Vacanti | Shattuck | Finocchiaro Attorneys

Filing For Divorce In Nebraska

Family members holding paper cutouts of a house and family, symbolizing unity and loveIn this article, you will learn:

  • How long filing for divorce usually takes in Nebraska.
  • The different methods of filing for divorce in Nebraska.
  • What to do if your spouse does not consent to your divorce.

How Soon After I File For Divorce Will My Spouse Be Notified Or Served?

When filing for divorce in Nebraska, the other party is typically notified shortly after the date of filing by way of the filing spouse making efforts to serve the other party with a copy of the complaint . There are generally two ways to serve a complaint:

  1. Formally through the sheriff.
  2. A voluntary appearance that allows the other spouse to voluntarily accept the complaint. Voluntarily accepting the complaint relieves and avoids the need for the use of the sheriff.

What Is The Legal Process For Serving Divorce Papers If My Spouse Is Intentionally Avoiding Being Served?

When your spouse is trying to avoid service, the first step is to make reasonable efforts to have them served. In this case, that would be filing a praecipe, or a legal request, to obtain a summons from the court.

This summons will direct the sheriff to serve the spouse, typically at home or work. The sheriff will then make diligent efforts to do so. After diligent efforts to serve on the part of the sheriff, if someone is intentionally avoiding being served, we would then file a motion for alternative service.

Proof that diligent efforts have been made, combined with the claim that your spouse is intentionally avoiding service, allows the process to be furthered. With this evidence, the court can issue an order authorizing service via publication, email or any other means to actually get the documents to the other party.

Is There A Specific Timeframe Within Which Divorce Papers Must Be Served After Filing For Divorce?

When using the sheriff for service, the sheriff must serve the divorce papers within 21 days of the summons being issued by the court. If that 21-day window is missed, a new summons must be requested. Whether you’re asking someone to sign a voluntary appearance and voluntarily accept the complaint or using the sheriff to serve, this must be completed within six months of the initial filing. Otherwise, the matter will be dismissed by statute.

Can I Serve My Spouse With Divorce Papers If They Are Out Of State?

Many people think you can’t serve someone with divorce papers if they are in a different location or state. That is incorrect, and despite a spouse being in a different location or state, we can still serve them.

Typically, we serve someone out of state in a very similar manner as someone in the state. While a voluntary appearance is always an option, the use of the sheriff or other authorized person may also be utilized.

A summons would be obtained from the court of the county in which the complaint was filed. Depending on the rules of the county the party resides in, the summons would direct the county sheriff or other authorized personnel to serve the party in the county where they reside.

Once the summons and the complaint are provided to the sheriff or other authorized personnel in the county of the other spouse, they will make efforts to serve them at home or work. So, while there are a few more steps and procedural aspects, there is no issue serving a party, even if they live outside of the state.

Can My Spouse Refuse To Participate In The Divorce Proceedings Altogether, Including Being Served With The Divorce Papers?

When someone is served with a complaint, they will have 30 days to file an answer or responsive pleading. If no answer or responsive pleading is filed within 30 days of receiving the complaint, we may be able to obtain a default judgment.

A default judgment is obtained by filing a motion with the court and scheduling a hearing with the judge, which the filing spouse would need to attend with counsel. Essentially, the motion would state a party has had 30 days to file an answer after being served, but they have not done so and have refused to participate in the proceedings, and a default judgment should be entered.

In divorce proceedings, there is a 60-day time period that must pass following service of the complaint on the other spouse before a final judgment or order can be obtained from the court. This is often referred to as the ‘cooling off period.’ After 60 days from when the initial complaint was served on the other spouse, the filing party may obtain a final default judgment from the court if the other spouse chooses not to participate or file a responsive pleading within the timeframe to do so.

Is There Any Benefit Of Being The First One To File The Divorce Papers?

While there may be implications relating to jurisdiction, generally, there is no benefit to being the one to file for divorce. As to the jurisdictional implications, there may be a slight benefit.

A divorce can be filed in any county where the parties reside, and if the spouses reside in different counties, the matter will be heard in the county where the divorce is first filed. If there’s a preference, filing first may allow for those preferences to be met regarding the county in which the case is heard. Outside of this jurisdictional facet, there is no legal benefit to filing first.

For more information on Filing For Divorce In Nebraska, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (402) 235-6070 today.

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