Chicago, IL asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Nebraska

Q: Kids 9 and 11 want custody modification for 50 50 custody plan. Is there a way for them to modify with GOL or something

I'd file myself but can't afford. Would need to win the lottery or take out a loan. Wish someone would listen to them and just do whatever they would like. Kids being happy is all that matters to me.

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

A: In Nebraska, if a parent wants to modify the current custody order, the parent can file a complaint to modify. You are not required to have an attorney to file the complaint to modify. There is information and some forms on the Nebraska Supreme Court's website if a parent wants to try to file the action without the assistance of an attorney. However, you are at a procedural advantage if you have an attorney and the other party does not.

If the children have a preference for custody and the parents are in agreement, then you can modify the custody order with a stipulated order of modification.

If the parents are not in agreement as to what is the best custody arrangement for the children, then the Judge would decide who has custody in the modification action.

When the parents don't agree on custody, the children do not get to make the final decision. Instead it is up to the judge. The judge can, and often does, take a child's preference into consideration. However, the court tends to give more weight to an older, more mature child's preference than to a younger child or to a child that otherwise has less maturity. For example, a court tends to give a lot of weight to what a 17 year old has as a preference for custody if the child has shown maturity and has rational reasons for wanting to live with that parent. On the other hand, the court is not likely to give any weight to a very young child's preference as they lack the maturity and understanding to make an informed decision. There is no set age in Nebraska that a child's preference is given weight. It depends on the specifics facts of the case and the maturity of the specific child.

Keep in mind that the Court wants to keep the children out of the middle of a custody dispute as much as possible, especially since it is ultimately the judge and not the child that decides custody when the parents can't reach an agreement.

At least in the Omaha-area, the judges are increasingly favoring joint custody arrangements when both parents are fit and proper and logistically it makes sense. You may have factors outside the preference of the children that give you a strong case for joint custody. You would need to speak with an attorney to evaluate your specific facts and case.

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