You and your spouse are permitted to decide which of you will have custody of your children. In almost all cases, the non-custodial parent will still be awarded a period of visitation with the child. In Nebraska, one party may be granted sole custody of the minor children, or the parties can share joint custody of the children. Joint custody allows both parents to share equal legal responsibility for all major child-rearing decisions regarding their upbringing, health, education, and welfare. The point of joint custody is that the children will benefit from continued and frequent contact with both of their parents.
Nebraska statues ask a trial court to take into account a child’s preference, as long as the child is of a minimum age of comprehension and the child’s wishes are based on sound reasoning. However, the child’s wishes are only considered and do not control the outcome of the parenting plan.
A parenting plan is a blueprint for how the children are going to be co-parented, once you and your spouse have divorced. They will indicate how time with the children will be split and how holidays and vacation time will be divided. Parenting plans can be developed by the parents, their attorneys, or through mediation. If no parenting plan is developed, the judge will order his own parenting plan.
Nebraska statutes authorize a judge to enter temporary orders for the custody and support of children while a divorce case is pending. The purpose of these orders is to provide continuing stability, prevent a child’s removal from the state, return a child to the appropriate custodian, and to protect children from neglect, trauma, or abuse. Permanent child custody will be decided once the divorce is granted. This determination will either be by agreement of the parents or by evidence submitted to the court at trial.