Legal Information: Nebraska

Nebraska Divorce

Laws current as of
November 24, 2021

This section has basic information about divorce in Nebraska. You will find more information about divorce, including the risks of taking your children out of state while a divorce is pending, on our general Divorce page. To watch brief videos about divorce in Spanish with English sub-titles, go to our Videos page. Lastly, learn more about the court process on our Preparing for Court – By Yourself page.

What are the residency requirements for divorce in Nebraska?

The judge can grant you a divorce in Nebraska if:

  • you or your spouse have lived in Nebraska for at least one year before filing the petition for divorce and have the intention to make Nebraska your permanent home; or
  • you were married in Nebraska and you or your spouse have lived in Nebraska continuously from the time of your marriage until the time you file for divorce.

If you or your spouse serve in the U.S. armed forces, one of you must have been continuously stationed at a Nebraska military base or installation for one year prior to filing. Or if you were married in Nebraska, you must have lived there continuously from the time of your marriage until the complaint for divorce is filed.1

1 NE ST § 42-349

What are the grounds for divorce in Nebraska?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce. To file for divorce in Nebraska, you can file a petition stating that your marriage is irretrievably broken. If your spouse does not deny the statement or if your spouse agrees that it is broken, the judge will determine if in fact your marriage is broken. If your spouse denies that your marriage is broken, the judge will decide if your marriage is broken only after considering all relevant factors including:

  1. the circumstances that caused you to file for divorce; and
  2. any possibility for reconciliation (getting back together).1

The judge may grant your divorce without a hearing if 60 days after you file:

  • you and your spouse waive (give up) the requirement for a hearing;
  • you both certify in writing that your marriage is irretrievably broken and you have made every reasonable effort to reconcile; and
  • you both sign a written agreement that resolves all of the issues presented in your and your spouse’s divorce petition (for example, custody, alimony, etc.).2

1 NE ST § 42-361(1),(2)
2 NE ST § 42-361(3)

Can I get alimony?

Alimony (also called maintenance) is financial support paid by, or to, your spouse and can be awarded as part of a divorce case. To decide whether to award alimony and for how long a spouse will pay alimony, a judge will consider:

  • the circumstances of each spouse;
  • the length of your marriage;
  • the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including childcare and any interruptions of education or careers during your marriage; and
  • the ability of the supported spouse to have a job if that spouse has custody of a child.1

1 NE ST § 42-365

Can I change or stop alimony?

Maybe. You or your spouse can file a complaint to change or stop alimony if there is “good cause” to do so. Generally, however, you will stop receiving alimony if you remarry or if the paying spouse dies (unless there is a written agreement or court order that says otherwise).1

1 NE ST § 42-365

What are the basic steps for filing for divorce?

While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps:

  • First, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file.
  • Second, you must have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage.
  • Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.
  • Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, he will then have the opportunity to file papers telling his side. This is called “contesting the divorce.” In this case, you will have to attend a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. If your spouse does not disagree with anything, he should sign the papers and send them back to you and/or the court. This is called an “uncontested divorce.” If a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway. You should speak to a lawyer in your state about how long you have to wait to see if your spouse answers the divorce papers before you can continue with the divorce.
  • Fifth, if there is property that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, you will have to work that out in an out-of-court settlement, or in a series of court hearings. Custody may also be decided as part of your divorce.

Where can I find additional information about divorce laws in Nebraska?

The State of Nebraska Judicial Branch provides the following resources concerning divorce:

Legal Aid of Nebraska has multiple divorce handbooks that explain the divorce process and include a glossary of commonly-used legal terms. They have frequently asked questions on divorce-related matters, including legal separation, serving your spouse, and more. is unrelated to the above organizations and cannot vouch for the accuracy of their sites. We provide these links for your information only.

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