Under Nebraska law, the court can order the payment of alimony to one party after a marriage is dissolved. Alimony refers to financial support that one spouse pays to another. In many relationships–particularly long marriages–only one spouse is employed, making it difficult for the other partner to support themselves in the immediate aftermath of the divorce. The notion of alimony arose from the need to help those dependent spouses.
Alimony payments are not automatic. Divorcing couples can agree on a payment amount, but if no agreement is reached, a court must decide if alimony is appropriate.
Determinations about equitable property division is separate from alimony decisions under Nebraska law. If a partner seeks an alimony award, the court will look at specific factors to determine if continued maintenance of one spouse is appropriate based on their economic circumstances. The specific factors considered include:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s current financial resources and employment
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage (child care, home maintenance, etc.)
- Ability for each spouse to find gainful employment
Unlike child support, Nebraska law does not provide for a rigid “calculator” or formula to determine alimony. Instead, courts are simply ordered to be “fair and reasonable” in their determinations. This means that individual judges have wide latitude in their rulings. Presenting a strong case for your side in an alimony dispute is therefore paramount to protecting your interests.
The Purpose of Alimony
Over the past few decades the general notion of alimony has shifted in popular culture. Whereas lifetime alimony awards were somewhat common in the past, they have fallen out of favor in many instances today. Importantly, alimony is not considered a way to ensure both spouses have “equal” financial outlooks in the future. Instead, it is typically viewed as a temporary means of support to help one spouse more fairly transition to life without being dependent on the other.
Both spouses can seek a change to the original alimony order if there is a “material” change in circumstances.” Those changes generally refer to alterations in one partner’s financial relationship. If there is a job loss or promotion (or other windfall), then an alteration in the order may be necessary so long at it is “fair and reasonable.”
Contact a Nebraska Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce or have questions about alimony rules in Nebraska, please reach out to our Nebraska family law attorneys at Johnson & Pekny, L.L.C. We are proud to work on behalf local residents going through the challenges of a marital breakup. Contact us today to see if we can help.