Deena M. Cook, appellee,
Joshua J. Cook, appellant.
Divorce: Child Custody: Child Support: Property
Division: Alimony: Attorney Fees: Appeal and Error.
In a marital dissolution action, 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.
Evidence: Appeal and Error. In a review de
novo on the record, an appellate court reappraises the
evidence as presented by the record and reaches its own
independent conclusions with respect to the matters at issue.
Judges: Words and Phrases. A judicial abuse
of discretion exists if the reasons or rulings of a trial
judge are clearly untenable, unfairly depriving a litigant of
a substantial right and denying just results in matters
submitted for disposition.
Child Custody: Visitation: Courts. A trial
court has an independent responsibility to determine
questions of custody and visitation of minor children
according to their best interests, which responsibility
cannot be controlled by an agreement or stipulation of the
Divorce: Child Custody: Evidence. If the
court disapproves of a custody stipulation, it must give the
parties an opportunity to present evidence relevant to a
complete reexamination of the question of custody.
Divorce: Child Custody. Personal
observations by the court are not sufficient to support an
award of custody in a dissolution proceeding in the absence
of evidence establishing the best interests of the child.
___.A court is required to review a parenting plan and
determine if it meets the requirements of the Parenting Act
and if it is in the best interests of the minor child or
Neb.App. 138] 8. ___: ___. If a parenting plan lacks any of
the elements required by the Parenting Act or is not in the
child's best interests, the court shall modify and
approve the parenting plan as modified, reject the parenting
plan and order the parties to develop a new parenting plan,
or reject the parenting plan and create a parenting plan that
meets all the required elements and is in the best interests
of the child.
___. If a court rejects a stipulated parenting plan, it must
provide written findings as to why the parenting plan is not
in the best interests of the child.
Divorce: Property Division. Equitable
division of property is a three-step process: (1) classify
the parties' property as marital or nonmarital, setting
aside the nonmarital property to the party who brought that
property to the marriage; (2) value the marital assets and
marital liabilities of the parties; and (3) calculate and
divide the net marital estate between the parties in
accordance with the principles contained in Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 42-365 (Reissue 2016).
___: ___. All property accumulated and acquired by either
spouse during the marriage is part of the marital estate,
unless it falls within an exception to this general rule.
Antenuptial Agreements: Property Division. A
premarital agreement allows prospective spouses to avoid the
application of the general rule that all property accumulated
and acquired by either spouse during marriage is part of the
Antenuptial Agreements: Proof. The party
opposing enforcement of a premarital agreement has the burden
of proving that the agreement is not enforceable.
Antenuptial Agreements. Nebraska's
Uniform Premarital Agreement Act broadly allows prospective
spouses to protect their interests during a marriage and in
contemplation of a divorce through a premarital agreement.
Antenuptial Agreements: Property Division.
Nebraska's Uniform Premarital Agreement Act specifically
allows prospective spouses to create premarital agreements
providing that property acquired by each of the parties
during the marriage, which by definition includes income
separately earned, is to be his or her separate property.
Property Division. A marital debt is one
incurred during the marriage and before the date of
separation by either spouse or both spouses for the joint
benefit of the parties.
from the District Court for Custer County: Karin L. Noakes,
Judge. Affirmed in part as modified, and in part reversed and
remanded for further proceedings.
Neb.App. 139] Nathan T. Bruner, of Bruner Frank, L.L.C., for
Michael S. Borders, of Borders Law Office, for appellee.
Chief Judge, and Arterburn and Welch, Judges.
marriage of Deena M. Cook and Joshua J. Cook was dissolved by
a decree of the district court for Custer County. Before the
marriage, Joshua and Deena signed a premarital agreement that
provided for separate ownership of their present or future
property. They also submitted a stipulated parenting plan
that provided the parties would share joint final say in
certain parenting decisions regarding their children. The
district court found certain agricultural assets and a joint
operating debt to be part of the marital estate. The court
also altered the stipulated parenting plan, giving Deena
final decisionmaking authority over the children. On appeal,