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Nebraska child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Nebraska child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Nebraska child support determined?

In Nebraska, the courts consider the earning power of each parent in determining a fair child support order. There are official Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts also use to help determine the correct amount of child support. These will be followed unless both parents agree to an amount other than that calculated by the guidelines and the court agrees with the parents, or the courts decide the guidelines are unjust due to the particular circumstances of a case.

The following percentages are rough averages of the percent of net income to be paid by the obligated parent. These are what the guidelines are generally based on. Percentages vary depending on the income levels of the parents

  • 1 child 20%
  • 2 children 25%
  • 3 children 30%
  • 4 children 35%
  • 5 children 40%
  • 6 children 45%

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 19 years of age.

Nebraska's custody guidelines:

Generally, the parents agree upon decisions about parenting and custody. Many courts require parents to try to work out a parenting plan through mediation. If there is no agreement, then the courts will make these decisions. In Nebraska, joint or sole custody may be awarded, without regard to the sex of the parents, based on the best interests of the child and the following factors:

  • the preference of the child, if the child is of an appropriate age
  • the general health, welfare and social behavior of the child
  • any credible evidence of domestic abuse
  • the child's relationship to each parent prior to the divorce proceedings

While it is not the preferred arrangement, joint custody may be awarded if both parents agree to it.

Nebraska's medical insurance guidelines:

Most often, the parent paying child support is ordered to provide medical insurance. The decision as to which parent has the obligation to cover medical insurance and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. Usually, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through one of the parent¹s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for Nebraska child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children or their needs.

While all orders concerning the children are modifiable in the future, we encourage you to not enter into an agreement based on the idea that it can always be changed or modified later.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Most states, including Nebraska, have a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

The court cannot set a level of support that reduces the non-custodial parent's take home pay, after child support, to less than $687 per month.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

In Nebraska, the law states that joint custody should be ordered only in the "most rare" cases.

Formal joint custody gives both parents equal rights to make decisions about the child just as they both had when they were married. For joint custody to work, the parents have to be able to work together cooperatively to decide the important and day-to-day issues in their child's life. 

Usually, it is expected that the child will spend amount of time with each parent. When this happens, child support is figure differently.

While Nebraska law does not favor true joint custody, it does strongly encourage parents to work out a realistic, detailed and personalized parenting plan through mediation. The plan should include how decisions will be made, who makes which decisions, how information is shared and how the child's time is divided.

How Nebraska determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the
nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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