According to Nebraska law, parents are encouraged to resolve custody disputes out of court. If the parties cannot agree, the courts decide who gets custody based on what is best for the child.
Child Custody Decisions in Nebraska
- How Can I Obtain Visitation and Custody Rights for My Child?
- What is a Parenting Plan?
- What Factors Does the Court Consider When Deciding on Custody?
- What is the “Child’s Best Interests” Standard?
- What Are Visitation Rights?
- What Takes Place After a Court Decision?
- How Can I Change My Child’s Visitation or Custody Arrangements?
- Should I Speak with a Nebraska Attorney About My Child Custody Issues?
How Can I Obtain Visitation and Custody Rights for My Child?
Couples with children must make numerous crucial decisions throughout a divorce or separation process, including who will get custody of the kids, what kind of custody rights each parent will keep, and, depending on the circumstances, the visitation schedule for the kids.
Child custody generally refers to the legal rights and obligations a parent has for the child’s care, management, and raising. The various arrangements for dividing custody rights are covered in more depth below.
Contrarily, child visitation refers to the legal privileges granted to a non-custodial parent. In other words, a parent will typically be given visitation rights if they are not allowed any actual custody of their child. There are a few different types of visitation rights, which are also covered in more detail below.
There are two primary methods that a party to a divorce or separation proceeding might start the process, regardless of whether you are requesting custodial or visitation rights over a child:
- By agreement: By agreement is the first and preferred way. Without the assistance of attorneys or the court, the parents should discuss the terms of child custody and visitation if they are both prepared to work together. They can negotiate a deal on their terms in this fashion. If this is feasible, the parents should create a written custody agreement outlining the custody terms and a basic visitation schedule.
- By judicial order: A court will have to step in and make decisions regarding the arrangements if the parents cannot agree on their own or if one or both of the parties’ actions endanger the child’s welfare. The parents will normally be given a chance to submit their case at a hearing when the court is tasked with making such a decision.
The ultimate child custody arrangement or visitation schedule must be approved by the court, regardless of the approach chosen. This is one last point to make regarding the aforementioned possibilities. The main difference is that if the parties can agree independently, they will have more power over timetables and arrangements.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a thorough, written agreement that specifies how divorcing parents will divide custody of their children, both legally and physically. Parents in Nebraska must submit a suggested parenting plan to the court. Their proposal will be authorized if it is in the child’s best interests.
If parents cannot agree, the court usually orders mediation (a dispute resolution process).
Additionally, parent education courses are frequently necessary. The difficulties of co-parenting after a divorce are the main topic of these classes. If parenting classes and mediation fail to settle a conflict, the court will decide who gets to keep what child.
What Factors Does the Court Consider When Deciding on Custody?
Nebraska courts weigh a number of considerations to determine what is in a child’s best interest.
The child’s safety, welfare, and health are among these considerations, along with their emotional growth, the parents’ willingness and capacity to raise the child, any evidence of child or spouse abuse, the child’s reasonable preference (if age-appropriate), and any other pertinent considerations.
The gender of a parent is not taken into account. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed in a custody battle to speak up for the child and determine what is in their best interests.
What is the “Child’s Best Interests” Standard?
The court will typically use the child’s best interest standard when making judgments involving children in family law proceedings.
When deciding on a child custody or visitation arrangement, this standard will be used, and it will take precedence over the majority of state child custody rules. However, each state will have different criteria that the court will consider while applying the standard.
The child’s best interest criterion serves as a mechanism for the law to ensure that a vulnerable group of people—children—are given the highest level of safeguards. Therefore, per this requirement, a person assuming custody of a kid must be able to maintain a stable home environment and protect the child’s safety and well-being.
The court will take into account a number of elements, including the parent’s capacity to care for the child, their relationship with the child, and which home would be best suited for the child’s adjustment or needs, to decide whether a parent meets the requirements for custody under this standard.
What Are Visitation Rights?
A parent may also be granted visitation rights as an alternative to child custody or in addition to custodial rights, depending on the circumstances of a case. The parameters of visitation will be spelled out in a legal agreement called a “visitation schedule,” just like the custody arrangements.
An agreement will often include the following:
- A detailed timetable.
- The child’s principal residence.
- Approved activities.
- Directions for changing the arrangement.
Unsupervised and supervised visitation are the two main types of visitation. Unsupervised visitation is more typical of the two. It allows a parent to interact with their child alone, unsupervised by a third party.
In contrast, supervised visitation is less frequent and necessitates the presence of an impartial third party during the visiting time. The court mandates this type of visitation. As a result, the court will usually establish the parties’ visitation schedule (including the date, time, length, etc.) and designate the individual overseeing the visit.
The court will determine whether visitation will be supervised or unsupervised based on the child’s best interest criteria, much like it does with child custody arrangements.
Remember that this criterion only considers arrangements that would provide the best protection for the safety and well-being of the child, not the parents. The type of visitation the court orders greatly depends on the criteria.
For instance, the court will probably impose supervised visitation if one of the parents has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or neglect.
What Takes Place After a Court Decision?
After being signed, the divorce decree and parenting plan are submitted to the court clerk for filing. The court must approve any modifications to the agreed parenting plan before it becomes binding on both parents.
How Can I Change My Child’s Visitation or Custody Arrangements?
It is still possible to win custody of a child by submitting a request for modification, even if a final court order setting custody or visiting arrangements already exists. When one or both parties go through a “significant life change,” new or modified custody orders are frequently issued. These alterations would probably significantly affect the child and their upbringing.
Should I Speak with a Nebraska Attorney About My Child Custody Issues?
Child custody fights can be very emotive and call for a thorough knowledge of the law. It is crucial to talk with a knowledgeable Nebraska child custody attorney if you have questions about custody and parenting time.
A lawyer will fight for the greatest parenting plan for your family and act as an advocate for you and your child.
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