Family court orders, which are typically part of a divorce or separation case, include orders such as alimony, child support, and child custody. Although these orders are legally binding and must be followed, there are situations where the court will alter them to better reflect a family’s changing lives. A Lincoln modification attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a modification and decide the ideal route to achieve it.

Making Modifications to Court Orders

When both parties agree on a modification to a court order, they can make that change and submit it to the court for approval. As long as the modification is not unfair to either party, the court will approve it. For court orders involving children, the modification must also be in the child’s interests to be approved.

However, when parents or ex-spouses do not agree on modifications, the modification process is slightly more complicated. The party who wants to modify the court order must petition the court to do so. They must prove that there is a significant and relevant change in circumstances. Court orders involving children must also be in the child’s interests. The relevant change in circumstance relies on the type of order that the party is requesting to modify, but it must be long-lasting and substantial.

Modifying Alimony

The purpose of alimony in Lincoln is to provide financial support to a spouse after a divorce if one spouse is in need and the other spouse has the ability to pay. To modify alimony, there must be a material and significant change in the financial circumstances of either party. Each case will be reviewed by the family court individually to determine if a modification is appropriate.

A significant change in financial circumstances could include either party:

  • Losing a job or suffering a decrease in income
  • Obtaining a raise or an increase in income
  • Gaining significant financial resources, such as an inheritance
  • Having new financial obligations, such as medical care

Either the spouse paying or receiving alimony can file to modify the payments. The filing party is responsible for proving that the situation qualifies for a material financial change in circumstances. Minor changes or changes that are only temporary are not considered material and significant.

Modifying Child Custody

For the court to consider modifying a child custody order, the following must be true:

  1. There has been a significant and continuous change in circumstances, which would have resulted in a different court order had the circumstances been present or known initially.
  2. The current custody order is no longer in the child’s interests.
  3. The new proposed custody order is beneficial to the child.

When a parent files for a modification of a custody order, they must inform the other parent that they are doing so. It is up to the court’s discretion whether to approve the modification. A material change in circumstance may include:

  • Either parent wishes to relocate.
  • A parent can no longer care for a child’s basic needs, such as food and shelter.
  • One parent has a severe and continued substance use disorder.
  • The child is living in an unsafe environment.
  • The child’s wishes have changed over time.

Each family court may consider different situations to be significant enough to warrant a modification.

Modifying Child Support

A modification of child support can be filed by either parent, but it requires there to be a significant and continuous financial change. The modification must also be in the child’s interests. A financial change includes:

  • The paying parent has had an increase in income or financial resources.
  • The paying parent’s income decreased, or they lost their job. They must also prove that this change was not their fault or done with the intent of lowering support payments.
  • The parent receiving child support has had an increase or decrease in income or financial resources.
  • The financial needs of the child have changed.
  • The custody order has been modified.

In Nebraska, this material financial change must result in the child support payments changing by at least 10% and not less than $25 to be considered significant. The change must also have lasted for at least three months prior to requesting the modification and be anticipated to last another six months.


Q: How Do I Modify a Custody Agreement in Nebraska?

A: If parents can agree on a modification to a custody arrangement, they can submit a change to their parenting plan for the court’s approval. If the change is in the child’s interests, the court may approve it. If parents do not agree to a change, one parent must petition the court to request a modification. The parent must prove that a change is in the child’s interest and that the current order is not in the child’s interests due to a substantial and continued change in circumstances.

Q: At What Age in Nebraska Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

A: A child can only legally choose who they want to live with at 18 when they are no longer a child. Before that time, the court will take a child’s wishes under advisement when determining custody orders. When a child is older, more mature, and demonstrates sound reasoning, the court is more likely to listen to their wishes. However, the court is never required to listen to a child’s preference, as the child’s interests always take priority.

Q: Can a Mother Move a Child Away From the Father in Nebraska?

A: In Nebraska, a parent who wishes to relocate with their children must provide the other parent with a written notice of those plans. If the parent who is given the notice does not consent to the move, then the issue must go to court. The parent who wishes to relocate must file a request to move, and the court will only grant the request if:

  1. The move is in good faith and not made simply to keep the children away from the other parent.
  2. The move is in the child’s interests.

Q: At What Age Does Child Support Stop in Nebraska?

A: Child support stops when:

  • It is determined to end by the child support court order.
  • The child has turned 19.
  • The child has died.
  • The child has been emancipated through a court order.
  • The child is married.

Before any of these situations, both parents are financially responsible for their children. Some court orders require support to last longer.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Lincoln

Stange Law Firm can help you gather evidence to prove that a modification is needed in your family’s life. Contact our firm today.