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How to Find a Divorce Record in Nebraska
Nebraska divorce records describe, certify, and verify marriage dissolutions finalized in the state. While some divorce documents are vital documents, most of them are court records produced during the proceedings leading to the finalized divorces. Generally, the three kinds of divorce documents are divorce case records, divorce decrees, and divorce certificates.
Divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third-party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, certificate, and decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.
What is a Nebraska Divorce Certificate?
A Nebraska divorce certificate is a government-issued document that verifies that both parties named on the record are no longer married. Compared to other types of divorce records, it contains the least information about the dissolution of a marriage. In the State of Nebraska, the Department of Health and Human Services issues certificates for divorces finalized between 1909 and the present. It is available to the persons on the record, their children, and legal representatives. A Nebraska divorce certificate will include the following information:
- Names of the two people getting the divorce
- Date of the divorce
- Location of the divorce
- Court case number
- Name and signature of judge who issued the final judgment
What is a Nebraska Divorce Decree?
A Nebraska divorce decree is a court document that permanently dissolves a marriage in the state and provides the details of the final judgment. It is issued by the court delivering the final judgment and will be received by both parties involved in the dissolution, upon the conclusion of proceedings. It details the court’s ruling which is binding on both parties. All terms of the settlement reached by the court, and agreed by both parties, will be included in the decree. In addition to the information contained in a divorce certificate, a divorce decree will include:
- Property and asset division terms
- Spousal and child support terms
- Child custody and/or visitation rights
- Debt responsibilities
A Nebraska divorce decree is retained by the Clerk of the District Court which granted the divorce.
What is a Nebraska Divorce Record?
A Nebraska divorce record represents the complete case file of the dissolution of a marriage in the state. The information contained in it will include all the information provided in a divorce certificate and a divorce decree as well as every document produced during the court case resulting in the dissolution of the marriage.
Are Divorce Records Available to the Public in Nebraska?
Divorce records in Nebraska are deemed to be confidential. As a result, they can only be obtained by a specific set of people. Any person requesting a divorce record, in the State of Nebraska, is required to prove their relationship to the persons named on the record. The requester must also provide a valid, government-issued ID. Persons considered eligible to receive a Nebraska divorce record are:
- The two individuals named on the record
- Children of the divorced parties named on the record
- Authorized legal representatives
Sealed divorce records are records that have been placed under a seal by court order, rendering them inaccessible to all parties except the couple involved in the divorce and their attorneys. A court order can only be issued to seal divorce records if both parties agree to it and provide consent. Thereafter, they must file a motion to seal the record with the court. A judge will assess the merits of the motion and decide whether it should be granted or denied. A motion to seal divorce records will not be granted solely because the motion was filed. The parties filing the motion must provide salient reasons for the request. Reasons a judge can decide to grant this motion include the records containing:
- information about minors
- information about victims of domestic violence or abuse
- trade secrets or issues of national security
- sensitive business or personal information
- false information which may cause undue harm in the public domain
If the motion to have the records sealed is granted, then the records in question become restricted and are only available to the parties named in the record.
How Do I Obtain Nebraska Divorce Certificates?
To obtain a Nebraska divorce certificate, submit a record request to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Vital Records Office has records of all divorces, in the state, since 1909. For records prior to this date, contact the Clerk of the District Court where the divorce judgment was issued. Nebraska divorce certificates are available to the parties named on the record and their children. Persons requesting a divorce record will also be required to state why they need the record.
The Vital Records Office charges $16 to search for a divorce certificate and provide a certified copy. This fee is payable in cash, check, or money order. It is non-refundable, even if the record is not found. The record request can be submitted online, by mail, or in person.
To submit a mail request, complete the Application for Certified Copy of Divorce Certificate form. Send it along with a check or money order for the complete fee (made payable to the Vital Records Office), a copy of a valid photo ID, and a stamped self-addressed envelope. Mail the request to:
Vital Records Office
Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 95065
Lincoln, NE 68509-5065
Submit an in-person request by taking the completed Application for Certified Copy of Divorce Certificate form along with the complete fee (cash is acceptable for in-person requests), and a valid form of photo ID to:
Office of Vital Records
1033 O Street,
Lincoln, NE 68508-3621
How Do I Obtain Nebraska Divorce Court Records?
Upon the conclusion of a divorce case, a Nebraska Family Court issues a divorce decree and provides copies to both parties involved in the divorce case. The decree is typically issued to the attorneys on record, and both parties will receive their copies of the decree from their attorneys. This decree officially terminates the marriage.
Either party may request more copies at a later day. To obtain a copy of the divorce decree or any part of a divorce court records, contact the Clerk of the District Court where the judgment was granted. The Clerk of the District Court will issue a copy of the divorce decree to either of the parties named in the divorce or their legal representative. To receive a copy of a divorce decree, the requester must submit a written request providing the following information:
- Names of both parties to the divorce
- Court case number
- Date of the divorce
- Location of the divorce
They can also visit the Office of the Clerk of the District Court and make the request in person. There is a fee for this service which is determined by the particular court and may vary from county to county.
Government public record search portals and third-party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.
Does Nebraska Recognize Common-Law Marriage?
The state of Nebraska recognizes common-law marriages created before 1923. It also recognizes the validity of marriages contracted in other states that recognize such a union under common-law marriage rules. For marriages to be legal in Nebraska, the couples must have obtained a marriage certificate (license) from the court, performed a traditional ceremony in the presence of eyewitnesses and an officiating priest, each party was not forced to marry, and the couples must be of marriageable age (18 years). Only in specific cases, such as divorce, would the court in Nebraska evaluate components to validate common law marriage.