Metzler v. Metzler (Nebraska 2018)

25 Neb. App. 757 (Neb. Ct. App. 2018)
April 2018

Due process requires that a court have personal jurisdiction over a nonresident parent before it can determine child support. For a court to have personal jurisdiction over a parent, the parent must have minimum contacts with the state of Nebraska such that the parent could expect to be called into court. The father, a Nebraska resident, filed for divorce in Nebraska and asked the court to determine custody and child support. He served the mother in Pennsylvania. The mother, who had never been to Nebraska, filed to dismiss for a lack of jurisdiction, and the district court granted the motion. The father appealed. The Court of Appeals found that while the court has jurisdiction to dissolve the marriage, it does not have jurisdiction to determine custody and support. The Court of Appeals noted that the state has an interest in the marital status of its residents that justifies dissolving a marriage for a properly domiciled person. However, to decide custody and support, the parties must have sufficient contacts with the state of Nebraska. In this case, the mother and the children have had no contract with Nebraska. The parents married and separated in Canada, and the mother and children had never visited Nebraska.