42-364. Action involving child support, child custody, parenting time, visitation, or other access; parenting plan; legal custody and physical custody determination; rights of parents; child support; termination of parental rights; court; duties; modification proceedings; use of school records as evidence.

(1)(a) In an action under Chapter 42 involving child support, child custody, parenting time, visitation, or other access, the parties and their counsel, if represented, shall develop a parenting plan as provided in the Parenting Act. If the parties and counsel do not develop a parenting plan, the complaint shall so indicate as provided in section 42-353 and the case shall be referred to mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution as provided in the Parenting Act. For good cause shown and (i) when both parents agree and such parental agreement is bona fide and not asserted to avoid the purposes of the Parenting Act, or (ii) when mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution is not possible without undue delay or hardship to either parent, the mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution requirement may be waived by the court. In such a case where waiver of the mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution is sought, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing and the burden of proof for the party or parties seeking waiver is by clear and convincing evidence.

(b) The decree in an action involving the custody of a minor child shall include the determination of legal custody and physical custody based upon the best interests of the child, as defined in the Parenting Act, and child support. Such determinations shall be made by incorporation into the decree of (i) a parenting plan developed by the parties, if approved by the court, or (ii) a parenting plan developed by the court based upon evidence produced after a hearing in open court if no parenting plan is developed by the parties or the plan developed by the parties is not approved by the court. The decree shall conform to the Parenting Act.

(c) The social security number of each parent and the minor child shall be furnished to the clerk of the district court but shall not be disclosed or considered a public record.

(2) In determining legal custody or physical custody, the court shall not give preference to either parent based on the sex of the parent and, except as provided in section 43-2933, no presumption shall exist that either parent is more fit or suitable than the other. Custody shall be determined on the basis of the best interests of the child, as defined in the Parenting Act. Unless parental rights are terminated, both parents shall continue to have the rights stated in section 42-381.

(3) Custody of a minor child may be placed with both parents on a joint legal custody or joint physical custody basis, or both, (a) when both parents agree to such an arrangement in the parenting plan and the court determines that such an arrangement is in the best interests of the child or (b) if the court specifically finds, after a hearing in open court, that joint physical custody or joint legal custody, or both, is in the best interests of the minor child regardless of any parental agreement or consent.

(4) In determining the amount of child support to be paid by a parent, the court shall consider the earning capacity of each parent and the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court pursuant to section 42-364.16 for the establishment of child support obligations. Upon application, hearing, and presentation of evidence of an abusive disregard of the use of child support money or cash medical support paid by one party to the other, the court may require the party receiving such payment to file a verified report with the court, as often as the court requires, stating the manner in which child support money or cash medical support is used. Child support money or cash medical support paid to the party having physical custody of the minor child shall be the property of such party except as provided in section 43-512.07. The clerk of the district court shall maintain a record, separate from all other judgment dockets, of all decrees and orders in which the payment of child support, cash medical support, or spousal support has been ordered, whether ordered by a district court, county court, separate juvenile court, or county court sitting as a juvenile court. Orders for child support or cash medical support in cases in which a party has applied for services under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, shall be reviewed as provided in sections 43-512.12 to 43-512.18.

(5) Whenever termination of parental rights is placed in issue the court shall transfer jurisdiction to a juvenile court established pursuant to the Nebraska Juvenile Code unless a showing is made that the county court or district court is a more appropriate forum. In making such determination, the court may consider such factors as cost to the parties, undue delay, congestion of dockets, and relative resources available for investigative and supervisory assistance. A determination that the county court or district court is a more appropriate forum shall not be a final order for the purpose of enabling an appeal. If no such transfer is made, the court shall conduct the termination of parental rights proceeding as provided in the Nebraska Juvenile Code.

(6) Modification proceedings relating to support, custody, parenting time, visitation, other access, or removal of children from the jurisdiction of the court shall be commenced by filing a complaint to modify. Modification of a parenting plan is governed by the Parenting Act. Proceedings to modify a parenting plan shall be commenced by filing a complaint to modify. Such actions shall be referred to mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution as provided in the Parenting Act. For good cause shown and (a) when both parents agree and such parental agreement is bona fide and not asserted to avoid the purposes of the Parenting Act, or (b) when mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution is not possible without undue delay or hardship to either parent, the mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution requirement may be waived by the court. In such a case where waiver of the mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution is sought, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing and the burden of proof for the party or parties seeking waiver is by clear and convincing evidence. Service of process and other procedure shall comply with the requirements for a dissolution action.

(7) In any proceeding under this section relating to custody of a child of school age, certified copies of school records relating to attendance and academic progress of such child are admissible in evidence.

Source:Laws 1983, LB 138, § 1; Laws 1985, LB 612, § 1; Laws 1985, Second Spec. Sess., LB 7, § 16; Laws 1991, LB 457, § 3; Laws 1991, LB 715, § 1; Laws 1993, LB 629, § 21; Laws 1994, LB 490, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 1296, § 15; Laws 1997, LB 752, § 96; Laws 2004, LB 1207, § 25; Laws 2006, LB 1113, § 35; Laws 2007, LB554, § 32; Laws 2008, LB1014, § 32; Laws 2009, LB288, § 5; Laws 2010, LB901, § 1; Laws 2013, LB561, § 5.

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