Child Custody: States: Judgments. Whether a
child custody determination issued by a court of another
state may be registered in Nebraska presents a question of
Judgments: Appeal and Error. On a question
of law, an appellate court is obligated to reach a conclusion
independent of the determination reached by the court below.
Child Custody: Jurisdiction: Judgments. When
the registration procedure of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-1252
(Reissue 2016) has been followed and the registration is
either not contested or, after a hearing none of the grounds
under § 43-1252(d) have been established, the
registering court shall confirm the registered order.
Child Custody: Jurisdiction. Proceedings to
register a child custody determination from a foreign
jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act, with or without a simultaneous request for
enforcement, are generally ministerial, and concerns about
whether the registering court may properly exercise
jurisdiction over a subsequent child custody proceeding are
not yet implicated.
from the District Court for Seward County: James C. Stecker,
Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.
Nicholas R. Glasz for appellant.
Michael S. Kennedy, of Kennedy Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O., for
Neb. 122] Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy,
Funke, Papik, and Freudenberg, JJ.
Hollomon and Alex Taylor are the unmarried parents of a minor
child. After the State of Texas entered an order adjudicating
parentage and establishing a parenting plan, Hollomon
attempted to register the Texas order in Nebraska. The
district court for Seward County denied the request after
concluding it "should decline jurisdiction" under
the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
(UCCJEA). Hollomon appeals, and we reverse the order
and remand the cause with directions to register and confirm
the Texas order.
and Taylor had a child together in 2016. On June 11, 2018,
the district court for Van Zandt County, Texas, entered an
"Order Adjudicating Parentage" in case No.
FM16-00080. In addition to establishing paternity of the
minor child, the order approved the parties' mediated
parenting plan and addressed issues of custody, support, and
Texas order identified a "Seward, NE" address for
Hollomon and identified a Texas address for Taylor. The order
gave Holloman the "exclusive right to designate the
primary residence of [the child] without regard to geographic
location of [Taylor]." Taylor was ordered to maintain
health insurance for the child and to pay monthly child
support. The order also set out a "Possession
Order" which designated the parties' parenting time.
As relevant to the issues on appeal, the order established
two different possession schedules for the [303 Neb. 123]
child: one schedule for "Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or
Less Apart," and another for "Parents Who Reside
More Than 100 Miles Apart." Under the provisions
applicable to parents residing more than 100 miles apart,
Hollomon was given "a superior right of possession"
of the child. It does not appear that any provision of the
Texas order expressly required either Hollomon or Taylor to
reside in Texas.
August 15, 2018, about 2 months after the Texas order was
issued, Hollomon sought to register the order in the district
court for Seward County pursuant to § 43-1252. She filed
a certified copy of the Texas order, accompanied by her
affidavit requesting registration of the order in Nebraska.
She did not simultaneously request to enforce or modify the
Texas order. Hollomon's affidavit averred, among other
things, that (1) she had been awarded custody of the minor
child by the Texas order; (2) to the best of her knowledge
and belief, the Texas order had not been modified; (3) she
moved to Seward in November 2017 and intended to make
Nebraska her permanent home; and (4) she was currently living
with the child at an "undisclosed residence in Seward
County, Nebraska." Although the affidavit did not
explain why, Hollomon averred that the health, safety, or
liberty of Hollomon or the child would be jeopardized by
disclosure of her identifying information, and she asked that
the information be sealed pursuant to § 43-1246(e).
next day, pursuant to § 43-1252(c), the clerk of the
district court for Seward County sent notice to both Taylor
and the Texas court that a "child custody determination
issued by the court of Van Zandt County, Texas" in
"Cause Number FM: 16-00080" had been filed in the
district court for Seward County on August 15. The notice
(a) a registered determination is enforceable as of the date
of the registration in the same manner as a determination
issued by a court of this state;
[303 Neb. 124] (b) a hearing to contest the validity of the
registered determination shall be requested within twenty
days after service of notice; and
(c) failure to contest the registration will result in
confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude
further contest of that determination with respect to ...