Ending a marriage or a long-term relationship is never an easy process. The situation is made even more stressful when children are involved. Finding the best solution when it comes to child custody is perhaps the most important aspect of successfully moving on after a breakup.

As in other states, child custody laws in Nebraska ultimately rest on the question: What is in the best interest of the child? The court will constantly be asking that question throughout the process before issuing a final parenting plan. The child’s best interest will override individual preferences of each parent.

Joint Custody

Various child custody arrangements can be reached, depending on one’s specific family situation. In general, both parents have joint custody or one party has sole custody (with visitation rights for the other). These categories are further broken down into “legal” custody and “physical” custody. Legal custody refers to parents rights in decision-making for the child (such as school arrangements and health care decisions). Physical custody relates to the actual living location of the child.

Agreeing to “joint custody” does not always mean that there will be both joint legal and physical custody. Depending on where the parents’ live, their work situation, and other factors, it may be impractical for parents to have full joint physical custody. The child may be best served by living primarily with one parent. Yet, in those situations there still may be joint legal custody with both parents having an equal say in important decisions throughout the child’s life.

Custody & Support

It is important to understand the role that custody determinations have on child support. Under Nebraska law, there are very specific formulas and worksheets used to determine how much support (if any) is owed by one parent to the child. The specific worksheet used and support owed is influenced by many factors, including the exact custody arrangement and the form of physical custody. For example, there is a specific worksheet used for joint physical custody that differs from that used with other living arrangements.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Nebraska

If you have questions about joint legal custody in Nebraska, be sure to seek out trained professionals to advocate on your behalf.   The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Johnson & Pekny LLC have offices in Omaha and Plattsmouth, and we work on issues such as divorce, custody, alimony, and similar matters. Contact us today to learn more.