Articles Posted in Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decree dissolving the marriage of Jennifer Westwood and Cheryl Darnell and dividing their marital estate. After a trial, the district court awarded each party the personal property and automobile in her possession, her separate retirement account, and any bank accounts in her own name. Westwood was also ordered to make an equalization payment to Darnell. Westwood appealed, asserting three assignments of error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its division of the parties’ marital property. View "Westwood v. Darnell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court construing the meaning of provisions in a divorce decree and incorporated property settlement agreement (PSA) regarding payment of post-majority child support to require Father to pay post-majority child support if certain conditions were met and denying Father’s request to modify such support. The Court held (1) once a decree for dissolution becomes final, its meaning, including the settlement agreement incorporated therein, is determined as a matter of law from the four corners of the decree itself; (2) the district court did not err in finding that the terms of the decree and incorporated PSA were ambiguous or in construing the decree and incorporated PSA to require Father to pay post-majority child support under certain circumstances; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Father’s complaint to modify the decree. View "Carlson v. Carlson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In this case involving Father’s child, Fernando, support obligation to his son, the Supreme Court reversed in part the order of the district court recalculating Father’s child support obligation for Fernando. In 2016, Father filed a complaint for a downward modification of his child support obligation to Fernando, originally ordered at $388 per month in 2010. With no tax returns or financial documents in evidence, the district court concluded that Father had not shown a material change in circumstances warranting a reduction in his monthly child support obligation to Fernando. The court also determined that Father’s three “after-born” children could not be used to lower his child support obligation to Fernando. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) there was no error in the district court’s determination regarding taxes; but (2) the district court abused its discretion in basing its child support calculation on an incorrect understanding of the birth order of Father’s children relative to Fernando and Father’s support obligations as required by the 2010 order. View "State ex rel. Fernando L. v. Rogelio L." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In this case involving Father’s child, Fernando, support obligation to his son, the Supreme Court reversed in part the order of the district court recalculating Father’s child support obligation for Fernando. In 2016, Father filed a complaint for a downward modification of his child support obligation to Fernando, originally ordered at $388 per month in 2010. With no tax returns or financial documents in evidence, the district court concluded that Father had not shown a material change in circumstances warranting a reduction in his monthly child support obligation to Fernando. The court also determined that Father’s three “after-born” children could not be used to lower his child support obligation to Fernando. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) there was no error in the district court’s determination regarding taxes; but (2) the district court abused its discretion in basing its child support calculation on an incorrect understanding of the birth order of Father’s children relative to Fernando and Father’s support obligations as required by the 2010 order. View "State ex rel. Fernando L. v. Rogelio L." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In these two consolidated appeals stemming from marital dissolution proceedings, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ determination that a district court must state specific findings in order to set aside or modify a referee’s report authorized by chapter 25 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes as clearly against the weight of the evidence. The Court held that nothing in the plain language of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1131 requires explicit findings, and therefore, a district court may implicitly find that a referee’s findings are against the clear weight of the evidence. In the second appeal, the assigned errors flowing from contempt proceedings lacked merit, and therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Becher v. Becher" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the divorce decree issued by the district court, which differed from the court’s previously entered decree of legal separation and included an award of alimony and an award of attorney fees to Wife. After the district court issued a decree of legal separation, Husband filed a motion to amend the complaint from legal separation to dissolution of marriage. The district court filed a decree of dissolution that, among other things, awarded Wife alimony in an amount that equaled the health insurance costs which Husband had been paying under the decree of legal separation. In modifying the legal separation decree, the court determined that it would be necessary for Wife to show a change of circumstances in order to be entitled to an award of alimony in the divorce decree, which Wife had not done. Nonetheless, the district court awarded Wife alimony. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wife was not required to show a change of circumstances for purposes of good cause to modify the award of alimony awarded in the decree of legal separation, but any error by the court in its analysis was not prejudicial to Wife; and (2) the district court did not err in awarding Wife one-half of her attorney fees. View "Connolly v. Connolly" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the divorce decree issued by the district court, which differed from the court’s previously entered decree of legal separation and included an award of alimony and an award of attorney fees to Wife. After the district court issued a decree of legal separation, Husband filed a motion to amend the complaint from legal separation to dissolution of marriage. The district court filed a decree of dissolution that, among other things, awarded Wife alimony in an amount that equaled the health insurance costs which Husband had been paying under the decree of legal separation. In modifying the legal separation decree, the court determined that it would be necessary for Wife to show a change of circumstances in order to be entitled to an award of alimony in the divorce decree, which Wife had not done. Nonetheless, the district court awarded Wife alimony. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wife was not required to show a change of circumstances for purposes of good cause to modify the award of alimony awarded in the decree of legal separation, but any error by the court in its analysis was not prejudicial to Wife; and (2) the district court did not err in awarding Wife one-half of her attorney fees. View "Connolly v. Connolly" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dissolution decree entered by the district court dissolving the marriage of Father and Mother. On appeal, Father argued that the court erred in finding that he was the legal father of one of the children and in ordering him to pay child support for that child and two other children, pursuant to an order for support in a separate case. Specifically, Father argued that the court erred in not making an independent termination regarding child support and attaching a child support calculation worksheet to the decree. The Supreme Court rejected Father’s arguments, holding (1) the existing order of support was res judicata on the issue of Father’s paternity; (2) Father failed to elicit sufficient evidence to warrant a modification of the existing order of support; (3) because the court did not modify the existing order of support, it was not required to attach a worksheet to its decree; and (4) Father’s remaining arguments on appeal were without merit. View "Fetherkile v. Fetherkile" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dissolution decree entered by the district court dissolving the marriage of Father and Mother. On appeal, Father argued that the court erred in finding that he was the legal father of one of the children and in ordering him to pay child support for that child and two other children, pursuant to an order for support in a separate case. Specifically, Father argued that the court erred in not making an independent termination regarding child support and attaching a child support calculation worksheet to the decree. The Supreme Court rejected Father’s arguments, holding (1) the existing order of support was res judicata on the issue of Father’s paternity; (2) Father failed to elicit sufficient evidence to warrant a modification of the existing order of support; (3) because the court did not modify the existing order of support, it was not required to attach a worksheet to its decree; and (4) Father’s remaining arguments on appeal were without merit. View "Fetherkile v. Fetherkile" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction Appellant’s appeal from the denial of the portion of his complaint and associated motion asking the district court to declare void a dissolution decree that it had issued more than a year previously. Appellant filed a “complaint” under the same case number as the dissolution decree asserting that the decree was void by virtue of a motion to dismiss he filed prior to the entry of the decree. However, Appellant’s notice of appeal was from an April 4 order denying his requests for various temporary orders and retaining for decision his application to modify the custody provisions of the decree. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that it had no jurisdiction over the appeal because the April 4 ruling was not a final order. View "Tilson v. Tilson" on Justia Law