Nebraska Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements

How do I make my Nebraska parenting plan / child custody agreement?

You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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What should I know before creating my Nebraska parenting plan?

Are you required to make a custody agreement or parenting plan in Nebraska? What should your plan contain? How does the court decide which agreement to accept?

These are just some of the questions that you probably have if you are beginning the process of creating a custody agreement or parenting plan in Nebraska.

Fortunately, you can find a lot of answers in the laws about custody and this can help you as you create the best agreement for your child and you.

Where can I find the laws that pertain to child custody in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Revised Statutes contains specific information pertaining to child custody and parenting plans.

The Nebraska Parenting Act, (found in Sections 43-2920 to 43-2943 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes), may be utilized in a manner that will enable you to create a comprehensive parenting plan that complies with the law and the requirements of the court while successfully serving the needs of your child.

You will find some of the most relevant information in the paragraphs below. These principles in the law should help you decide the legal custody and physical custody arrangements in your parenting plan / custody agreement.

In Nebraska, am I required to make a parenting plan?

Yes. Parents in Nebraska are required to develop a parenting plan (this is another word for custody agreement, but Nebraska uses the term "parenting plan") that shows the plan for physical and legal custody of the child.

The State of Nebraska finds that it is in the best interest of a child for the child's parents to submit a parenting plan that specifies parental responsibilities and functions (custody) pertaining to the child (NRS § 43-2921).

In Nebraska, what are the objectives of a parenting plan?

A parenting plan in the State of Nebraska shall (NRS § 43-2929):

  • Help develop a functional, restructured family to best serve the interests of the child.
  • Determine the legal and physical custody of the child.
  • Contain a child visitation schedule that specifies when the child will be in the custody of each parent during the course of the week/month/year
  • Contain a transition plan that specifies the method of exchanging the child, including transportation, and specifying the amount of contact and communication the parents shall have with each other during the transfers.
  • Have procedures for the decision-making regarding the child's day-to-day care that is consistent with the decisions of the parent or parents that have legal custody of the child.
  • Have provisions for mediation in order to modify the parenting plan in the future.
  • Have provisions to maximize the safety of the child and each parent.
  • Contain provisions to ensure a school-age child will continue to attend and progress in school.
  • Have provisions for the safety of the child should any evidence of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental conflict, criminal activity, or any situation that would be harmful to the child is brought forth.
  • Have a requirement that both parents notify each other of any address changes, unless there are safety concerns.
  • Contain measures the parents may utilize to discuss the decisions regarding the child's education, medical care, religious upbringing, and other major decisions in the child's life, provided there are no circumstances that would endanger the child or either parent by doing so.

What does the court consider when determining the child's best interests?

When the court determines the custody arrangements, it will do so based on what is best for the child. Some of the factors that the court will look at when deciding what is best are:

  • The relationship of the child to each parent
  • The general health, welfare, and social behavior of the child
  • The moral fitness of the parents, including their sexual conduct
  • The respective environment that each parent offers the child
  • The emotional relationship between the child and the parents
  • The age, sex, and health of the child and parents
  • The effect on the child of continuing or disrupting an existing relationship or environment
  • The attitude and stability of each parent's character
  • The capacity of each parent to provide physical care and to satisfy the needs of the child

You should also consider these factors as you make your agreement, especially if you are preparing an individually proposed plan to show the court.

If you can explain to the court why your plan is the best for the child and use the factors above to show why your plan is the best, you have a good chance of the court accepting your plan.

In Nebraska, what happens after I submit my parenting plan to the court?

After your parenting plan has been submitted, the court will evaluate your plan to ensure you are able to maintain communication with each other and raise the child in a cooperative manner. The court will also check to make sure your parenting plan is beneficial to your child and meets his or her needs.

If you have submitted your parenting plan in cooperation with the other parent, the court should approve it once it has been reviewed and has been determined to be satisfactory. This is the court's preferred method of parenting plan submission.

If you were unable to reach an agreement with the other parent after exhausting all available resources, such as attending mediation or private counseling, and you instead submitted a proposed parenting plan on your own, the judge will review each of your parenting plans and consider them when making a decision.

Once your parenting plan has been approved (or assigned) it will become a court ordered document that you will be legally obligated to follow.

The top twelve cities in Nebraska (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings, Fremont, North Platte, Papillion, Norfolk, Columbus, La Vista.

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