Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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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

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court granting Father's motion seeking to establish parenting time and telephone communication with one of the parties' children, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction during the appeal of the dissolution decree. Father and Mother were divorced by decree, and the parenting plan established a parenting time schedule for only one of the parties' three children. While an appeal from the dissolution decree was pending, Father filed his motion to establish parenting time and telephone communication with one of the other children. The district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court and dismissed the appeal, holding (1) Mother's challenges to the award regarding a specific summer parenting time between Father and the child at issue were moot; and (2) as to Mother's challenge to the order awarding Father unrestrained cell phone communication with the child, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction during the pendency of the initial appeal. View "Becher v. Becher" on Justia Law

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In these appeals arising from juvenile proceedings involving Michael N. and his parents (Parents), the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the issues raised by the County Attorney's Office and that the issues raised by Parents in their appeals had either been waived or had no merit. After an appeal to the court of appeals and the State's dismissals and refilings of petitions, Parents separately moved to dismiss based on lack of service. Parents also moved, unsuccessfully, for recusal of the trial judge. The juvenile court ordered that the County Attorney's office be removed as counsel for the State and ordered the appointment of a special commissioner. Thereafter, the juvenile court denied the motions to dismiss and entered a detention order requiring that Michael remain in the temporary custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Multiple appeals were then filed. The Supreme Court held (1) this Court lacked jurisdiction over the County Attorney's Office's appeal from the order removing it from the case and appointing a special prosecutor; (2) Parents' appeals of the order denying their motions to dismiss and the detention order had been waived; and (3) there was no merit to Parents' arguments challenging the order overruling their motions to recuse. View "In re Interest of Michael N." on Justia Law

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In these post-divorce proceedings, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order as modified and vacated the awards of $2,500 in expert witness fees and $117 in overnight camp expenses and modified the order awarding $1,276 in childcare expenses and $3,500 in attorney fees, holding that the court erred in awarding expert witness fees and in concluding that overnight camps constituted daycare expenses. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err in ruling that extracurricular activity costs constituted daycare expenses that Father was required to reimburse Mother for, with the exception of the court’s apportionment of the costs of overnight camps, which must be vacated as an abuse of discretion; (2) did not abuse its discretion in awarding Mother attorney fees; and (3) erred in awarding expert witness fees without finding exceptional circumstances warranting the stipulation entered into between the parties that they would each pay the fees of their respective experts. View "Moore v. Moore" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing the State’s complaint filed against Walter E.’s father, Mark E., to establish an order of support, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider the State’s complaint. The juvenile court adjudicated Walter to be a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a) and ordered him to remain in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for placement at the Boys Town main campus. The court rather ordered that DHHS be responsible for all costs required by the placement. The State later filed a complaint on behalf of Walter and against Mark. The State alleged that Walter was in need of financial support from Mark and that Mark had a duty of support for Walter. The district court dismissed the State’s complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because there was an existing support order issued by the juvenile court, the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the State under section 43-512.03(1)(a). View "State ex rel. Walter E. v. Mark E." on Justia Law

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In these paternity proceedings, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court that awarded sole legal and physical custody of the parties’ child to Father, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. On appeal, Mother argued primarily that the district court’s judgment was in error because she proved at trial that Father had committed child abuse under Nebraska law. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) not imposing limitations on Father’s custody and visitation writs and not making special written findings that such limitations would sufficiently protect the child from harm pursuant to section 43-2932 because the evidence did not demonstrate that Father committed child abuse; (2) awarding sole legal and physical custody of the child to Father subject to Mother’s parenting time; and (3) ordering Mother to pay Father child support. View "Randy S. v. Nicolette G." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal involving a “bridge order” entered after the adjudication of five children under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a), who had been in Mother’s sole legal and physical custody, giving Father legal and physical custody, holding that bridge orders are not final for purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1902. A bridge order addresses solely matters of legal and physical custody and parenting time when a juvenile has been placed by the juvenile court with a legal parent. The bridge order at issue in this case was entered after five children, who had been in Mother’s legal and physical custody, were adjudicated under section 43-247(3)(a). Two of these children were placed with Father during the juvenile proceedings, and the bridge order gave Father legal and physical custody, with substantial visitation by Mother. Mother appealed, arguing that the bridge order was inappropriate under the circumstances. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that a bridge order is not final for purposes of section 25-1902. View "In re Interest of Kamille C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal from the denial of two motions filed by Appellant in this marital dissolution case, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction of this appeal. After a marital dissolution decree was entered adjudicating paternity of a child, David B. sought to intervene in the case as an interested party and to set aside the paternity finding within the decree of dissolution. The district court denied David’s motions, finding that David failed to act in a timely matter. David then filed two motions to reconsider, one filed within ten days of the final order, and, after it was denied, a second motion filed eleven days after the final order. The district court denied the motions. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s ensuing appeal for lack of jurisdiction because (1) David’s second motion did not terminate the time for filing an appeal and was not filed within ten days of the final order; and (2) David did not appeal within thirty days of the overruling of his first motion to reconsider, which was properly construed as a motion to alter or amend. View "Bryson L. v. Izabella L." on Justia Law