Nebraska Revised Statute 43-2922
For purposes of the Parenting Act:
(1) Appropriate means reflective of the developmental abilities of the child taking into account any cultural traditions that are within the boundaries of state and federal law;
(2) Approved mediation center means a mediation center approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution;
(3) Best interests of the child means the determination made taking into account the requirements stated in section 43-2923 or the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act if such act applies;
(4) Child means a minor under nineteen years of age;
(5) Child abuse or neglect has the same meaning as in section 28-710;
(6) Court conciliation program means a court-based conciliation program under the Conciliation Court Law;
(7) Custody includes legal custody and physical custody;
(8) Domestic intimate partner abuse means an act of abuse as defined in section 42-903 and a pattern or history of abuse evidenced by one or more of the following acts: Physical or sexual assault, threats of physical assault or sexual assault, stalking, harassment, mental cruelty, emotional abuse, intimidation, isolation, economic abuse, or coercion against any current or past intimate partner, or an abuser using a child to establish or maintain power and control over any current or past intimate partner, and, when they contribute to the coercion or intimidation of an intimate partner, acts of child abuse or neglect or threats of such acts, cruel mistreatment or cruel neglect of an animal as defined in section 28-1008, or threats of such acts, and other acts of abuse, assault, or harassment, or threats of such acts against other family or household members. A finding by a child protection agency shall not be considered res judicata or collateral estoppel regarding an act of child abuse or neglect or a threat of such act, and shall not be considered by the court unless each parent is afforded the opportunity to challenge any such determination;
(9) Economic abuse means causing or attempting to cause an individual to be financially dependent by maintaining total control over the individual's financial resources, including, but not limited to, withholding access to money or credit cards, forbidding attendance at school or employment, stealing from or defrauding of money or assets, exploiting the victim's resources for personal gain of the abuser, or withholding physical resources such as food, clothing, necessary medications, or shelter;
(10) Emotional abuse means a pattern of acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics, including, but not limited to, threatening or intimidating to gain compliance, destruction of the victim's personal property or threats to do so, violence to an animal or object in the presence of the victim as a way to instill fear, yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, mocking, or criticizing the victim, possessiveness, or isolation from friends and family. Emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal;
(11) Joint legal custody means mutual authority and responsibility of the parents for making mutual fundamental decisions regarding the child's welfare, including choices regarding education and health;
(12) Joint physical custody means mutual authority and responsibility of the parents regarding the child's place of residence and the exertion of continuous blocks of parenting time by both parents over the child for significant periods of time;
(13) Legal custody means the authority and responsibility for making fundamental decisions regarding the child's welfare, including choices regarding education and health;
(14) Mediation means a method of nonjudicial intervention in which a trained, neutral third-party mediator, who has no decisionmaking authority, provides a structured process in which individuals and families in conflict work through parenting and other related family issues with the goal of achieving a voluntary, mutually agreeable parenting plan or related resolution;
(15) Mediator means a mediator authorized to provide mediation under section 43-2938 and acting in accordance with the Parenting Act;
(16) Office of Dispute Resolution means the office established under section 25-2904;
(17) Parenting functions means those aspects of the relationship in which a parent or person in the parenting role makes fundamental decisions and performs fundamental functions necessary for the care and development of a child. Parenting functions include, but are not limited to:
(a) Maintaining a safe, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with the child;
(b) Attending to the ongoing developmental needs of the child, including feeding, clothing, physical care and grooming, health and medical needs, emotional stability, supervision, and appropriate conflict resolution skills and engaging in other activities appropriate to the healthy development of the child within the social and economic circumstances of the family;
(c) Attending to adequate education for the child, including remedial or other special education essential to the best interests of the child;
(d) Assisting the child in maintaining a safe, positive, and appropriate relationship with each parent and other family members, including establishing and maintaining the authority and responsibilities of each party with respect to the child and honoring the parenting plan duties and responsibilities;
(e) Minimizing the child's exposure to harmful parental conflict;
(f) Assisting the child in developing skills to maintain safe, positive, and appropriate interpersonal relationships; and
(g) Exercising appropriate support for social, academic, athletic, or other special interests and abilities of the child within the social and economic circumstances of the family;
(18) Parenting plan means a plan for parenting the child that takes into account parenting functions;
(19) Parenting time, visitation, or other access means communication or time spent between the child and parent or stepparent, the child and a court-appointed guardian, or the child and another family member or members including stepbrothers or stepsisters;
(20) Physical custody means authority and responsibility regarding the child's place of residence and the exertion of continuous parenting time for significant periods of time;
(21) Provisions for safety means a plan developed to reduce risks of harm to children and adults who are victims of child abuse or neglect, domestic intimate partner abuse, or unresolved parental conflict;
(22) Remediation process means the method established in the parenting plan which maintains the best interests of the child and provides a means to identify, discuss, and attempt to resolve future circumstantial changes or conflicts regarding the parenting functions and which minimizes repeated litigation and utilizes judicial intervention as a last resort;
(23) Specialized alternative dispute resolution means a method of nonjudicial intervention in high conflict or domestic intimate partner abuse cases in which an approved specialized mediator facilitates voluntary mutual development of and agreement to a structured parenting plan, provisions for safety, a transition plan, or other related resolution between the parties;
(24) Transition plan means a plan developed to reduce exposure of the child and the adult to ongoing unresolved parental conflict during parenting time, visitation, or other access for the exercise of parental functions; and
(25) Unresolved parental conflict means persistent conflict in which parents are unable to resolve disputes about parenting functions which has a potentially harmful impact on a child.
1. Domestic intimate partner abuse
2. Joint legal custody
3. Parental relationship
4. Parenting time
1. Domestic intimate partner abuse
"Domestic intimate partner abuse," pursuant to subdivision (8) of this section, requires both attempting to cause or intentionally and knowingly causing bodily injury with or without a dangerous instrument to a family or household member and a pattern or history of abuse. Blank v. Blank, 303 Neb. 602, 930 N.W.2d 523 (2019).
2. Joint legal custody
In the absence of an explicit contrary definition in a parenting plan, the term "joint legal custody" must be construed according to its statutory definition in the Parenting Act. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 311 Neb. 495, 973 N.W.2d 171 (2022).
The definitions in the Parenting Act of "legal custody" and "joint legal custody" are terms of art having clear and unambiguous meaning. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 311 Neb. 495, 973 N.W.2d 171 (2022).
Under the Parenting Act, joint legal custody involves mutual authority and responsibility of the parents while legal custody does not. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 311 Neb. 495, 973 N.W.2d 171 (2022).
In a case where parents shared joint legal custody of the minor child, and neither parent had final decisionmaking authority, the mother's unilateral decision to change the minor child's school was a willful violation of the decree of dissolution of marriage. As such, this is a matter to be considered at an evidentiary hearing where the father could offer evidence to demonstrate both that a violation of the court order occurred and that the violation was willful. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 309 Neb. 376, 960 N.W.2d 309 (2021).
Joint legal custody is the joint authority and responsibility for making major decisions regarding the child's welfare, while sole legal custody essentially establishes that one party will have the final say in such decisions. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 309 Neb. 376, 960 N.W.2d 309 (2021).
Where the parenting plan indicates the parties were to share joint legal custody of the minor child, and where neither party was granted exclusive final decisionmaking authority, it is undisputed that the parties share mutual authority for making fundamental decisions regarding the minor child's welfare, including choices regarding education, such as where the minor child will attend school. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 309 Neb. 376, 960 N.W.2d 309 (2021).
Joint legal custody is separate and distinct from joint physical custody, and an appellate court will address each separately. Donald v. Donald, 296 Neb. 123, 892 N.W.2d 100 (2017).
An order governing custody was an award of "joint physical custody," rather than an award of "sole physical custody" to the mother, although the trial court referred to it as an award of "sole physical custody," where the custody order granted the father parenting time that amounted to seven overnights out of fourteen, and each parent was granted continuous blocks of parenting time for significant periods. State on behalf of Emery W. v. Michael W., 28 Neb. App. 956, 951 N.W.2d 177 (2020).
3. Parental relationship
Pursuant to subdivision (17) of this section, the parental relationship should be found to exist only if the facts and circumstances show that the individual means to take the place of the lawful parent, not only in providing support but also with reference to the natural parent's office of educating and instructing and caring for the general welfare of the child. The mother's former boyfriend did not stand in loco parentis to the child because he had a minimal role in fulfilling parenting functions during the parties' relationship and after their separation; his role primarily entailed playing with the child and looking after her for brief periods of time. Peister v. Eurek, 30 Neb. App. 366, 969 N.W.2d 134 (2021).
4. Parenting time
The mother's decision to move the child 4 hours away deprived the father of his court-ordered parenting time. Thus, the district court abused its discretion in failing to issue an order to show cause as to why the mother did not willfully violate the decree of dissolution in regard to the father's parenting time. Vyhlidal v. Vyhlidal, 309 Neb. 376, 960 N.W.2d 309 (2021).