Nebraska law encourages parents to work out custody arrangements themselves without bringing the issue to court. If they cannot come to an agreement, courts make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a detailed, written agreement that sets out how divorcing parents will share legal and physical custody of their children. In Nebraska, parents should submit a proposed parenting plan to the court. If their plan is in the child’s best interest, it will be approved.
If parents cannot agree on a plan, the court typically requires mediation (a dispute resolution process). Parent education classes are frequently required as well. These classes focus on the challenges of co-parenting after a divorce. If mediation and parenting classes do not resolve a dispute, the court will assign custody.
What Does the Court Consider in Assigning Custody?
Nebraska courts balance a series of factors when determining the best interest of a child. These factors include:
- The child’s safety, welfare, and health,
- The child’s emotional development,
- The parents’ willingness and ability to raise the child,
- Evidence of child abuse or spousal abuse,
- The child’s reasonable preference (if age appropriate), and
- Any other relevant factors.
A parent’s gender is not considered as a factor. In a custody dispute, a guardian ad litem may also be assigned to advocate for the child and help assess his or her best interests.
What Happens When the Court Has Made a Decision?
Once the parenting plan and divorce order are signed, they are filed with the court clerk. Both parents are then bound by the approved parenting plan and the court must approve any modification of the plan.
Should I Contact a Nebraska Lawyer Regarding my Custody Issues?
Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and require a detailed understanding of the law. If you have concerns about custody and parenting time, it is important that you speak with an experienced child custody lawyer. A lawyer will help advocate for you and your child and work to secure the best possible parenting arrangement for your family.