2006 Nebraska Revised Statutes - § 42-364 — Dissolution or legal separation; decree; parenting plan; children; custody determination; rights of parents; child support; termination of parental rights; court; duties; modification proceedings.

Section 42-364
Dissolution or legal separation; decree; parenting plan; children; custody determination; rights of parents; child support; termination of parental rights; court; duties; modification proceedings.
Section 42-364


(1) When dissolution of a marriage or legal separation is decreed, the court may include a parenting plan developed under the Parenting Act, if a parenting plan has been so developed, and such orders in relation to any minor child and the child's maintenance as are justified, including placing the minor child in the custody of the court or third parties or terminating parental rights pursuant to this section if the best interests of the minor child require such orders. Custody and time spent with each parent shall be determined on the basis of the best interests of the minor child with the objective of maintaining the ongoing involvement of both parents in the minor child's life. The social security number of each parent and the minor child shall be furnished to the clerk of the district court.

(2) In determining custody arrangements and the time to be spent with each parent, the court shall consider the best interests of the minor child which shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) The relationship of the minor child to each parent prior to the commencement of the action or any subsequent hearing;

(b) The desires and wishes of the minor child if of an age of comprehension regardless of chronological age, when such desires and wishes are based on sound reasoning;

(c) The general health, welfare, and social behavior of the minor child; and

(d) Credible evidence of abuse inflicted on any family or household member. For purposes of this subdivision, abuse and family or household member shall have the meanings prescribed in section 42-903.

(3) In determining custody arrangements and the time to be spent with each parent, the court shall not give preference to either parent based on the sex of the parent and no presumption shall exist that either parent is more fit or suitable than the other.

(4) Regardless of the custody determination of the court, (a) each parent shall continue to have full and equal access to the education and medical records of his or her child unless the court orders to the contrary and (b) either parent may make emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of his or her child while the child is in the physical custody of such parent pursuant to a visitation order entered by the court.

(5) After a hearing in open court, the court may place the custody of a minor child with both parents on a shared or joint custody basis when both parents agree to such an arrangement. In that event, each parent shall have equal rights to make decisions in the best interests of the minor child in his or her custody. The court may place a minor child in joint custody after conducting a hearing in open court and specifically finding that joint custody is in the best interests of the minor child regardless of any parental agreement or consent.

(6) In determining the amount of child support to be paid by a parent, the court shall consider the earning capacity of each parent and the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court pursuant to section 42-364.16 for the establishment of child support obligations. Upon application, hearing, and presentation of evidence of an abusive disregard of the use of child support money paid by one party to the other, the court may require the party receiving such payment to file a verified report with the court, as often as the court requires, stating the manner in which such money is used. Child support paid to the party having custody of the minor child shall be the property of such party except as provided in section 43-512.07. The clerk of the district court shall maintain a record, separate from all other judgment dockets, of all decrees and orders in which the payment of child support or spousal support has been ordered, whether ordered by a district court, county court, separate juvenile court, or county court sitting as a juvenile court. Orders for child support in cases in which a party has applied for services under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, shall be reviewed as provided in sections 43-512.12 to 43-512.18.

(7) Whenever termination of parental rights is placed in issue by the pleadings or evidence, the court shall transfer jurisdiction to a juvenile court established pursuant to the Nebraska Juvenile Code unless a showing is made that the county court or district court is a more appropriate forum. In making such determination, the court may consider such factors as cost to the parties, undue delay, congestion of dockets, and relative resources available for investigative and supervisory assistance. A determination that the county court or district court is a more appropriate forum shall not be a final order for the purpose of enabling an appeal. If no such transfer is made, the court shall appoint an attorney as guardian ad litem to protect the interests of any minor child. The court may terminate the parental rights of one or both parents after notice and hearing when the court finds such action to be in the best interests of the minor child and it appears by the evidence that one or more of the following conditions exist:

(a) The minor child has been abandoned by one or both parents;

(b) One parent has or both parents have substantially and continuously or repeatedly neglected the minor child and refused to give such minor child necessary parental care and protection;

(c) One parent is or both parents are unfit by reason of debauchery, habitual use of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs, illegal possession or sale of illegal substances, or repeated lewd and lascivious behavior, which conduct is found by the court to be seriously detrimental to the health, morals, or well-being of the minor child; or

(d) One parent is or both parents are unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness or mental deficiency and there are reasonable grounds to believe that such condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period.

(8) Whenever termination of parental rights is placed in issue, the court shall inform a parent who does not have legal counsel of the parent's right to retain counsel and of the parent's right to retain legal counsel at county expense if such parent is unable to afford legal counsel. If such parent is unable to afford legal counsel and requests the court to appoint legal counsel, the court shall immediately appoint an attorney to represent the parent in the termination proceedings. The court shall order the county to pay the attorney's fees and all reasonable expenses incurred by the attorney in protecting the rights of the parent. At such hearing, the guardian ad litem shall take all action necessary to protect the interests of the minor child. The court shall fix the fees and expenses of the guardian ad litem and tax the same as costs but may order the county to pay on finding the responsible party indigent and unable to pay.

(9) Modification proceedings relating to support, custody, visitation, or removal of children from the jurisdiction of the court shall be commenced by filing a complaint to modify. Modification of a parenting plan is governed by the Parenting Act. Proceedings to modify a parenting plan shall be commenced by filing a complaint to modify. Service of process and other procedure shall comply with the requirements for a dissolution action.


Cross References:
    Nebraska Juvenile Code, see section 43-2,129.

    Parenting Act, see section 43-2901.

    Violation of custody, penalty, see section 28-316.

Source:
    Laws 1983, LB 138, § 1

    Laws 1985, LB 612, § 1

    Laws 1985, Second Spec. Sess., LB 7, § 16

    Laws 1991, LB 457, § 3

    Laws 1991, LB 715, § 1

    Laws 1993, LB 629, § 21

    Laws 1994, LB 490, § 1

    Laws 1996, LB 1296, § 15

    Laws 1997, LB 752, § 96

    Laws 2004, LB 1207, § 25

    Laws 2006, LB 1113, § 35.



~ Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2006

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