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LB 844 – Changing the Nebraska Parenting Act

LB 844 makes a number of harmful changes to the Nebraska Parenting Act.

Never heard of the Parenting Act? Every year almost 7,000 children in Nebraska experience divorce in their families. While divorce deals with a number of issues (cars, property, etc.) it has a tremendous impact on children, especially when court processes amplify ongoing conflict.

In 1993, Voices for Children in Nebraska worked with a number of court stakeholders to soften the blow of divorce, by allowing use of mediation, parenting classes, and other important practices. In 2007, important revisions to the Parenting Act took place mandating the use of mediation, adding important screening tools for abuse and neglect, and putting “the best interest of the child” at the center of divorce proceedings.

LB 844 would make divorce cases more contentious and harmful for children in a number of ways:

  1. The required annual accounting of how child support payments are used would make court proceedings drag on and make them more contentious. It would put children at the center of disputes between the parents.
  2. LB 844 includes child support provisions and financial information in the Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan is meant to be reserved for determining a structure of parenting that will be in the best interest of children. Including finances may make this more contentious.
  3. The bill would also require the Supreme Court establish guidelines for court-created Parenting Plans that require parenting time to be shared equally by all parties. Courts create Parenting Plans only in the most contentious cases, and this assumption could cause further conflict and have negative impacts on cases that involve domestic violence.

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