arrange adoptions.
Rather, it represents both prospective parents - and birth mothers,
in legal adoption procedures, court appearances, orders and agreements.
For further information on this important field, you are encouraged
to call us, email us at email@example.com or use this convenient
FORM to schedule an appointment.
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other information do you have on your legal rates and
from the fee information found on the fee page, the
a set schedule of
This information should
clients in estimating what their legal expense will be - in
advance of litigation. Please note, careful planning
has went into this
schedule to protect not only you - but other clients and prospective
clients depending upon their attorney to meet important court
dates, have documents prepared in a timely basis and to represent
their issues in as efficiently a manner as possible. Unexpected
phone calls (asking for case status or to vent) may cause an
interruption in a consultation - a court case or an important
meeting. Also, missed appointments may also cause another client
to postpone an important legal meetings. Because of these issues
- the following legal expense has been developed. Naturally,
we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
You may wish to review the section of this page that deals
with how to maintain
or reduce your
expected legal costs.
General Fee Schedule (Fees and Associated Expenses)
Legal Appointments will be
charged at fifteen minutes at the standard
If the missed appointment
is for an initial FREE consultations,
the following appointment will be chargeable.
Calls to an Attorney will be charged per time (min
fifteen minutes) at the regular hourly attorney
rate. If a phone call is taken during
with a client, that time will be charged to the phone
call - not the current client.
Appearances will be charged at the standard
hourly rate. NOTE: if unscheduled
delays are brought about
beyond the control of the parties - the maximum
charge which will be
charged (in addition to the regular court appearance)
will not exceed one-half hour.
you have any additional questions concerning fees,
expenses or charges, we encourage you to email us
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can I do to reduce my legal fees and expenses?
The major cost in getting a divorce is your attorney's time.
You can significantly reduce the amount of time needed by your
attorney to prepare your case by being organized. Your attorney
will need a lot of financial information from you. Information
regarding your home, your mortgage, your savings accounts, IRAs,
401(k)s, pensions, debts, living expenses, etc. You can either
pay your attorney to collect and organize this information for
you or you can spend a little time and energy getting it yourself.
With our guidance and coaching, we find that our clients can
save a significant amount of money by taking responsibility for
this part of their divorce.
in cases of bankruptcy filings - to assist you in the initial process, you are
encouraged to complete the confidential information FORM here
on our site prior to your
first appointment. This will allow the attorney to be prepared
to realistically discuss your case and suggest other courses
of action and proceed efficiently with your case.
Computerized Information Management
Additionally, to further reduce your fees and keep your costs
as low as possible, we have developed an extremely efficient,
very effective proprietary system of computerized information
management and document preparation which we use in all of
our cases. With this system, we can effectively manage the
process of organizing the information that is so crucial
to the preparation of your case and ensure that we have everything
we need. Once the information is collected and entered into
a computerized database, it can be directly merged into the
various petitions, motions, exhibits and other documents
that are generated in your case. In some instances, the petitions
and other filings can be electronically filed thereby saving
additional time and cost. These management procedures significantly
reduces your costs by minimizing our document
Settling Out of Court
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Finally, with Mrs. Geringer's 20 years of experience and her
reputation as a winning litigator, we've found that this "intimidation
factor" often makes it unnecessary to take your case
to trial. In fact, a high proportion of our cases, approximately
75%, are settled before trial. We recognize that getting
a favorable settlement out of court is much more cost effective
for you because it eliminates the time and expense involved
in taking a case to trial. Also, with our experience in family
law matters we know which issues to fight for in court and
which issues to settle and how to settle them.
Guide To Divorce
To prepare yourself for
your upcoming divorce, you should know some
basic information which can be involved
in the various elements of the action:
For other information,
contact the Law Firm - either by calling
us at 402-734-0635, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or complete our confidential appointment
If you know of someone
who needs legal assistance but may not have
access to the internet, most - if not all
of the materials included on this site are
available in printed form from the Law Office
of Patricia Geringer.
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