A. (1) Property Statements. Where the action involves a division of property, both parties shall file a single property statement setting forth assets, liabilities, and any other information concerning property germane to the case at bar. The plaintiff shall have 30 days from filing the action to prepare and file the property statement and furnish a copy to the opposing party. The defendant shall then complete the property statement filed by the plaintiff by adding to it any additional property and the defendant’s estimates of the value of all property listed by the plaintiff. The defendant shall file the completed property statement and serve a copy on the plaintiff within 30 days after the plaintiff files the initial statement. Property statement forms may be obtained from the clerk or prepared by counsel or pro se parties, and may be presented in computer generated spreadsheet format, as long as counsels' and parties' forms provide at least the same information as the form available from the clerk (a model property statement form is appended to these rules).
(2) Extensions & Pretrial Filing Deadline. Either party may obtain an extension of the time for filing or completing the property statement on written motion for good cause shown. Except by agreement of the parties or by order of the court, amendments to the property statement shall not be permitted unless filed at least 10 days prior to trial.
B. Temporary Relief Affidavits. No affidavit regarding temporary relief applications, other than ex parte relief allowed by statute, shall be considered by the court, unless a copy has been served on the opposing party not less than 24 hours prior to the temporary hearing.
C. Ex Parte Custody Orders. No ex parte order shall be entered in a domestic relations case without one or more supporting affidavits from a party or his or her witnesses. Except for good cause shown, no ex parte temporary order shall be entered in a pending case if the opposing party is represented by counsel or a guardian ad litem/attorney for minor(s) has been appointed. If an ex parte order is issued, it shall be served upon the opposing party or counsel forthwith, and a temporary hearing shall be held forthwith.
D. Guardian ad Litem Fees. Whenever an issue concerning custody of a minor child exists, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem/attorney for the minor child. In such event, the court also may order an initial guardian ad litem fee deposit to be paid into the clerk’s office within 20 days after the date of the order appointing the guardian ad litem and setting the initial fee deposit. The initial fee, if any, shall be allocated between the parties in the discretion of the court, subject to modification and assessment of additional fees after the final hearing or trial. Parties claiming indigence may apply to the court for a waiver of the fee assessment, initial or final. An application for waiver of the guardian ad litem fee assessment shall be accompanied by a completed affidavit of indigence on the same forms prescribed by the Supreme Court for applications for appointment of counsel or for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
E. Automatic Hearing Dates. The clerk shall set uncontested trial dates in all dissolution actions for the first motion/service day occurring more than 60 days after service of process or voluntary appearance.
F. Leaving the State. Every order for child custody, temporary or permanent, shall contain language substantially as follows:
A party exercising custody of a minor child is ordered not to move the child outside the State of Nebraska. Anyone intending such a move must first:
(1) Make written application to the court, and
(2) Give notice of the application and hearing to the other party as required by law.
G. Parenting Classes. Parties to domestic relations matters involving children are required to attend an approved parent education program within 60 days from receipt of service of process. A list of approved classes can be obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts. This requirement applies to all cases in which parenting issues are involved or are raised, including dissolution of marriage, determination of paternity, motions to compel existing orders, applications to modify decrees of dissolution, and applications to modify decrees of paternity. Both parents are required to attend the parent education program. If the court deems it advisable, the parties may be required to complete a second level parenting class.
H. Parenting Plan/Mediation. (1) Prior to July 1, 2010, the parties to all cases involving parenting issues as described in paragraph G shall submit a parenting plan to be approved by the court. The parenting plan shall be developed by the parties or their counsel, an approved mediation center, or a private mediator. When a parenting plan has not been developed and submitted to the court, the court shall either create the parenting plan in accordance with the Parenting Act or refer the case to an approved mediator. Until July 1, 2010, either party may terminate mediation at any point in the process.
(2) On or after July 1, 2010, all parties in such cases who have not submitted a parenting plan to the court within the time specified by the court shall be required to meet and participate in mediation services with an approved mediator to complete a parenting plan or visitation schedule, including child custody, visitation, grandparent visitation, and any other issues relating to the children that may be susceptible to mediation. A list of approved mediation service providers can be obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts. No trial date will be scheduled until attendance at the required parent education seminar has been completed and mediation to resolve custody and/or visitation issues has been attempted, provided, however, that failure or refusal to participate by a party shall not delay entry of a final judgment by more than 6 months. It is further provided that, notwithstanding the language in this paragraph, domestic violence issues may, upon consideration by the trial court, disqualify the parties from mediation. On or after July 1, 2010, a party may not terminate mediation until after an individual, initial screening session and one mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution session are held.
I. Mediation in Cases Involving Abuse/Neglect/Unresolved Conflict. When, in any case involving parenting issues as described in paragraph G, there are allegations of domestic intimate partner abuse or unresolved parental conflict between the parties in any proceeding, or when screening by a mediator or mediation center identifies the presence of child abuse or neglect, unresolved parental conflict, domestic intimate partner abuse, other forms of intimidation or coercion, or a party’s inability to negotiate freely and make informed decisions, then mediation shall not be required; however, the parents shall be required to meet with a mediator who is a trained facilitator in specialized alternative dispute resolution. The list of such trained and approved mediators can be obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The specialized alternative dispute resolution process shall begin with each parent meeting individually with a qualified facilitator to provide an opportunity for the facilitator to educate each party about the process; obtain informed consent from each party in order to proceed; establish safety protocols; allow support persons to attend sessions; and consider opt-out-for-cause. Any party may terminate after an initial, individual screening session and one specialized alternative dispute resolution session are held. The primary consideration in each specialized alternative dispute resolution session shall be the safety of each party and each child. The facilitator of the process has a duty to determine whether to proceed in individual sessions or caucus sessions in order to address safety and freedom to negotiate. Joint sessions shall not be used unless, after a safety assessment by the facilitator, all parties agree to a joint session to be conducted at the courthouse, with appropriate safety measures in place.
J. Child Support Guidelines Calculations. (1) In all matters in which a final order includes the setting of child support, a child support guidelines calculation shall be completed by the parties and submitted to the court. A copy of said child support guidelines calculation shall be attached to every proposed order submitted to the court.
(2) If a deviation is proposed to be granted, the proposed order shall contain specific findings of fact which support the conclusion that a deviation is warranted, a completed worksheet 5 as specified in Neb. Ct. R. § 4-203, or both.
Rule 5-4 amended effective March 10, 2010.