A. Application. This Rule 3-9 shall apply to all cases classified by the State Court Administrator as a domestic case, including, without limitation, divorce; paternity; grandparent visitation; any matter within the court's jurisdiction which involves child custody, parenting time, or support; or any matter governed by the Parenting Act.
B. Motion to Set for Trial. Except as set forth below, after the case is at issue or answer day has passed without response and an Exhibit A has been filed by the moving party, counsel or a party proceeding pro se may file a motion to set the case for trial. The motion shall be set for hearing upon at least 7 days’ notice.
In cases involving children, a hearing on a motion to set the case for trial may not be set by the court until the moving party has filed a certificate showing completion of the parenting classes required by statute and has filed a Notice of Parenting Act Compliance, unless those requirements have been waived by the court.
C. Hearing on "Motion to Set for Trial." Each counsel or party proceeding pro se is to bring a completed Exhibit A (See Appendix Form 1) to the hearing. The matters to be covered at the hearing will include:
(1) Objections, if any, to the motion;
(2) Designation of the issues;
(3) Filing and exchange of an Exhibit A by the nonmoving party;
(4) Length of time for trial;
(5) Selecting a day and time for trial; and
(6) Additional mediation.
D. Document exchange prior to trial: Fourteen days prior to trial
(1) If there is no parenting plan to which the parties have agreed, counsel and parties proceeding pro se are to exchange with each other the parenting plan each intends to propose to the court.
(2) If there is no agreement on child support, counsel and parties proceeding pro se are to exchange with each other the child support calculation each intends to propose to the court together with the financial documents which support the proposed calculation.
(3) If there is no agreement on the division of assets and debts, counsel and parties proceeding pro se are to confer and jointly prepare a balance sheet or a joint property statement (Appendix Form 2) which shows the assets and debts of the marriage and how each party proposes to divide those assets and debts. If the issues include the division of household goods and furniture, a separate balance sheet or joint property statement (using Appendix Form 2) shall also be submitted showing how each party proposes the household goods and furniture be divided.
The parties are under a continuing duty to update all information that is required to appear on the Exhibit A; however, no amendment may be made to a party’s Exhibit A 5 or less days prior to trial without consent of the other party or leave of the court.
E. Child Support Guideline Calculations.
(1) In all matters in which a final order includes the setting of child support, a child support guideline calculation shall be completed in full (e.g., showing each party’s gross income) by the parties and submitted to the court. A copy of said child support guideline calculation shall be attached to every proposed order submitted to the court.
(2) If a deviation is proposed to be granted, the proposed order shall contain specific findings of fact which support the conclusion that a deviation is warranted, a completed worksheet 5 as specified in Neb. Ct. R. § 4-203, or both.
F. Parenting Plan. Each parenting plan submitted to the court shall contain a Parenting Time Schedule and shall set out, with specificity, the Parenting Responsibilities and Cooperation terms agreed to by the parties.
(a) Parenting Time Schedule. Appendix Form 3 is a standard parenting time schedule which, in the absence of unusual circumstances, the court finds provides reasonable parenting time for the noncustodial parent in cases in which the parties are unable to agree otherwise.
(b) Parenting Responsibilities and Cooperation. Appendix Form 4 contains the minimum parenting responsibilities and cooperation language that must be incorporated into each parenting plan. Additional responsibilities may be added as agreed to by the parties.
G. In the interests of preserving court time at final hearing or trial, the parties shall offer evidence in the format of Exhibit 1 (see Appendix Form 8). Nothing in this rule shall be construed to waive the requirement of live testimony, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
H. Decrees and Final Orders. All decrees or orders on domestic relations matters that are submitted to the court for signature must contain AS THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE DECREE OR ORDER the following paragraph:
To the extent there is any conflict between this Decree (Order) and any attachment or other document incorporated herein by reference, the language of this Decree (Order) shall supersede and control.
I. Modification Cases. Progression of modification cases shall proceed as set forth in this Rule 3‑9. Trials, hearings and pretrial matters on contested child support issues in which a child support order already exists shall be conducted by the district court referee. This does not apply to motions, applications or petitions in which non-child support issues are also raised. All scheduling matters of cases referred to the referee shall be presented to the referee. Matters assigned to the referee upon which the parties have reached written agreement may be submitted directly to the district court judge to whom the case is assigned, accompanied by an appropriate order.
J. Mediation. The court deems mediation to be a useful method to resolve disputes and begin to establish the new relationship the parties will need for the future of their children. Therefore, unless waived by the court, on and after July 1, 2010, in all cases governed by the Parenting Act, except those in which there are allegations of intimate domestic partner abuse or unresolved parental conflict as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2922, parties who have not executed an agreed upon Parenting Plan within 4 months after service of process or the filing of a voluntary appearance shall participate in mediation as set forth in the Parenting Act.
For cases in which there are allegations of intimate domestic partner abuse or unresolved parental conflict as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2922, parties who have not executed an agreed-upon Parenting Plan within 4 months after service of process or the filing of a voluntary appearance shall participate in the specialized alternative dispute resolution process as set forth in the Parenting Act unless waived by the court. The parties shall also participate in the specialized alternative dispute resolution process when referred there by a mediator.
Mediation or the alternative dispute resolution process shall be conducted by a person who qualifies as a Parenting Act mediator or approved specialized mediator as set forth in the Parenting Act and proceed under the standards of practice set forth in the Parenting Act and/or adopted by the State Court Administrator.
If a party fails to appear for mediation or the specialized dispute resolution process or fails to meaningfully participate in mediation or the specialized dispute resolution process, the court may impose sanctions including without limitation, dismissing the case for want of prosecution, assessing attorney fees and expenses incurred for trial and trial preparation, limiting the presentation of evidence, and such other sanction as may appear fair and just under the circumstances.
K. Specialized Alternative Dispute Resolution Process. The specialized alternative dispute resolution process shall begin with each parent meeting individually with a qualified mediator who shall educate each party about the process. The parties shall be allowed to have support persons attend sessions with them. The approved specialized mediator may establish such protocols for the process as he or she deems reasonable to protect the safety of any party, including a requirement that there be separate individual sessions for each party. Specialized alternative dispute resolution shall not proceed unless the parties are informed of the process, including any safety protocols that will be in effect and informed consent to proceed is obtained from both parties in writing.
L. Waiver and Opt-Out. The court may waive the requirement for mediation or permit the parties to opt-out of the specialized alternative dispute resolution process when
(1) there is good cause shown and the parents agree and such parental agreement is bona fide and not an attempt to avoid the purposes of the Parenting Act; or
(2) for good cause shown and when mediation or the specialized alternative dispute resolution process is not possible without undue delay or hardship to either parent.
Upon the filing of a motion for waiver or opt-out, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing. The burden of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence and rests with the party seeking the waiver or opt-out.
M. Disqualification. If a party believes there is good cause to disqualify or preclude another party from participating in the alternative dispute resolution process, that party may file a motion for disqualification or preclusion. After notice and a hearing on affidavits, the court, for good cause shown, may disqualify or preclude a party from participating.
N. Upon the completion or termination of mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution, the parties shall file a notice of completion or termination with court (See Appendix Form 7).
Approved effective September 29, 1995; amended December 23, 1999; Rule 3-9(F) amended December 20, 2000; Rule 3-9(G) amended July 14, 2004; Rule 3-9(H) amended July 14, 2004; Rule 3-9(E) amended November 2006; Rule 3-9 amended June 23, 2010; Rule 3-9 amended March 23, 2011.
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