Articles Posted in Family Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal involving a “bridge order” entered after the adjudication of five children under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a), who had been in Mother’s sole legal and physical custody, giving Father legal and physical custody, holding that bridge orders are not final for purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1902. A bridge order addresses solely matters of legal and physical custody and parenting time when a juvenile has been placed by the juvenile court with a legal parent. The bridge order at issue in this case was entered after five children, who had been in Mother’s legal and physical custody, were adjudicated under section 43-247(3)(a). Two of these children were placed with Father during the juvenile proceedings, and the bridge order gave Father legal and physical custody, with substantial visitation by Mother. Mother appealed, arguing that the bridge order was inappropriate under the circumstances. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that a bridge order is not final for purposes of section 25-1902. View "In re Interest of Kamille C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal from the denial of two motions filed by Appellant in this marital dissolution case, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction of this appeal. After a marital dissolution decree was entered adjudicating paternity of a child, David B. sought to intervene in the case as an interested party and to set aside the paternity finding within the decree of dissolution. The district court denied David’s motions, finding that David failed to act in a timely matter. David then filed two motions to reconsider, one filed within ten days of the final order, and, after it was denied, a second motion filed eleven days after the final order. The district court denied the motions. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s ensuing appeal for lack of jurisdiction because (1) David’s second motion did not terminate the time for filing an appeal and was not filed within ten days of the final order; and (2) David did not appeal within thirty days of the overruling of his first motion to reconsider, which was properly construed as a motion to alter or amend. View "Bryson L. v. Izabella L." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ dismissal of Appellant’s appeal of a district court order granting temporary visitation of Appellant’s minor children to the children’s maternal grandmother, holding that the order for temporary grandparent visitation was not a final, appealable order. In dismissing the appeal, the court of appeals concluded that the order at issue was a final, appealable order but that the appeal was moot because the order had expired. The court of appeals, however, examined the merits of Appellant’s claims under the public interest exception to the mootness doctrine and concluded that the district court had the authority to issue the temporary order allowing visitation during the pendency of grandparent visitation proceedings. The Supreme Court affirmed on other grounds, holding that the district court’s order of temporary grandparent visitation did not affect a substantial right, and therefore, the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction over the case. View "Simms v. Friel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the orders of the district court making paternity and custody determinations concerning one child but declining to do so with respect to the other child at issue in this case, holding that Mother failed to comply with Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-520.02, and therefore, the district court lacked jurisdiction to enter the relief sought. Specifically, the district court found that Mother did not properly serve Appellee and that it lacked jurisdiction to establish paternity and award custody with respect to one child. The court also failed to find that it was in the children’s best interests to remain in the United States rather than return to Guatemala. Mother challenged these findings on appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that Mother did not comply with section 25-520.01, and therefore, her constructive service was improper and the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over Appellee. View "Francisco v. Gonzalez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court vacated all prior orders pertaining to custody or visitation of Child, holding that the district court properly determined that it did not have and never had subject matter jurisdiction to make custody determinations regarding Child. Father and Mother were married in the nation of Togo, Africa. After they divorced, Father filed a motion to modify the decree, alleging that Mother had taken Child to Togo and refused to return Child to Father. The district court awarded Father sole care, custody, and control of Child. Several years later, Mother filed a motion to vacate the custody decree as it pertained to child custody, arguing that the court never had subject matter jurisdiction to decide custody issues concerning Child. The district court agreed and granted the motion, concluding that Nebraska was not Child’s home state at the time custody proceedings were initiated for purposes of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1226 to 43-1266, and therefore, the court never had subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court never acquired subject matter jurisdiction of the custody of Child and, thus, any actions regarding Child's custody were void. View "DeLima v. Tsevi" on Justia Law

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