In divorce, paternity or modification cases that involve minor children, Nebraska law requires compliance with the Nebraska Parenting Act. Pursuant to those laws, if parents cannot agree on custody and how to share parenting time and responsibilities, they must participate in mediation to try to resolve their differences before they can go to trial for a final decision by a judge. Mediation can help parents reasonably discuss important, but often difficult, issues such as how they can continue to co-parent their children in substantive ways from two separate households following divorce. Mediators help parents consider the children’s best interests when discussing each parent’s individual preferences on these matters. Parents will be engaged in discussions about how to share parenting time during the school year, summer, and for holidays, as well as what issues need to be considered when the children transition between homes. It is important for parents to determine their best means of communication with each other and with the children. Parents also need to agree on consistency between households so there is continuity of expectations for children regarding behavior, academics, and other activities and people that impact their children’s lives. When parents discuss and reach agreement on these matters, our mediators promptly prepare Parenting Plans that are ready for presentation to the court. A Parenting Plan will generally be accompanied by a Property Settlement Agreement that will include details of all financial aspects of the divorce, such as child support, alimony, division of personal and real property, daycare, health insurance, and so forth. For more information on the financial aspects of divorce, please see the information provided under the Divorce tab.
Nebraska law requires that mediation involving issues pertaining to children be done only by Parenting Act mediators who have been trained in accordance with Nebraska law, and approved by the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution. A list of approved Parenting Act mediators can be found at the Nebraska Supreme Court’s website.
Richard Sievers is a trained, approved, and experienced Parenting Act mediator. In addition to mediation experience, he has considerable experience as an attorney in family law and general civil litigation. As a judge, Richard has been involved in the appellate review of hundreds of trial court decisions involving child custody, parenting time, child support, and requests to remove minor children from Nebraska. Richard assists parents by facilitating honest and open communication that focuses on the children’s best interests, and guides parents to mediated agreements (Parenting Plans). Developing a Parenting Plan through mediation avoids the time-consuming, emotional, and expensive litigation process, and helps parents move forward in a more cooperative, amicable parenting relationship despite a divorce, paternity or modification action.