Divorce in Nebraska Part I: Getting the Ball Rolling

May 15, 2015

In our (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Divorce series, we’ll try to take some of the fear out of the divorce process by answering some of our clients top Nebraska divorce questions.

Divorce in Nebraska Part I: Getting the Ball Rolling 

In part one of our Divorce in Nebraska series, we focus on the most common questions we’re asked about getting started with a Nebraska divorce.

Q: How much does a divorce cost in Nebraska?  

A: It’s usually not possible to know up front exactly how much a divorce will end up costing you because the facts and circumstances are different in every case. If your divorce is contentious and you can’t reach a settlement agreement, the costs can add up. 

Generally, the more you and your spouse agree on, the less you’ll spend on legal fees and court costs. 

The costs of divorce trials can also vary depending on the number and complexity of issues.   

Q: What is a divorce lawyer retainer fee? 

A: A retainer payment is money you (the client) pay in advance before the lawyer begins working on your case. Maybe now you’re wondering, “What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer?” There’s not a set amount — the initial retainer fee will vary based on the unique factors surrounding your case. 

Your retainer fund is deposited into a client trust account separate from the firm’s regular business account until the retainer is earned by the firm. The amount of time the lawyer works on the case is paid out of the retainer as the fees are billed. 

If the full amount of the retainer is not earned, you get a refund for the money unearned. If the circumstances of your case deplete the retainer, you will be asked to refresh your retainer fund.

Q: What is the difference between legal separation and divorce? 

A: In a legal separation, you and your spouse stay legally married. A divorce means you are no longer legally tied to each other through marriage. 

At the conclusion of both a legal separation case and a divorce case, the judge enters a final order to divide assets, real and personal property and retirement accounts. If you have children, that order will also establish child support and parenting time for each party. A legal separation case can be converted to a divorce case at any time. 

Q: What are the Nebraska residency requirements for divorce?  

A: To file for a Nebraska divorce, you or your spouse must live in the state, with the intention of making it your permanent home, for at least one year before filing your divorce. There is one exception: you may file if you were married in Nebraska, have been married less than one year and have lived in Nebraska the entire time since your marriage. 

Q: How do I start filing for divorce in Nebraska?  

A:The first step to start a divorce is to file a Complaint for Dissolution with the District Court.

Q: What county do you file divorce in? 

A: The Complaint for Dissolution can be filed with the Clerk of the District Court in the County where you or your spouse lives. 

Q: What about a domestic violence divorce? 

A: In cases of domestic violence, we can help you get linked in with resources to help keep you safe and provide emotional support from the very beginning of the divorce process. 

Additionally, some procedures, like mediation, may be handled differently if there is domestic violence in your marriage.  

For our clients accused of domestic violence, we are able to tie in with counseling services and other resources as well.

Next time in the series

Check out Part II of (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Divorce: Ticking Clocks and Temporary Hearings.

In the meantime, if you need help with a divorce, call Hightower Reff Law at 402-932-9550, or contact us online. We are experienced Omaha area attorneys who can help you through this difficult process. 

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

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