Nebraska Revised Statute 43-512.04
Child support or medical support; separate action allowed; procedure; presumption; decree; contempt.
(1) An action for child support or medical support may be brought separate and apart from any action for dissolution of marriage. The complaint initiating the action shall be filed with the clerk of the district court and may be heard by the county court or the district court as provided in section 25-2740. Such action for support may be filed on behalf of a child:
(a) Whose paternity has been established (i) by prior judicial order in this state, (ii) by a prior determination of paternity made by any other state or by an Indian tribe as described in subsection (1) of section 43-1406, or (iii) by the marriage of his or her parents as described in section 42-377 or subsection (2) of section 43-1406; or
(2) The father, not having entered into a judicially approved settlement or being in default in the performance of the same, may be made a respondent in such action. The mother of the child may also be made a respondent in such an action. Such action shall be commenced by a complaint of the mother of the child, the father of the child whose paternity has been established, the guardian or next friend of the child, the county attorney, or an authorized attorney.
(3) The complaint shall set forth the basis on which paternity was previously established or presumed, if the respondent is the father, and the fact of nonsupport and shall ask that the father, the mother, or both parents be ordered to provide for the support of the child. Summons shall issue against the father, the mother, or both parents and be served as in other civil proceedings, except that such summons may be directed to the sheriff of any county in the state and may be served in any county. The method of trial shall be the same as in actions formerly cognizable in equity, and jurisdiction to hear and determine such actions for support is hereby vested in the district court of the district or the county court of the county where the child is domiciled or found or, for cases under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act if the child is not domiciled or found in Nebraska, where the parent of the child is domiciled.
(4) In such proceeding, if the defendant is the presumed father as described in subdivision (1)(b) of this section, the court shall make a finding whether or not the presumption of paternity has been rebutted. The presumption of paternity created by acknowledgment as described in section 43-1409 may be rebutted as part of an equitable proceeding to establish support by genetic testing results which exclude the alleged father as being the biological father of the child. A court in such a proceeding may order genetic testing as provided in sections 43-1414 to 43-1418.
(5) If the court finds that the father, the mother, or both parents have failed adequately to support the child, the court shall issue a decree directing him, her, or them to do so, specifying the amount of such support, the manner in which it shall be furnished, and the amount, if any, of any court costs and attorney's fees to be paid by the father, the mother, or both parents. Income withholding shall be ordered pursuant to the Income Withholding for Child Support Act. The court may require the furnishing of bond to insure the performance of the decree in the same manner as is provided for in section 42-358.05 or 43-1405. Failure on the part of the defendant to perform the terms of such decree shall constitute contempt of court and may be dealt with in the same manner as other contempts. The court may also order medical support and the payment of expenses as described in section 43-1407.
Any order imposing an obligation of child support is necessarily a legal determination of paternity. Fetherkile v. Fetherkile, 299 Neb. 76, 907 N.W.2d 275 (2018).
When making a determination of child support under section 42-364, the court must take into account and give effect to an existing order of support under this section. The court may order the existing order to remain in effect without modification after considering whether modification is warranted. Fetherkile v. Fetherkile, 299 Neb. 76, 907 N.W.2d 275 (2018).
Subsection (5) of this section specifically provides that attorney fees and costs are allowed in paternity and child support cases brought by a child's mother, father, or guardian or next friend, the county attorney, or another authorized attorney. To the extent State ex rel. Reitz v. Ringer, 244 Neb. 976, 510 N.W.2d 294 (1994), holds otherwise, it is overruled. Cross v. Perreten, 257 Neb. 776, 600 N.W.2d 780 (1999).
Child support orders entered under sections 42-347 to 42-379 must give effect to child support orders under this section. Robbins v. Robbins, 219 Neb. 151, 361 N.W.2d 519 (1985).
This section provides that attorney fees and costs are recoverable in paternity and child support cases, and an award of such fees and costs will be upheld on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. Morrill County on Behalf of Cahoy v. Darsaklis, 7 Neb. App. 489, 584 N.W.2d 36 (1998).