Benjamin J. Schmeidler, appellant,
Jessica F. Schmeidler, appellee.
Divorce: Child Custody: Child Support: Property
Division: Alimony: Appeal and Error. An appellate
court's review in an action for dissolution of marriage
is 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, and
Divorce: Child Custody. When custody of a
minor child is an issue in a proceeding to dissolve the
marriage of the child's parents, child custody is
determined by parental fitness and the child's best
Child Custody. When both parents are found
to be fit, the inquiry for the court is the best interests of
.In determining a child's best interests under Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 42-364 (Reissue 2016), courts may consider
factors such as general considerations of moral fitness of
the child's parents, including the parents' sexual
conduct; respective environments offered by each parent; the
emotional relationship between child and parents; the age,
sex, and health of the child and the parents; the effect on
the child as the result of continuing or disrupting an
existing relationship; the attitude and stability of each
parent's character; parental capacity to provide physical
care and satisfy educational needs of the child; and many
other factors relevant to the general health, welfare, and
well-being of the child.
Evidence: Appeal and Error. Where credible
evidence is in conflict on a material issue of fact, the
appellate court considers, and may give weight to, the fact
that the trial court heard and observed the witnesses and
accepted one version of the facts rather than another.
Child Custody: Appeal and Error. In
contested custody cases, where material issues of fact are in
great dispute, the standard of review and the amount of
deference granted to the trial judge, who heard and [25
Neb.App. 803] observed the witnesses testify, are often
dispositive of whether the trial court's determination is
affirmed or reversed on appeal.
Child Custody. Joint physical custody must
be reserved for those cases where, in the judgment of the
trial court, the parents are of such maturity that the
arrangement will not operate to allow the child to manipulate
the parents or confuse the child's sense of direction,
and will provide a stable atmosphere for the child to adjust,
rather than perpetuating turmoil or custodial wars.
Courts typically do not award joint legal custody when the
parties are unable to communicate effectively.
Where the parties are unable to communicate and trust one
another, joint decisionmaking by the parents is not in the
child's best interests.
Visitation. The trial court has discretion
to set a reasonable parenting time schedule.
. The determination of the reasonableness of a parenting plan
is to be made on a case-by-case basis.
. Parenting time relates to continuing and fostering the
normal parental relationship of the noncustodial parent.
. The best interests of the children are the primary and
paramount considerations in determining and modifying
. Although limits on visitation are an extreme measure, they
may be warranted where they are in the best interests of the
Visitation: Courts: Stipulations. It is the
responsibility of the trial court to determine questions of
custody and visitation of minor children according to their
best interests. This is an independent responsibility and
cannot be controlled by the agreement or stipulation of the
parties themselves or by third parties.
Parent and Child. The best interests of a
child require a parenting arrangement which provides for a
child's safety, emotional growth, health, stability, and
Divorce: Property Division. Under Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 42-365 (Reissue 2016), the equitable division of
property is a three-step process. The first step is to
classify the parties' property as marital or nonmarital.
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.
___: ___. Property which one party brings into the marriage
is generally excluded from the marital estate.
Divorce: Property Division: Proof. The
burden of proof to show that property is nonmarital remains
with the person making the claim in a dissolution proceeding.
Neb.App. 804] 20. Property Division. Marital
debt includes only those obligations incurred during the
marriage for the joint benefit of the parties.
from the District Court for Clay County: Vicky L. Johnson,
Judge. Affirmed as modified.
D. Grafton, of Grafton Law Office, P.C., L.L.O., for
Benjamin H. Murray, of Germer, Murray & Johnson, for
Chief Judge, and Riedmann, Judge, and ...