Nebraska Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
The State of Nebraska has specific laws pertaining to child custody and visitation that you should keep in mind when creating a child visitation schedule. If you understand the laws, you will have a better idea of what to expect from the court and what the court expects from you.
The Nebraska Parenting Act serves as a guide and "handbook" to custody cases in the State. It is comprised of Sections 43-2920 to 43-2943 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.
Nebraska law requires a parenting plan be submitted for the court to review. The Nebraska Parenting Act explains the required components of the parenting plan with a major one being the "child visitation schedule".
It is important to create a child visitation schedule properly and in accordance with the law if you want to have a successful outcome in your case.
Before making a custody schedule, you first need to decide where your child will live. This decision impacts how you create the rest of your schedule because it directly influences how the parenting time is set up.
Chapter 42-364 has some guidelines about the child's residence that you need to be aware of:
- Parents should determine physical custody based on what is best for the child.
- In determining physical custody, the court does not give preference to either parent based on the sex of the parent and there is no presumption that either parent is a more fit or suitable custodian than the other.
- Parents can agree to a joint physical custody arrangement where the child spends time residing with each parent.
- Even if parents do not agree on joint physical custody, the court can grant it after a hearing in open court determines that it is best for the child.
- A parent's status as the primary caretaker is an important factor to be considered when determining custody of the child.
The best way to ensure the needs of your child are being met is to create a comprehensive, organized, well contemplated child visitation schedule that will offer your child the optimal amount of time with both parents.
The best way to do this is by working with the other parent to negotiate a schedule. A good place to start is to examining each of your respective schedules and then delegate parenting time in a way the benefits your child the most.
Divorce can be a stressful and volatile time. Sometimes it is not possible to work in cooperation with the other parent without help.
In that case, you may have to go to a court conciliation program or attend private mediation in order to create the child visitation schedule.
If you have tried everything and all resources have failed and you are still unable to agree upon a schedule, the court will develop the schedule for you. This may or may not be what is actually best for your child, since the court lacks the intimate knowledge of your child that you and the other parent possess.
When creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Nebraska, there are some elements the law requires to be included (NRS § 43-2929):
- A residential schedule that specifies the location of the child during the week, weekend, and any given days in a year
- A holiday schedule to designate the dates and times of all holidays and special days, so that the child may spend special occasions with the parents in an equitable manner
- A vacation schedule or method for determining a vacation schedule to allow the child extended time with the parents during school breaks and personal vacation times
In addition to the schedules, you can also include rules that will help your custody schedule work better.
For example, you may find it helpful for your situation to figure out the process for exchanges for visitation, to have a way to resolve disputes about the schedule, to have a process for making changes to the schedule, etc.
By including these specifics into your plan and schedule, you will be able to customize a plan for your child.
The Nebraska Parenting Act stipulates that all decisions regarding a child be made with the child's best interests as the main factor (NRS § 43-2923).
The court will consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- The relationships the child has with each parent
- The moral fitness of each parent, including the parent's sexual conduct
- The respective environments offered by each parent
- The age, sex, and health of the child and parents
- The effect on the child as a result of disrupting or continuing an existing situation or relationship
- The attitude and stability of each parent's character
- The parental capacity to provide the child with physical care and satisfy educational needs
- The wishes of the child
- The child's welfare
- Whether or not abuse has occurred
If there are circumstances that would prove to be detrimental to a child, such as evidence of neglect or abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, criminal activity, etc., the court will make every effort to protect the child.
However, in the absence of these situations, the court acknowledges that the child will benefit from a safe, stable, nurturing environment and regular contact with both parents.
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.