Child Support in Nebraska

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Child Support in Nebraska

Child Support in Nebraska

Child support in Nebraska is governed by a set of rules and guidelines designed to provide fair and adequate support to children. After a separation or divorce, child support is crucial to guaranteeing the financial security of the children. This manual provides a thorough overview of Nebraska’s child support system, covering calculation, enforcement, modification, and other important features.

A non-custodial parent is required by law to pay child support, which helps pay for their kid’s basic needs, including housing, food, clothing, education, and medical attention.

Determining Child Support in Nebraska

Nebraska uses the “Income Shares Model” to calculate child support, aiming for fairness and consistency. The model estimates what parents would spend on their children if they were living together. Key factors in determining child support include:

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1. Gross Income

Both parents’ gross incomes, including wages, bonuses, dividends, and other income sources.

2. Number of Children

The total number of children requiring support.

3. Custody Arrangements

The amount of time each parent spends with the child.

4. Deductions

Deductions such as taxes, mandatory retirement contributions, and support for other children.

5. Healthcare and Childcare Costs

These costs are added to the basic support obligation and divided proportionally between the parents.

Nebraska Child Support Guidelines

The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines provide a formula for calculating support obligations, ensuring fairness and sufficiency. Courts may deviate from these guidelines in specific cases, such as extraordinary medical costs, special needs of the child, or significant financial disparities between parents.

Enforcement of Child Support

To ensure children receive their entitled support, Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) enforces child support orders using various methods:

Income Withholding: Automatic paycheck deductions.

Tax Refund Intercepts: Seizing tax refunds to cover unpaid support.

License Suspension: Revoking or suspending driver’s, professional, and recreational licenses for non-payment.

Contempt of Court: Legal actions that can result in fines or jail time.

Modifying Child Support Orders

Child support needs may change over time. Either parent can request a modification of the support order due to significant changes in circumstances, such as income or employment status changes or the child’s needs. The process involves:

1. Filing a Petition

Requesting the court to review and modify the existing support order.

2. Court Review

Examining the current financial situation and reasons for modification.

3. Adjustment

Adjusting the support amount if warranted.

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Termination of Child Support

Child support typically ends when the child turns 19, the age of majority in Nebraska. Support may continue if the child is still in high school or has special needs. Support also ends if the child becomes emancipated through marriage, military service, or other legal means.

Child support ensures the welfare and stability of children following a separation or divorce. Understanding Nebraska’s guidelines, calculation methods, enforcement mechanisms, and modification procedures can help parents navigate this crucial aspect of family law. For personalized advice, consulting with a family law attorney or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support in Nebraska

1. How is child support calculated in Nebraska?

Child support in Nebraska is calculated using the “Income Shares Model.” This model estimates the amount parents would have spent on their children if they were living together. It considers both parents’ gross incomes, the number of children, custody arrangements, deductions for taxes and other obligations, and additional costs such as healthcare and childcare.

2. What factors influence the amount of child support?

Several factors influence the amount of child support, including:

Gross income of both parents
Number of children
Custody and visitation arrangements
Mandatory deductions (e.g., taxes, retirement contributions)
Additional costs (e.g., healthcare, childcare)

3. Can child support orders be changed?

Yes, child support orders can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. This can include significant changes in income, employment status, or the needs of the child. To request a modification, a petition must be filed with the court, which will review and adjust the support amount if necessary.

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4. How is child support enforced in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) enforces child support orders. Enforcement methods include:

Income withholding (automatic paycheck deductions)

Tax refund intercepts (seizing tax refunds to cover unpaid support)

License suspension (revoking or suspending driver’s, professional, and recreational licenses).

Contempt of court actions (legal actions that can result in fines or jail time)

5. When does child support end in Nebraska?

Child support typically ends when the child turns 19, which is the age of majority in Nebraska. However, support may continue if the child is still in high school or has special needs. Support also ends if the child becomes emancipated through marriage, military service, or other legal means.

6. What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support?

If a parent fails to pay child support, the DHHS can take enforcement actions such as income withholding, tax refund intercepts, and license suspension. In severe cases, the non-paying parent may face contempt of court charges, which can lead to fines or jail time.

7. Can parents agree on a different amount of child support?

While parents can agree on a different amount of child support, the court must approve any agreement to ensure it is in the best interest of the child. The agreed amount must meet or exceed the minimum support guidelines unless there are exceptional circumstances.

8. How do I apply for child support services in Nebraska?

To apply for child support services in Nebraska, contact the DHHS Child Support Enforcement Program. You can apply online, by mail, or in person at a local DHHS office. The program assists with establishing paternity, locating non-custodial parents, establishing support orders, and enforcing payments.

9. What if the non-custodial parent lives in another state?

If the non-custodial parent lives in another state, the Nebraska DHHS can work with child support agencies in that state to establish and enforce child support orders. Interstate cooperation ensures that child support obligations are met regardless of where the parents live.

10. Can child support be paid directly to the custodial parent?

While direct payments to the custodial parent are possible, it is generally recommended to make payments through the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center. This ensures accurate record-keeping and helps avoid disputes about whether payments were made.

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