Many couples in Nebraska may be considering separating but aren't certain they want to file for divorce. Married couples can file legal separation in Nebraska. This is not the same as a divorce, as the couple is considered legally married.
A legal separation can be used when the couple has not lived in Nebraska for a year, which is the residency requirement that must be met to file for a divorce. Once the residency requirement is met, the legal separation filing can be amended to a divorce petition.
One reason why a legal separation may be a good idea for a couple is because the judge can issue a support order. However, if there are children involved and it appears that there is a chance the couple may reconcile, the court may order that the case be moved to Conciliation Court. This would give the couple a chance to reconcile or at least agree on parts of the divorce that are not acceptable. This might include child custody, visitation, child support, property division or alimony.
A legal separation may also allow the couple to determine on their own that they do not want to file for divorce. Even during the legal separation proceedings, though, it is best that you are represented by an attorney. You want to make sure your interests and the interests of your children are protected.
An experienced Nebraska attorney can help during negotiations concerning property division. Because Nebraska is an equitable distribution state, the court will determine what property is considered marital property and ensure that it is divided fairly.
Source: About Relationship, "Nebraska Divorce Laws" Cathy Meyer, Oct. 23, 2014