Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Family Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court that denied Christina C.'s application to modify child custody of her daughter, Daphnie F., holding that the district court's order did not follow the framework set forth in State on behalf of Tina K. v. Adam B., 948 N.W.2d 182 (Neb. 2020).Pursuant to a Colorado custody order, Daphnie was placed in the permanent custody of her paternal grandparents. Christina filed a motion to modify, arguing that she was a fit biological parent who had a right to custody of her child that was superior to that of the child's grandparents standing in loco parentis. The district court denied Christina's motion for new trial. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court's findings and reasoning were not sufficient under the correct standard set forth in State on behalf of Tina K. View "State ex rel. Daphnie F. v. Christina C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court modifying the decree dissolving the marriage of Matthew Keiser and Krystal Keiser, holding that there was no abuse of discretion.In 2018, a decree dissolved the parties' marriage and awarded the parties joint legal and physical custody of their four children. The court also ordered Matthew to pay child support of $2,000 per month. Eight months later, both parties sought to modify the decree, with Father seeking a reduction in child support and Mother seeking an increase. The court found a material change in circumstances regarding custody because Krystal now had sole physical custody of two of the children and ordered Matthew to pay child support of $2,873 per month. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining Matthew's income for child support purposes and that Matthew invited any error in the court's methodology to calculate child support. View "Keiser v. Keiser" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the marital dissolution decree entered by the district court in this case, holding that the court's ultimate division was reasonable and fair.In the marital dissolution decree dissolving the marriage of Marcia Kauk and Randall Kauk, the district court divided the property and awarded Randall the marital homestead acreage. Marcia appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by failing to include certain contracts or payments in the marital estate, classifying four payments as payments of marital debts in valuing marital assets, and awarding the marital acreage to Randall. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its marital asset determinations and in awarding Randall the marital acreage. View "Kauk v. Kauk" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court modifying the decree dissolving the marriage of Donald and Linda Eis, awarding Linda an increased equalization payment of $176,462, holding that there was no error.The district court's decree dissolved the marriage of the parties and divided their real and personal property. Linda later filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment and for a new trial. The district court entered a modified decree, awarding Linda an increased equalization payment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Donald's assignments of error were without merit. View "Eis v. Eis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court entering a decree dissolving the marriage of Steve Vanderveer and Joy Vanderveer, dividing their marital estate, awarding alimony to Joy, and deciding issues of custody, child support, and parenting time, holding that the court erred in part.In 2019, Joy filed a complaint for dissolution of her marriage to Steve, with whom she shared two children. After the court entered its dissolution decree both parties moved to alter or amend the decree. The court generally overruled the motions but did modify Steve's parenting time to better accommodate his work schedule. Both parties appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the decree only as it pertained to the calculation of child support and alimony and otherwise affirmed, holding that the lower court's calculation was erroneous, but in all other respects, the judgment was affirmed. View "Vanderveer v. Vanderveer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Father's motion to modify the custody and parenting time arrangements between the parties, holding that the district court neither abused its discretion in denying the requested modification or in allowing grandparent visitation.The district court previously modified the custody and parenting time provisions in the parties' dissolution decree upon finding that Mother was not properly caring for the parties' child and was using controlled substances. The order of modification granted custody to Father and required Mother's parenting time to be supervised by her parents. The next year, Father moved to modify the order yet again, requesting that Mother's supervised parenting time be indefinitely suspended due to her continued substance abuse. The district court denied the modification and, in a separate order, granted the maternal grandparents' complaint for grandparent visitation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Father's complaint to modify; and (2) the grandparent visitation order was not an abuse of discretion. View "Lindblad v. Lindblad" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court denying the State's petition to terminate Mother's parental rights, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the State fell short of carrying its heavy burden for termination.In support of its petition to terminate Mother's parental rights, the State alleged four grounds for termination based on one proven instance of neglect, Mother's actions in escaping an abusive boyfriend and obtaining work to support her children, and the children's out-of-home placement following Mother's arrest. The juvenile court denied termination, concluding that the State failed clearly and convincingly to show that there was a statutory basis for termination or that termination was in the best interests of the children. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the State failed to meet its heavy burden to clearly and convincingly proving Mother's unfitness or that termination of her parental rights was in her children's best interests. View "In re Interest of Mateo L." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court dismissed the State's appeal from a juvenile court order dismissing a supplemental petition filed after the court terminated a guardianship over which the court had expressly retained jurisdiction, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction.On appeal, the State argued that Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(8) required it to file a supplemental - or second - petition after the guardianship was terminated in order to reinstate the juvenile court's jurisdiction over the children. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the juvenile court's dismissal of the second petition had no effect on the State's ability to continue to assert its rights under its original petition; (2) the juvenile court retained jurisdiction over the children; and (3) because the State's substantial rights in the proceedings were not substantially affected by the court's dismissal of the second petition, this Court lacked appellate jurisdiction. View "In re Interest of Mekhi S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the conclusion of the Buffalo County Court that the Phelps County Court lacked jurisdiction to transfer this case to Buffalo County and dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Jodi Ronhovde and Austin Peterson were in a sexual relationship before Jodi gave birth to a child. Jodi subsequently married and joined her husband in seeking a stepparent adoption. The complaint was filed in the Phelps County Court, and Jodi identified Austin as the child's biological father. Austin then motioned for a change of venue to Buffalo County, which the Phelps County Court granted. Jodi filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Phelps County Court never had jurisdiction and, therefore, could not have transferred the case. The Buffalo County Court agreed. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the language of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-104.05(4)(a) did not confer jurisdiction; and (2) the court of appeals did not err in reversing the dismissal of Austin's complaint by the Buffalo County Court. View "Peterson v. Jacobitz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the denial of Father's motion for an order to show cause based on Mother's relocation of the parties' minor child, holding that the district court abused its discretion in denying Father's motion.The decree of dissolution dissolving the parties' marriage awarded the parties joint legal and physical custody of the minor child. Two years later, Mother moved with the child from Burwell to Springfield. Father filed a motion for order to show cause and a motion for writ of assistance, requesting the court to direct law enforcement to take custody of the child and deliver the child to him. The district court denied Father's motions, finding the parties' parenting plan did not require the child to attend school in Burwell rather than Springfield. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Mother's unilateral decision to relocate the child ran contrary to the parties' custody arrangement and deprived Father of court-ordered parenting time; and (2) therefore, the district court abused its discretion by denying Father's motion for an order to show cause. View "Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law