Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Nebraska Divorce (Almost) – Part I

In the (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.

Part I – Getting the Divorce Ball Rolling

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

Q: How much is a divorce going to cost? 

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.  

Costs of trial can also vary depending on the number and complexity of issues.   

Q: What is a retainer?

A: A retainer payment is money you (the client) pay in advance before the lawyer begins working on your case. The amount of your initial retainer will vary based on the 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? 

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: How long do I have to live in this state before I can file for a Nebraska 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 the divorce process? 

A: The first step to start a divorce is to file a Complaint for Dissolution with the District Court. The court charges a filing fee of $157.

Q:  In what county will my divorce be filed? 

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 Domestic Violence?

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

Watch for 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. 

The Cost of Trial in Family Law – It’s More Than Just Money

“What’s it like to be in trial?” This is a question we often get from our family law clients.  A trial isn’t easy. In a divorce, child custody modification, or other family law trial, the most important things in your life – your children and your financial security – are at stake. 

Having your voice heard

In a family law divorce or custody trial, the outcome is completely out of your hands, and ours. It’s in the hands of the judge. A settlement agreement, on the other hand, gives you a say in the outcome of your case. It is a chance for your voice to truly be heard – and for your wishes to be incorporated in the final court order that comes from the settlement agreement. 

Sometimes a trial is necessary – but, if the lawyer does her job well, those times can be relatively few in family law cases.  Most often, a settlement is the best way for our clients to have a choice and a voice in deciding what’s best for their children and family.  

That’s one of the reasons why, in most cases, the attorneys of Hightower Reff Law would rather reach a settlement than go to trial with your divorce or child custody case.

Making good settlement decisions

While reasonable attorneys may differ regarding interpretation of the law, an experienced family law attorney has a pretty good idea of what your chances of success are at trial and what expectations are reasonable. 

At Hightower Reff Law, we counsel our clients about those things and give you the advice you need to make reasonable settlement decisions that give you a say in the outcome of your case, and that are in the best interest of your children. We do this because it is part of advocating for you. Being in trial is hard on families. It is hard on our clients. It is all consuming.  

The casualties of trial

In a divorce or child custody modification trial, it’s our job to convince a judge or jury that our side should prevail, but there is never a guarantee. It is the other side’s job to point out how wrong we are about our client and our position.  The other side often will bring up every little negative thing that our client has ever done and make it seem like the worst thing ever – and we will have to do the same to your soon to be ex-spouse or parent of your children. 

A trial is never predictable, and is not for the faint of heart.  It can be a blood bath that causes even more hard feelings than the parties already harbor for one another. It can also make for problems in co-parenting children after the divorce or custody modification trial is over. 

In the end, the true casualties of the battle of trial are often the children because they can suffer when their parents harbor animosities for one another. 

Your peace of mind

Although a trial is sometimes necessary in family law cases, through our years of experience as family law attorneys, we at Hightower Reff Law have found our clients are most satisfied with an agreed upon outcome they help craft in mediation or settlement negotiations. 

After all is said and done, when you reach a settlement agreement in your divorce, child custody, or other family law case, you can walk away with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you stood up for you rights and the best interest of your children – without the lingering scars a trial can cause.

To learn more about Hightower Reff Law, visit our “about” page, or call us today at 402-932-9550.