Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Family Law
Radmanesh v. Radmanesh
The Supreme Court affirmed the decree of dissolution in this case, holding that the district court did not err in awarding Wife alimony and an equalization payment and in equally dividing student loans for the parties' children.After the district court entered its judgment Husband timely filed a motion to alter the judgment or alternatively, for a new trial, arguing that the district court erred in awarding Wife alimony, awarding Wife a $53,200 equalization payment, and classifying the student loans incurred for the parties' adult children as marital debt subject to equal division. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the alimony award was not unreasonable; (2) the equalization payment was not an abuse of discretion; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in classifying the student loans incurred for the parties' children as marital debt that was to be equally divided between the parties. View "Radmanesh v. Radmanesh" on Justia Law
Hernandez v. Dorantes
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court awarding Mother sole legal and physical custody of the parties' minor child and making some of Mother's requested findings to support an application to obtain special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status for the child under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, holding that there was no abuse of discretion.Mother and Father were married in Mexico and had one child, Max. The parties later moved to Nebraska, where they separated. Mother filed a complaint for dissolution, requesting sole legal and physical custody of Max. The district court dissolved the marriage and awarded Mother custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by refusing to make all the SIJ findings that Mother requested; and (2) Mother's second assignment of error was without merit. View "Hernandez v. Dorantes" on Justia Law
Karas v. Karas
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court granting Wife's motion to alter or amend after granting Husband's motion to alter or amend a stipulated decree of dissolution of marriage based upon a written agreement between the parties, holding that Husband was not entitled to relief on his allegations of error.Inaccurate information during settlement negotiations ultimately resulted in the failure of a portion of the stipulated decree of dissolution. Therefore, the district court granted Husband's motion to alter or amend, vacating portions of the stipulated decree concerning spousal support and division of property and the court's equitable division of property calculation. Wife subsequently moved to alter or amend the judgment, which the court granted, recalculating the division of property and limiting the alimony award to fifteen years. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by limiting the alimony award to fifteen years or in classifying and dividing the marital estate. View "Karas v. Karas" on Justia Law
In re Denzel D.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that terminating Father's parental rights was not in reversing best interests and reversed the juvenile court's order terminating Father's parental right's to Child, holding that terminating Father's parental rights was not in Child's best interests.The county court, sitting as a juvenile court, terminated Father's parental rights and declined to impose a guardianship for Child. The court of appeals reversed the termination order and also vacated the order regarding the guardianship. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) the State and the guardian ad litem did not present clear and convincing evidence that terminating Father's parental rights was in Child's best interests; and (2) to the extent the court of appeals' opinion suggested that the juvenile court should place Child with his eternal grandmother as guardian, this Court disapproved of that suggestion and modified the opinion accordingly. View "In re Denzel D." on Justia Law
In re Estate of Wiggins
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the county court in favor of the decedent's brother in this estate case, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the county court erred.Jordon R. Wiggins died, leaving two minor children and an ex-wife. In response to a claim against the estate regarding life insurance coverage that Wiggins was required under the divorce decree to maintain for the children's benefit, Wiggins's ex-wife, as guardian and next friend of the minor children, his brother, and his father, as personal representative of Wiggins's estate, entered into a settlement agreement. Thereafter, the parties jointly filed a petition for a declaration of their rights and obligations under the agreement. The county court ruled in favor of the brother, and the ex-wife appealed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the cause with directions for the county court to rescind the agreement and conduct further proceedings, holding that a mutual mistake as to the existence of a fact that was a material inducement to the contract is not ground for reformation, although it may be ground for rescission. View "In re Estate of Wiggins" on Justia Law
Parish v. Parish
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's motion to modify alimony for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that the district court had jurisdiction to consider the motion to modify alimony.The parties in this case were divorced by consent decree that awarded Appellant alimony that could be modified if Appellee accepted a veteran's disability pension. Appellant later filed her complaint for modification alleging a material and substantial change in circumstances. The district court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because it believed it was being asked to divide Appellee's veteran's disability benefits, an action that was preempted by federal law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court was merely being asked to consider modifying alimony based on a reduction in Appellant's nondisability pension he shared with Appellee, and the district court had jurisdiction to consider this request. View "Parish v. Parish" on Justia Law
Paxton v. Paxton
The Supreme Court dismissed these appeals involving a settlement regarding the distribution of the decedent's estate for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that the lower court's order was not final and appealable.After the decedent died, his widow retained an undivided one-half interest in land holds, and the other one-half interest went into a trust. One of the three children brought three separate actions against two of the three children and the widow, and the parties signed a mediated settlement memorandum. Thereafter, Plaintiff successfully moved in all three cases for the court to enforce the settlement memorandum the court issued an order finding the settlement memorandum to be valid and enforceable. Defendants appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the order being appealed from was not a final judgment because it did not dispose fully of the underlying cases, which remained pending below. View "Paxton v. Paxton" on Justia Law
In re Manuel C.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court denying the motion to intervene filed by Red Lack Tribe of Chippewa Indians in this termination of parental rights matter, holding that there was no error.After the juvenile court granted the State's motion to adjudicate Children as minors for purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a) the State sought certification. The Tribe sought intervention, but the State argued against intervention because Children were not Indian children for purposes of ICWA. The juvenile court granted intervention but then vacated its order granting the Tribe's motion to intervene. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Children were not currently Indian children for purposes of ICWA, and the juvenile court did not err in denying the Tribe's motion to intervene. View "In re Manuel C." on Justia Law
Benjamin S. v. Crystal S.
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court terminating Mother's parental rights, holding that the record did not contain clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children's best interests.After Mother and Father, the parents of three children, were divorced, Father received full legal and physical custody of the children. Mother later filed a complaint for modification of custody or parenting plan, alleging that Father had not complied with the divorce decree. Father filed a responsive pleading requesting termination of Mother's parental rights. The trial court found that, as to all three children, Father presented sufficient evidence to support three of the alleged statutory grounds for termination and that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the children. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was not clear and convincing evidence that terminating Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the children. View "Benjamin S. v. Crystal S." on Justia Law
Parde v. Parde
The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the decision of the court of appeals applying the active appreciation rule to agricultural land in a marital property division, holding that the rule applies to such land.After the district court divided the marital estate Wife appealed, challenging the district court's classification, valuation, and division of the marital estate. The court of appeals reversed the district court's determinations regarding five parcels of land, determining that the active appreciation rule applies to farmland. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) the court of appeals properly applied the active appreciation rule to agricultural land; and (2) the court of appeals' decision is modified to decrease the marital value of one parcel by $20,000. View "Parde v. Parde" on Justia Law