Get to Know the Nebraska Child Custody Laws
Child custody is the determination of guardianship rights that exist between the parent or legal guardian and the child. The determination of child custody is most commonly required during divorce, but may also be applicable in case of death of both parents, during adoption, and when the parents are separated. The Child Custody Laws in Nebraska are detailed in Chapter 42 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes (NE Code § 42-364 (2013)). Let us understand in detail.
In order to gain child custody, visitation rights or any other form of access, the parties, usually the parents, are required to develop and submit a viable parenting plan that adequately addresses the child’s physical and emotional needs. If there is a dispute among the parents regarding the terms of the parenting plan or if the court is not satisfied with the parenting plan, Nebraska Child Custody Laws allow the court to devise an alternative plan of it is own based on the evidence provided in the case.
Types of Custody
There are different types of custody that can be allowed as per the Child Custody Laws. They are:
- Sole Custody: Where only a single parent or guardian has both physical and legal custody of the child and the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf.
- Split Custody: Where custody is divided among parents or guardians, either with a child living on a rotating basis between each parent or with each parent being granted sole custody of at least one child.
- Physical Custody: This is when the child lives with the parent. This type of child custody can be jointly held.
- Legal Custody: This is another type of custody that can be jointly held, where the parent has the right to make crucial life decisions on behalf of the child.
Factors Determining Child Custody
Whether or not custody is shared among parents and to what extent is determined by the court’s consideration of several factors, including the home environment of each parent, age of the child and the parents, the level of emotional attachment the child has to each parent, the capacity of the parents to take care of the educational needs of the child, the age and overall health of the child and parents, and any evidence of abuse on the child or any other member of the family.
While no particular preference is given to either parent based on gender or disability, Child Custody Laws in Nebraska do not permit any form of custody or unsupervised visits to a parent that is a registered sex offender or convicted of a felony involving a minor.
The child’s own preference is also taken into account when determining child custody, provided the child is considered old enough to understand the situation.
Nebraska Child Custody Laws determine the amount of child support payable based on the earning capabilities of each parent. If, at a later date, there is complaint and subsequent evidence presented to show that the money meant for child support or cash medical support is being misused, then as per the Child Custody Laws the court can ask the offending party to present periodic verified reports stating exactly where the money was spent.
Termination of Parental Rights
In cases of termination of parental rights, whether by abandonment, neglect, abuse, or any other reasons as detailed in § 43-292, the Child Custody Law sets forth that the court can transfer the case to a juvenile court unless there is sufficient reason shown to keep the case in district court or county court.
Modification of Child Custody
If any change is required to be made in the established parenting plan, a complaint to modify must be filed. If both parents are in agreement of the modified child custody arrangements and provided that the new parenting plan is not in violation of the Parenting Act, the court may waive off any mediation or alternative dispute resolution. Also, if mediation may cause an unnecessary amount of hardship to either parent, the court may at its discretion waive it off.
In most states, child custody laws are oriented towards the best interests of the child and the same is applicable in Nebraska as well.