Articles Posted in Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court that rescinded an ex parte domestic abuse protection order against Oscar G., holding that the district court did not err in rescinding the ex parte domestic abuse protection order against Oscar. Maria A. and Oscar were the biological parents of Leslie G. Maria filed a petition on Leslie’s behalf to obtain a domestic abuse protection order against Oscar. The district court entered an ex parte domestic abuse protection order barring Oscar from any contact with Oscar. Oscar later requested a hearing on the matter pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-925 to show cause why the protection order should not remain in effect. After a show cause hearing, the district court entered an order rescinding the ex parte domestic abuse protection order pertaining to Leslie. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the evidence as a whole was insufficient to show cause why the protection order should not remain in effect. View "Maria A. v. Oscar G." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s finding that the State had a lien on an appearance bond deposit assigned to a debtor’s former attorney, holding that appearance bond funds are not personal property “registered” with a “county office” as required for a lien under Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-371. This appeal related to an order in garnishment enforcing a statutory lien by the State for $18,000 in past-due child support against an appearance bond deposit in the amount of $4,500 held by the clerk of the court in a criminal case unrelated to the child support matter. For payment for the attorney’s services the debtor had assigned to his attorney his contingent right to a return of the bond deposit. During the garnishment proceedings, the attorney filed a motion to quash, arguing that depositing a bond is not “registering” and that the county court is not a “county office” under section 42-371. The district court disagreed and ordered that the bond funds being held by the court be credited against the debtor’s child support arrears. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the bond deposit was not “registered personal property” under the statute. View "State v. McColery" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal brought from an order of the district court extending a harassment protection order for one year as moot but applied the public interest exception to mootness to address whether a respondent against whom a harassment protection order is sought must appear in person rather than through counsel. During a show cause hearing, the district court concluded that because Respondent appeared through counsel rather than appearing in person, the ex parte harassment protection order against him would automatically be extended for one year. The court allowed Petitioner to testify and allowed Respondent’s counsel to cross-examine Petitioner. The court then found that Petitioner had presented evidence sufficient to extend the harassment protection order for one year to expire on October 5, 2018. The Supreme Court held (1) Respondent’s appeal from the harassment protection order was moot; and (2) through a plain reading of Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-311.09(8)(b), a respondent is entitled to appear by and through his or her counsel. View "Weatherly v. Cochran" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Barbara Hotz’s motion to modify the divorce judgment, holding that the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines excludes alimony between parents from their total monthly income for the purpose of calculating child support obligations for their children. In dissolving the parties’ marriage, the district court split custody of their children, ordered James Hotz to pay child support until the parties’ oldest child reached the age of majority, and awarded alimony to Barbara. Later, Barbara moved to modify the amount of child support that James paid. The court declined to include James’ alimony payments to Barbara in its calculation of the parties’ total monthly income for the purpose of recalculating child support obligations and abated part of Barbara’s child support obligations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in calculating the parties’ child support obligations or abating Barbara’s child support payments. View "Hotz v. Hotz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court that modified Father’s child support obligation to Mother, holding that the district court did not err in the calculation of child support. In the parties’ divorce decree, Mother was granted physical custody of the parties three children, subject to Father’s parenting time, and Father was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $950 per month. Father later filed a complaint seeking modification of custody with respect to the parties’ middle child and a reduction in his child support obligation due to the change in custody. The district court awarded physical custody of the child to Father and modified child support accordingly. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the child support order was not a judicial abuse of discretion. View "Armknecht v. Armknecht" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court held that the county court erred when it declined to make special factual findings for Juvenile to apply for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J) on the grounds that it was not a “juvenile court” for purposes of the statute. Juvenile’s grandfather (Grandfather) sought to be appointed as Juvenile’s guardian and requested that the county court make special findings of fact contemplated in section 1101(a)(27)(J) to potentially become eligible for SIJ status. The county court appointed Grandfather as Juvenile’s legal guardian but declined to make the requested special findings of fact that Juvenile could use in his immigration petition based on its conclusion that it did not constitute a “juvenile court” for SIJ findings purposes. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a county court with a jurisdictional basis under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1238(a) and which has made a child custody determination, such as appointing a guardian, has authority to make factual findings consistent with 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)(i) and (ii); and (2) the county court erred when it made a custody determination under section 43-1238(a) but then refused to make special findings under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)(i). View "In re Guardianship of Luis J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the conclusion of the district court that Mother’s petition for habeas corpus challenging Adoptive Parents’ custody over the child in this case did not state a claim, holding that the court did not err in its ultimate determination that Mother failed to allege facts that would establish that Adoptive Parents were not entitled to sole custody of Mother’s biological child. In her petition, Mother alleged that her relinquishment of parental rights to the Department of Health and Human Services and consent to adoption had been obtained through coercion, false pretenses, or fraud. Specifically, Mother alleged that Adoptive Parents failed to comply with a communication and contact agreement allowing her to have contact with Child. The district court dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court and the parties did not follow the correct procedure for a habeas proceeding; but (2) Mother’s allegations failed to allege facts that could warrant relief in a habeas proceeding. View "Maria T. v. Jeremy S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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A substantial right is not affected until judgment is entered in a garnishment action, and therefore, a judgment debtor who unsuccessfully objects to a garnishment may not immediately appeal. After the district court overruled Appellant’s objection to a garnishment and ordered that “the garnishment may proceed,” Appellant appealed. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction because there was no final order. Appellant filed a petition for further review, asserting that he appealed from a final order because the order that the garnishment “may proceed” affected a substantial right and was determined in a special proceeding. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the order overruling Appellant’s challenge to the garnishment did not affect a substantial right and therefore was not a final, appealable order. View "Shawn E. v. Diane S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the State’s appeal from the district court’s order disestablishing paternity of one child and taking no action on other claims in this proceeding initiated by the State to establish support for two children based upon notarized acknowledgments of paternity. The pleadings in this case framed multiple claims. After the district court entered its order, the State purported to appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1315, which governs multiple parties and multiple claims, dictates that the order was not final or appealable. View "State ex rel. Marcelo K. v. Ricky K." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme court vacated the district court’s order granting grandparent visitation to Frederick and Ann Heiden and remanded with directions to dismiss, holding that the Heidens were not grandparents of the children at issue for purposes of the grandparent visitation statutes, Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1801 to 43-1803. After noting that the plain language of the statutes provides that a grandparent is defined as the biological or adoptive parent of a minor child’s biological or adoptive parent, the Supreme Court held that the Heidens were not entitled to an order of visitation under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1801 to 43-183 because the Heidens failed to show that they were Mother’s biological or adoptive parents. View "Heiden v. Norris" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law