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Lorenzen v. Lorenzen

Supreme Court of Nebraska

July 22, 2016

Jennifer Lorenzen, appellee,
v.
David M. Lorenzen, appellant.

         1. Divorce: Appeal and Error. In actions for dissolution of marriage, an appellate court reviews the case de novo on the record to determine whether there has been an abuse of discretion by the trial judge. This standard of review applies to the trial court's determinations regarding custody, child support, division of property, alimony, and attorney fees.

         2. Divorce: Property Division. The ultimate test in determining the appropriateness of the division of property is fairness and reasonableness as determined by the facts of each case.

         3. ___: ___. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-365 (Reissue 2008), the equitable division of property is a three-step process. The first step is to classify the parties' property as marital or nonmarital, setting aside the non-marital property to the party who brought that property to the marriage. The second step is to value the marital assets and marital liabilities of the parties. The third step is to calculate and divide the net marital estate between the parties in accordance with the principles contained in § 42-365.

         4. ___: ___. As a general rule, all property accumulated and acquired by either spouse during a marriage is part of the marital estate. 5. Divorce: Property Division: Pensions. Only that portion of a pension which is earned during the marriage is part of the marital estate.

         6. ___: ___: ___ . Generally, amounts added to and interest accrued on pensions or retirement accounts which have been earned during the marriage are part of the marital estate. Contributions to pensions before marriage or after dissolution are not assets of the marital estate.

         7. Social Security: Divorce. Social Security benefits themselves are not subject to direct division in a dissolution proceeding.

         8. Constitutional Law: Federal Acts: Social Security: Divorce: Property Division. The anti-assignment clause of the Social Security Act and the [294 Neb. 205] Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibit a direct offset to adjust for disproportionate Social Security benefits in the property division of a dissolution decree.

         Appeal from the District Court for Saunders County: Mary C. Gilbride, Judge.

          John H. Sohl for appellant.

          Mark J. Krieger and Terri M. Weeks, of Bowman & Krieger, for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Kelch, JJ.

          Miller-Lerman, J.

         NATURE OF CASE

         David M. Lorenzen appeals from the property division portion of the decree of the district court for Saunders County dissolving his marriage to Jennifer Lorenzen. David claims that because the court determined that Jennifer's future Social Security benefits should not be considered part of the marital estate, the court erred when it included a certain portion of David's pension plan as marital ...


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