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Pro Se Assistance in Simple Divorce: Filing For Divorce in Nebraska

Instructions and Forms

No Children - No Disputed Property (What You Need to Know)

A divorce an be complicated. It is up to you to decide whether and how you use a lawyer in your divorce. The law allows you to conduct your divorce by yourself, also known as proceeding pro se. This packet of forms and instructions is intended for divorce cases where there are no children and all property has already been divided and the parties will each pay the debts that they have incurred.

Facts About Filing for a Divorce in Nebraska

  • In Nebraska, you or your spouse must be a resident of Nebraska for at least one year before filing your Petition for Dissolution with the court. The one exception is when you have been married less than one year, but have lived in Nebraska for the entire time of the marriage.
  • You start the legal process by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where you or your spouse reside.
  • The cost of filing a Petition for Dissolution if $158.00. Once you file you will be given a case number for your case. This number must be on all documents filed with the court.
  • If you are filing for divorce without an attorney you must complete all the forms necessary. The clerk of the court cannot assist you in preparing any legal documents, or advise you of the process. Who is to answer questions?

Forms and Filing

  • This packet contains the following forms: Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Vital Statistics Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage, Voluntary Appearance, Praecipe for Summons, Notice of Hearing, and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
  • The first document you must give the court is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is only the beginning, and you will not be divorced until a judge signs a decree of dissolution of marriage. You must pay a filing fee at the time of filing your Petition. The filing fee for a divorce is currently $158.00. If you are unable to pay the filing fee and you have a low income, you may obtain permission from the court to have the fees waived. See the packet entitled Proceeding without Payment of Fees.
  • When you file your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the Court, you must also file the fully completed Vital Statistics Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment. If there is information requested on this form for which you do not know the answer, put "unknown" in that box on the form.
  • After the petition is filed, a case number will be assigned, and usually the name of the judge who will be hearing your case.
  • After filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, your spouse must receive formal notice, often called "service," that you are asking for a divorce, and proof of that must be filed with the court.  This can be done one of the following ways:Your spouse has 30 days to file a response with the court from the time they were served.
    • Your spouse may accept service by signing a Voluntary Appearance, the original of which must then be filed with the court.
    • You may file a Praecipe for Summons with the court and have the Sheriff in the county where your spouse lives serve the Summons and copy of the Petition for Dissolution on your spouse (If you are filing In Forma Pauperis, you should also attach a copy of the Order to Proceed In Forma Pauperis with your Praecipe so that the county will be billed for this service). If you cannot obtain a Voluntary Appearance from your spouse nor have your spouse served by the sheriff, you may obtain permission from the court to have your spouse served by publication, which you accomplish by a motion for Alternative Service. See packet entitled Substitute Service.
      • If your spouse is living or working in the county where the divorce is filed, the sheriff will pick up the summons and Petition and serve it upon your spouse at the address given on the Praecipe.
      • If your spouse lives in another county, or in another state, you are expected to return to the clerk and pick up the summons and Petition and send it to the sheriff in the county where your spouse is to be served. Generally the clerk will provide you with the name and address of the sheriff's department in that county. You will need to call that sheriff's department to discuss with them the payment of the cost of the service, as most expect payment up front. Once the sheriff serves your spouse, or determines that your spouse cannot be served, the sheriff will return the documents to you with what is known as a return of service. This return of service will indicate whether or not your spouse has been served. You must then file that paperwork with the clerk so that the court has a record of whether or not your spouse was served. 
  • You must wait at least 60 days from the time your spouse is served before you can have a hearing before the judge on your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If you have any question about the date your spouse was served, you should contact the clerk to find that date.
  • You must contact the bailiff for the judge assigned to your case to schedule your hearing.

NOTE: A lot of counties do not have “full-time” bailiffs, so this sentence should state to contact the bailiff or clerk of district court.

  • Once you have been given a final hearing date you must prepare a Notice of Hearing and file the original with the court and send a copy to your spouse (unless your spouse was served by publication, in which case you need not do anything).
  • You must attend the hearing and testify under oath about the issues raised in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You must also prepare a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and bring it and a copy to the hearing. A sample of the testimony to be given is included in this packet and entitled "Your Divorce Hearing."
  • Once you attend the hearing and testify the court will determine if you will be granted a divorce and if the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage that you prepared is sufficient. If the judge signs the decree, the divorce will not be final for 30 days, and you may not marry any one anywhere in the world for six months from the filing of the signed decree with the clerk of the District Court.

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