Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions Asked
by People Facing a Divorce

It depends on several factors.  The total fees will depend on the complexity of issues, what, if anything, can be resolved outside of court, opposing counsel, need for experts and the amount of time involved.  As the case progresses, I will be able to give you a better indication of the overall anticipated cost. We will also have conversations discussing if the “fight” is worth the fees involved.  Attorney fees can be ordered to be paid by your spouse.  We always ask for fees from the court; however it is purely discretionary. Ultimately, the costs and fees associated with the case is your responsibility.

  • Review trial exhibits, answers to interrogatories, previous affidavits and depositions (if one was taken).  Be familiar with your testimony that was previously provided under oath.
  • Dress appropriately. Be modest and comfortable.  Do not wear jeans, a hat or any facial piercings, other than one in each ear.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Speak clearly.
  • When on the stand, answer the questions to the best of your ability—if you are unsure, it is okay to say “I don’t know” or to provide approximations. However, if you estimate a time or a cost, make sure the court knows it is an estimate. If you make a mistake during your testimony, correct it as soon as possible. Politely say something such as, “May I correct something I said earlier?”  If you do not understand the question, it is okay to indicate you don’t understand or to have the question repeated.  Listen carefully to all questions, whether posed by me or by the other side. Pause, make sure you understand the question, then take your time and answer that question.
  • Look at the judge when you talk.  Remember who your audience is. Do not look at me before you answer the question as if you are seeking help or after you answer the question as if you are seeking approval.
  • Do not lose your temper or patience on the stand at any cost. Always be polite and respectful regardless of how the other attorney or other witnesses behave. The court is not only listening to your answers but also considers your tone and demeanor when determining your overall credibility. Answer “Yes sir” or “Madam” and address the judge as “Your Honor.” Do not be sassy or angry in responding. Lose your temper, and you may lose your case.
  • Do not react to other witnesses’ testimony. Your reactions may aggravate the judge and look childish.
  • In cross-examinations most questions can be answered with “yes,” “no,” “I do not know,” or with a simple sentence.  Do not volunteer information.  Any information may be used against you or the other attorney may try to twist your words.  Pause if you need to and you may politely request a break if needed.

All too often people use the telephone, emails, text messages, not to effectually communicate, but to destroy communication. The angry spouse may call to scream insults or make hang-up calls, or unload with texts at any time of the day or night.

If your spouse or other parent gets disrespectful and/or abusive to you on the telephone, end the call. If the angry spouse is disparaging in written forms of communication, do not engage or respond. Please save these forms of communication as they can be relevant to your case. Always be respectful and polite in your communications with your spouse or other parent regardless of how they treat you.

If the other party is abusing you with telephone calls, keep a calendar with the calls documented by date, time, and number. You have the legal right to record phone calls that you are a party to.

You can also use email to communicate. Often times, this is a better way to communicate, especially at the beginning when emotions are often time still high.  Regardless of how your spouse acts or reacts, take the high road and always treat with respect and politeness.

When you must prove something in court, you should have legally admissible proof.  One form of evidence is through witness testimony. They can corroborate circumstances or events they have themselves witnessed. We can issue a subpoena for witnesses to come to court.

An expert witness is a witness who has such training or expertise that the witness’ opinion may be valuable to the court. Psychologists, accountants, and doctors are often expert witnesses. Expert witnesses must be paid for the time they spend in preparation and at trial which are above and beyond attorney fees.  These fees must be paid in advance by you.

As the law currently stands, if you and your former spouse were married for longer than ten (10) years and paid into the Social Security Trust Funds, you may be entitled to spouse’s or survivor benefits on your former spouse’s account upon reaching age of retirement, regardless of whether your former spouse has retired at that time. These benefits are provided by the federal government and are not usually addressed in a Decree.

To be sure of the exact benefits to which you are entitled, and your earliest eligibility to receive the benefits, contact the Social Security Administration directly.

Divorce is an unpleasant time at best. You will experience a range of emotions including denial, anger, guilt, depression, fear, resignation, ambivalence, sadness and frustration. Remember this is generally only temporary. You probably will feel different next week. Instead of feeling angry next week you might feel fearful, next week indifferent, next week depressed, next week ambivalent, and so on, until finally one week you have reached a point where you are relieved it is over and you can start with a new beginning.

It is fairly common to feel lost, confused or depressed during this process. If you feel anything of these emotions, you may want to seek outside counseling to deal with issues while going through the divorce. Please consult with me regarding any issues and I can provide referrals to mental health care professionals, as needed.

Many people get into debt shortly before their marriage falls apart because they try to buy things hoping it will make the marriage better. If you have a lot of debt, you need to take steps to correct this problem as soon as possible. There will be less money to go around after you and your spouse separate because you will be supporting two households on the income that previously only had to pay for one.

During your marriage, most of your debts were probably incurred jointly. That means that both of you are responsible for the repayment of the debt. When your divorce is finalized, either through a settlement agreement or a court hearing, the Court will make orders concerning who is to pay what debt. If your ex-spouse does not make the required payments, you can take your ex-spouse back into court, but you cannot stop the creditor from trying to collect from you. Your creditors are not parties to your divorce, so the order requiring your spouse to pay off the debt will not bind them. They agreed to loan money because you and your spouse both agreed to pay the money back. This means you can have a real problem if your spouse is financially irresponsible. If your debts are not too high, some creditors may be willing to refinance loans so that only one spouse is responsible for repayment. I recommend that you look into this option.

If there is any reason why your spouse may be considering bankruptcy, you need to discuss this with me so that we can take steps to protect you as much as possible in the event that happens. 

The general rules outlined in the next few paragraphs are intended to alert you to issues and provide some general information. Before you sign any tax return or take any action with respect to your federal or state income returns, please review your situation with your tax advisor.

Subject to many qualifications, alimony is not deductible to the party paying it and it is not taxable to the party receiving it. Child support is not deductible to the party paying it or taxable to the party receiving it.

Unless specifically addressed in your Decree, generally the custodial parent will be entitled to claim the dependency exemption on his or her income tax return. The custodial parent may execute I.R.S. Form 8332, releasing the dependency exemption to the noncustodial parent.

Generally, there is no tax gain or loss recognized as a result of the division of property between spouses upon divorce. Thus, there may be no tax incurred by dividing the property.  It is important to know the basis of the property that you receive in the division of your assets. Please contact your tax advisor.

Alimony is purely based on the discretion of the Court.  Temporary-alimony may be awarded during the pendency of the proceeding. These will be the same factors the court considers when awarding permanent alimony for a set number of months after the divorce is final. Alimony does terminate upon remarriage of the receiving spouse and may be modifiable upon showing a material change of circumstance. Some of the factors the court considers are as follows:

  • Relative earning capacity, needs and obligations, and the ability to pay;
  • Education and ability of the parties, as well as opportunities for additional education;
  • Length of the marriage;
  • Age, physical, and mental condition of the two parties;
  • Whether or not one of the parties stayed at home with the child(ren) of the parties instead of working;
  • Separate property a person has;
  • Marital property a person gets;
  • Standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage;
  • Ability of the party seeking alimony to become self supporting and if training is necessary, the length of time training would be necessary;
  • Reduced or lost earning capacity of party seeking alimony as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage;
  • Contributions and services of the party seeking alimony to the education or career of the other spouse;
  • Other factors that the court considers appropriate.

No. If you cover your spouse or children on your insurance, do not drop them from the policy pending further Order from the Court. In Nebraska, the divorce does not become final for health insurance purposes for six (6) months following the entry of the Decree of Dissolution, so it is possible the health insurance coverage will continue for 6 months after the final Decree is entered depending on the company’s policy. 

You may have the right to apply for health benefits through your former spouse’s current place of employment. Pursuant to COBRA legislation, nonemployee/spouses may be eligible after the divorce is final for certain insurance coverage at group rates.

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