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Co-Parenting in Nebraska: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Nebraska Custody, Decision Making, and Parenting Plans

In Nebraska, the terms “custody” and “guardianship” refer to the legal and physical control of a person’s wellbeing and actions, and these terms are used frequently in regards to children. Nebraska law suggests a strong preference for both parents to have joint legal custody, although the court may choose to give exclusive custody to one parent if appropriate (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364). It is also important to note that if the court determines the other parent to be unfit, the court can still make orders related to that parent’s access to the child (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364(3)). In Nebraska, the court may make a decision to award sole physical custody to one parent and parental rights to another, making it necessary for these two parents to participate in co-parenting. This decision is determined based on a series of factors evaluated on a case by case basis. The main guiding principle of this decision should be the best interests of the child (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364).


Any custodial arrangement should be decided upon by the parents. If the parents cannot come to a viable agreement, the court will make a final decision. Custody agreements should include the amounts and types of visitation, medical care and insurance, education, and vacation preferences, legal decision making, and so forth. In determining these details, Nebraska courts will refer to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act as well as the signed co-parenting agreement (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364(4)). Parents can also opt to complete a Nebraska parenting plan or parenting time agreement if it is signed by the court. Such child custody agreements can help make communication and understanding between the parents much easier.


Nebraska Child Support Guidelines

Nebraska requires both parents to pay child support according to the state’s child support guidelines. Nebraska law states that child support should be calculated based on the incomes and financial resources of both parents, the needs of the child, the cost of health insurance, any educational or special needs of the child, any fees of the mediator, and number of children (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364.01). Child support guidelines vary among states and counties, so it is important to be aware of the specifics applicable in Nebraska.


If parents are able to come to an agreement regarding the division of these expenses, the court may enter a binding agreement that is included in the overall parenting plan, so long as the agreement does not unsatisfactorily address the financial needs of the minor child or children. If the parents cannot reach a viable decision, or if a proposed agreement is declared to be below the financial requirements of an individual child, the court can apply the guidelines to provide a solution and ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the child is met.


Mediation in Nebraska

Nebraska family courts strongly encourage parents to use mediation to work out any child custody issues, as this can be a significantly more affordable and less time consuming path than going through the court. Mediation is a process wherein a neutral third party assists parents in drafting a parenting agreement or plan whereby all parties involved must agree upon. This process can benefit both parents and children in the long run, as it yields more control, privacy, and a much better chance of an effective agreement compared to the court made decisions.


Although Nebraska family courts suggest mediation, they understand that co-parenting has the potential to be difficult and may not be possible in some cases. If parents fail to reach an agreement, the court will resolve any disputes. If either party believes that the court order must be modified, they may petition the court for modification. Additionally, parents should keep in mind that all child support owed must remain in force, even if the court has ordered a modification or agreed to a change of custody arrangements.


Nebraska Visitation Rights

Nebraska law states that any arrangement for visitation must be “in the best interests of the minor child” and must take into account the parents’ geographical distance from each other and the ease with which visitation can be accomplished (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364). Visitation rights will vary based upon the parents’ specific situation and depending on the geographic distances of the parents. An order of visitation must always be made in writing and made part of the court order. Of course, visits can be shared between parents if both parents continually comply with the order.


Nebraska Parental Rights

Under Nebraska law, both parents have equal rights when it comes to making decisions regarding the child’s wellbeing. These rights include decisions relating to the child’s education, healthcare, religious education, and extracurricular activities (Neb.Rev.Stat. § 42-364). Parents who share joint legal custody must make joint decisions in an effort to mutually benefit the child. However, the court may award one parent exclusive final decision-making authority if an individual parent is deemed to be ill-equipped to make decisions regarding the wellbeing of the child.


If parents are able to come to an agreement regarding the division of decision-making rights, the court may enter a binding agreement that is included in the overall parenting plan. If the parents cannot reach a viable decision, or if a proposed agreement irrationally limits the authority of one of the parents, the court can modify the decision-making rights of any parent as it sees fit.



Co-parenting can be complicated, especially in Nebraska where laws may sometimes be complicated. It is important to remember that child custody, child support, parental rights, decision-making, and other aspects of co-parenting can vary based on the situation. Understanding the applicable laws and being aware of the different options that may be available is essential to ensure that any necessary decisions are made in the best interests of the minor child or children.


Fact Check and Resources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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