Lincoln, NE asked in Domestic Violence, Divorce, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Child Custody for Nebraska

Q: My wife disapeared and is believed to have gone to Texas with our 4.5 year old son and claiming some kind of abuse.

What are my options? There was no abuse except by her. There is a past though and I just got home from prison in Dec.

1 Lawyer Answer
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: If a spouse leaves with their child and the spouse left behind wants to pursue a divorce, the way to start a divorce action is generally to file a complaint for dissolution of marriage. In Nebraska, one of the spouses must have resided in the State of Nebraska for at least a year before a divorce can be filed in Nebraska. If their child had been living in Nebraska the last six months prior to the divorce being filed, then Nebraska is generally considered the child's "home state." The child's home state is the state that generally gets to decide the custody issues. If the divorce is filed soon after one parent moves the child to another state, it is common for the court to order the child back to Nebraska while the court action is pending. This is often requested in either a temporary custody order or an ex parte order. Thus, usually the spouse is ordered to return the child back to Nebraska while the divorce action is pending if the spouse files the action and promptly requests this.

Before a divorce action can go forward, the other spouse must be served. The spouse that files the divorce action is responsible for serving the other spouse. Generally this is done by having the sheriff serve the other spouse with divorce papers. The spouse that files the action is responsible for providing an address for the sheriff to attempt service. The Court will allow other methods of serving the other spouse, such as by service by publication in a newspaper, if it is shown that other attempts to locate the other spouse have first been attempted. Attorneys have a number of ways to help locate a child when the other party has ran off with the child. Once the child and parent have been located, the divorce action can usually be served on the other spouse by service by the sheriff.

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