Child support in Nebraska is generally always modifiable provided that a material change of circumstances has occurred. In order for a material change of circumstances to have occurred under Nebraska law to modify your child support, you must be able to show that the change of circumstances (1) occurred subsequent to the entry of the original decree or previous modification and (2) was not contemplated when the decree was entered. Further, the modification must be in the best interests of the child(ren).
There are many circumstances that could qualify for a modification of child support in Nebraska. Examples of circumstances that might qualify for a child support modification include:
- Changes in the financial position of the parent obligated to pay support;
- A change in the needs of the children for whom support is paid;
- Whether there is a good or bad faith motive of the obligated parent in sustaining a reduction in income; and
- Whether the change is temporary or permanent.
Under the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, to qualify for a potential modification of child support, the following factors must be met:
- The new child support calculation under the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines would result in a variation by 10 percent or more, but not less than $25, upward or downward, of the current child support obligation, child care obligation, or health care obligation.
- The financial circumstances being used to qualify for a modification must have lasted 3 months and can reasonably be expected to last for an additional 6 months.
If the above two factors occur, there is a rebuttable presumption of a material change of circumstances is established.[i] What a “rebuttable presumption” means that you may not qualify for a modification if the other parent has a good argument against lowering or raising the child support previously ordered.
Denial of child support modifications in Nebraska
A child support modification can be denied in the event that the change in financial condition is due to fault or “voluntary wastage” or “dissipation of one's talents and assets”. What this means is that when someone’s financial condition changed due to some sort of misconduct on their behalf, a child modification may be denied. Additionally, a person’s earning capacity may be used to deny a modification of child support.
There are several instances where an earning capacity has been used to deny a child support modification due to the voluntary wastage or dissipation of one’s talents or assets. Examples that have been upheld on appeal by the Nebraska Court of Appeals or Nebraska Supreme Court include; being fired for falling asleep on the job; other workplace misconduct; failing multiple drug tests at their job; voluntarily quitting or taking an early retirement; alcoholism and drug abuse.[ii] It could also be denied if you are trying to “game the system” in order to maximize or reduce the child support you receive or pay.
Modification of Child Support Due to a Subsequent Born Children
The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines allow the Court to consider a new change of circumstances due to birth of a new child. However, this is not an automatic modification of child support under the law. If the parent with a newborn child is already paying child support for other children, that parent cannot use that subsequent newborn child to reduce their child support being paid for their other children under an existing child support order based solely because of the birth, adoption, or acknowledgment of subsequent child(ren). In those situations, the new child can technically only beraised as a defense to an increase of a child support that was previously ordered.[iii]
Change of the Nebraska child support guidelines in 2020
It is important to note that on January 1, 2020, new child support guidelines that were adopted by the Nebraska Supreme Court went into effect that had the effect of reducing the amount of child support that would be ordered by the court by around twenty percent for many people that would be paying child support compared to the old child support guidelines. In the event that there has been some change to the financial circumstances of either parent, the 2020 change in the guidelines might greatly affect whether there is a modification of the child support at all, or it may otherwise greatly effect the increase or decrease in the amount that the child support that is ordered on a modification.
Goosmann Law – Omaha Child Support Attorneys – Nebraska Child Support Lawyers
If you are a parent seeking to obtain an increase in child support or reduce your child support obligations, it is important to discuss your unique situation with a Nebraska child support lawyer to understand how the law may be applied to your unique situation. The Omaha, Nebraska child support attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm are available for an initial consultation to discuss your child support case and what our attorneys can do for you in a modification.
Each child support modification case in Nebraska is different and the child support that is ultimately awarded by a court on a modification can be impacted by a multitude of factors that are unique to your case. These factors are too numerous and sometimes too complex to explain in a general article on Nebraska Child Support modification law.
To set up an initial consultation with the attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm, please click the following link: https://www.goosmannlaw.com/contact-us/ or contact the local office in Omaha, Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota office at (855) 909-4442 to set a consultation with our Nebraska, Iowa or South Dakota attorneys.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice or in any way creating an attorney-client relationship with the firm.
About the Author:
About Goosmann Law
[i] Nebraska Child Support Guidelines §4-217
[ii] See Hogden v. Hogden, 30 Neb. App. 456, 970 N.W.2d 782 (2022), Pope v. Pope, 251 Neb. 773, 559 N.W.2d 192 (1997); Lambert v. Lambert, 9 Neb. App. 661, 617 N.W.2d 645 (2000); Grahovac v. Grahovac, 12 Neb. App. 585, 680 N.W.2d 616 (2004), Murphy v. Murphy, 17 Neb. App. 279, 759 N.W.2d 710 (2008).
[iii] Nebraska Child Support Guidelines §4-220, See also Fetherkile v. Fetherkile, 299 Neb. 76, 95, 907 N.W.2d 275, 292 (2018).