Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying Ariana Bernal Sabino's request for in forma paupers status on appeal from the district court's entry of a decree dissolving her marriage to Juan Carlos Genchi Ozuna, holding that the district court erred in denying Sabino's request to proceed in forma paupers in her appeal from the divorce decree. The district court dissolved the parties' marriage in this case but denied Sabino's petition for findings of fact regarding the abuse, abandonment, and neglect of her children by Ozuna. Sabino filed a motion to appeal accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. The district court denied the motion, finding that Sabino was not destitute or not in the condition that she could not pay the appeal expenses. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2301.02, Sabino lacked sufficient funds to pay costs, fee, or security. View "Sabino v. Ozuna" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the domestic abuse protection order obtained by Robert M. on behalf of Bella O., holding that the trial court did not err in determining that Bella was a victim of abuse within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-903. Robert and Danielle O. were the parents of Bella. Robert filed a petition and affidavit to obtain a domestic abuse protection order for Bella against Danielle under Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-924. Robert's affidavit stated that Danielle physically attacked two other family members while Bella was present. Danielle, however, did not attack Bella. The trial court determined that Danielle's conduct put Bella in fear of bodily injury by means of a credible threat and thus constituted domestic abuse under section 42-903(1)(b). The Supreme Court affirmed, although its reasoning differed from that of the trial court, holding that Bella did to have to be the target or recipient of a threat in order to be a victim thereof and that Bella was entitled to a protection order under the circumstances of this case. View "Robert M. v. Danielle O." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the juvenile court purporting to transfer a modification proceeding back to the district court, holding that the order was beyond the juvenile court's statutory authority and void. Trevor W. commenced this modification proceeding in the district court. Christine W. counterclaimed seeking to terminate Trevor's parental rights. Christine obtained an order transferring the proceeding to the county court, sitting as a juvenile court. The juvenile court denied the transfer and purportedly returned the proceeding to district court. The Supreme Court vacated the order and remanded the cause to the juvenile court for further proceedings, holding that the juvenile court acted beyond its statutory authority and that its order was void. View "Christine W. v. Trevor W." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court appointing counsel at public expense for an indigent individual who had signed a notarized acknowledgment of paternity under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1408.01 but who, in response to the State's suit for child support, challenged the acknowledgment of paternity under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1409 on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, holding that such appointment was required by due process. The State filed a child support action against Julio G. and on behalf of Mia G., a minor child, and attached Julio's signed notarized acknowledgement of paternity to its complaint. Thereafter, Julio challenged the acknowledgment of paternity under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1409, claiming a material mistake of fact. It was then established that Julio was indigent, and the district court appointed counsel for Julio at public expense. The district court found that Julio was the biological father of Mia and ordered child support. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined that paternity was at issue in the case and that Julio, who was indigent, was entitled to court-appointed counsel. View "State ex rel. Mia G. v. Julio G." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court for Seward County denying the request sought by Jami Hollomon, the mother of a minor child, seeking to register an order by the State of Texas adjudicating parentage and establishing a parenting plan for the child, holding that the district court abused its discretion in denying Hollomon's request to register the Texas order in Nebraska. In its order, the State of Texas adjudicated parentage and established a parenting plan as between Hollomon and Alex Taylor, the unmarried parents of the child. The district court denied Hollomon's request to confirm and register the order in Nebraska, concluding that it should decline jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1226 to 43-1266. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Texas order may be registered in Nebraska; and (2) concerns about whether the district court for Seward County may exercise jurisdiction over the child custody proceeding were not yet implicated. View "Hollomon v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decree dissolving Appellant's marriage to Appellee, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the valuation dates for the marital assets and in classifying, valuing, and dividing the marital estate. On appeal, Appellant challenged the division of property, asserting that all assets must be valued using a single date and that a coverture formula was required to establish the premarital value of a business. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) using a single date to value all assets would imagine upon the discretion necessary to equitably divide a marital estate, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in valuing marital assets on dates that rationally related to the property being divided; and (2) the coverture formula depends upon speculation and assumptions generally inconsistent with such valuations, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to apply that method. View "Rohde v. Rohde" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the district court's order dismissing a sexual assault protection order and entering a harassment protection order in that case, holding that the entry of the harassment protection order violated A.G.'s right to procedural due process. D.W. sought an obtained an ex parte sexual assault protection order against A.G. A.G. requested a show cause hearing on whether the sexual assault protection order should remain in effect. After a hearing, the trial court concluded that the sexual assault protection order would not remain in effect but that it would enter a harassment protection order. After sua sponte filing D.W.'s original petition and affidavit under a new case number, the trial court dismissed the sexual assault protection order and entered a harassment protection order in that case. The Supreme Court held (1) there is no basis to reverse the dismissal of the sexual assault protection order; but (2) the entry of the harassment protection order did not comply with procedural due process. View "D.W. v. A.G." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a decree dissolving Sharon Leners' marriage to Stacy Leners, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Stacy his entire pension in equitably dividing the marital estate and that the court's determinations regarding custody, parenting time, child expenses, and attorney fees were not an abuse of discretion. On appeal, Sharon argued that the court erred in interpreting federal law regarding retirement benefits that may be available for equitable distribution, awarding joint custody and equal parenting time, failing to allocate child expenses, and awarding attorney fees to Stacy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in (1) awarding Stacy his railroad pension, (2) ordering shared custody and parenting time, (3) addressing reasonable and necessary child expenses, and (4) awarding attorney fees. View "Leners v. Leners" on Justia Law

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In this declaratory judgment action in which ex-husband (Husband) sought a declaration that he was entitled to one-half of the proceeds of a home awarded to the ex-wife (Wife) in the divorce decree and sold two years later when Wife decided to remarry, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court declaring that Wife had timely refinanced the house and that, therefore, Husband was not entitled to one-half of the proceeds from its later sale, holding that the district court's judgment was correct. A provision in the dissolution decree stated that Wife would have the home refinanced into her own name within twelve months of entry of the decree and that, if she did not, the house should be sold and the parties should equally divide any proceeds. Wife was approved for refinancing within one year of the entry of the dissolution decree, but the bank did not schedule closing on the refinance until thirteen months after the entry of the dissolution decree. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Wife made a good faith effort to complete refinancing within twelve months and Husband did not incur any harm as a result of the delay in closing, the sale of the house and equal division of the proceeds was not required. View "Bayne v. Bayne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's denial of Father's motion to modify custody of a minor child after the child reported that her stepfather was sexually abusing her, holding that the court made an error law in finding that there was no competent evidence of sexual abuse by the stepfather. The district court ultimately concluded that Father had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the stepfather had sexually abused the minor child. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) applied the correct standard of proof; (2) did not abuse its discretion in its determination of the scope and meaning of Father's complaint; but (3) abused its discretion when it failed to grant Father's motion to modify the custody decree because the record clearly showed there was competent evidence adduced that, if believed, tended to establish that the child was sexually abused by her stepfather. View "Eric H. v. Ashley H." on Justia Law