Divorce is often full of emotions and confusion between the couple and, if children are involved, it is much more complicated and impassioned. An experienced Omaha divorce and legal separation attorney can make the journey toward dissolution of a marriage much less of a bumpy ride. Even if you are heading toward the dissolution amicably with your spouse, you should still discuss your situation with a lawyer who has been through the legal process numerous times.

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

In Nebraska, the law recognizes two different methods of terminating a marriage: divorce and legal separation. The method that a couple chooses for dissolution of their marriage will depend on their particular situation. Factors such as the religious values of the couple, financial issues, residency requirements, and the long-term plans of each of the married individuals will determine which method is best.

If a legal separation is ordered in a Nebraska court, it is essentially the same as a legal divorce, with the exception that the marriage is not yet formally and completely dissolved. A court ordered legal separation decree addresses matters including how assets and debts will be divided (division of property), child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony or “spousal support.” Often, legal separation is the intended conclusion of the couple because of philosophical or religious reasons.  

However, legal separation can also be a temporary step in the process of divorcing if the specified residency requirements have yet to be met by the couple. In order to fulfill the residency requirement, at least one of the parties must reside in Nebraska for at least one year or either party must have resided in Nebraska from the date the marriage took place to the filing of the divorce. If the residency requirements have not been fulfilled, an Omaha divorce and legal separation attorney may file a petition for the couple to be legally separated. Once legal requirements have been met, the legal separation can later be modified to a request that the court allow the marriage to be dissolved.

Can I Get a Legal Separation Decree Without a Court Hearing?

The Nebraska legislature updated the divorce statutes in 2012 with the revised statute Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-361.01. The revision allows a Nebraska trial court to decree a legal separation without a lengthy hearing when both of the following are true:

  • Both of the parties waive the hearing and the court believes that it has jurisdiction over the dissolution action, as well as personal jurisdiction over both of the parties involved; and
  • Both of the parties provide a written certification to the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken, including certifying that they have tried to reconcile, and all pertinent and required documents have been filed.

Basically, if both parties agree about the legal separation and all of the intricacies that come along with it, they can plead to the court that they agree, in writing. At that point, the court will then enter both parties into a written agreement, in which they will both resolve all of their issues and then sign. Consult with a knowledgeable Omaha family law attorney before making any important decisions about legal separation or divorce.

Ensuring Fair Agreements in a Nebraska Legal Separation

Even if the couple only decides to enter into a legal separation, there are still numerous important yet difficult and often emotional decisions that need to be made. Matters related to any children that are involved and the couple’s finances, assets, and debts will need to be assessed and agreed upon. A reputable Omaha divorce attorney will know the strategies that ensure all agreements within the legal separation decree are fair and will aim to protect your rights.

Advising Clients – The Best Choice for You

Because every marriage and every situation is different, it is vital to seek the counsel of a seasoned Omaha divorce lawyer who has walked other couples through the process successfully. The Law Offices of Johnson & Pekny LLC have helped numerous couples reach fair and reasonable divorce and separation agreements over the years. We will help you evaluate your situation from a legal standpoint and guide you through the legal process with as few speed bumps as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of Johnson & Pekny LLC in Omaha, Plattsmouth and Blair at (402) 298-8288 today for a free consultation. We aim to not only advise you of the best choices for your situation but to also help to reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable for you so that you can move on with your life.