PR 06205.030 Nebraska

A. PR 06-006 Summary of State Laws on Divorce and Remarriage for Nebraska

DATE: November 14, 2005

1. SYLLABUS

Under Nebraska law for purposes of remarriage, other than remarriage between the parties, a divorce decree dissolves the marital relationship six months after it is rendered, or on the date of death of one of the parties to the dissolution, whichever occurs first.

2. OPINION

You asked whether the rules cited for the State of Nebraska under the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 00305.165 was changed by Legislative Bill 544 and should now read "[f]or purposes of remarriage, a divorce decree dissolves the marital relationship 30 days after its rendered . . ." rather than "six months after it's rendered." Based on our review of the applicable law, POMS GN 00305.165 is correct.

Section 42-372.01 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes states:

(1) Except for purposes of appeal as prescribed in section 42-372, for purposes of remarriage as prescribed in subsection (2) of this section, and for purposes of continuation of health insurance coverage as prescribed in subsection (3) of this section, a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative thirty days after the decree is entered or on the date of death of one of the parties to the dissolution, whichever occurs first. If the decree becomes final and operative upon the date of death of one of the parties to the dissolution, the decree shall be treated as if it became final and operative the date it was entered. (emphasis added)

(2) For purposes of remarriage, other than remarriage between the parties, a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative six months after the decree is entered or on the date of death of one of the parties to the dissolution, whichever occurs first. If the decree becomes final and operative upon the date of death of one of the parties of the dissolution, the decree shall be treated as if it became final and operative the date it was entered. (emphasis added)

Although the general rule in Nebraska is that a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative thirty days after the decree is entered, there are exceptions for purposes of appeal, remarriage, and continuation of health coverage. The POMS at issue correctly states that a divorce decree in Nebraska dissolves the marital relationship six months after it is rendered for purposes of remarriage. Therefore, no correction of POMS GN 00305.165 is necessary.

Frank V. S~ III
Chief Counsel,

Region VII
By_________________
Jeffrey J. L~
Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 01-053 Effective Date for Termination of Benefits Due to Divorce in Nebraska

DATE: August 23, 2000

1. SYLLABUS

Under Nebraska law, a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative 30 days after it is rendered, except for purposes of remarriage or continuation of health insurance in which case a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative 6 months after it is rendered. Therefore, for purposes of terminating benefits, a Nebraska divorce decree is effective 30 days after it is rendered.

2. OPINION

You have asked whether the termination of Social Security Spouse's benefits in Nebraska is thirty days or six months from the date a decree of divorce is rendered. For the reasons discussed below, we believe the termination of benefits is thirty days from the date the divorce decree is rendered.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The material you sent us indicates that field offices in Nebraska are not processing termination actions at the same time. You sent us a copy of a divorce decree from Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, that states: "The dissolution is final and operative on the day it was rendered for purposes of appeal, and in the event of the death of either party. It is final and operative six months from the day it was rendered for purposes of remarriage or purposes of continuation of health insurance coverage. It is final and operative 30 days from the day it was rendered for all other purposes." Some field offices in Nebraska have interpreted the language "for all other purposes" to include Social Security Spouse's benefits and terminate benefits after thirty days, while others have interpreted the language to mean that the marriage is not final for six months from the date rendered, and terminate benefits at that time.

ANALYSIS

Section 42-372.01 of the Nebraska Revised Statues provides that a decree dissolving a marriage becomes final and operative thirty days after the decree is rendered or on the date of death of one of the parties to the dissolution; however, the statute sets forth the following two exceptions: For purposes of remarriage, other than remarriage b