State of Nebraska on behalf of Walter E. v. Mark E. (Nebraska 2019)
The existence of a juvenile court child support order divests the district court of jurisdiction to enter a second order. The State of Nebraska filed a petition in juvenile court for custody and placement of a child. The decree ordered the State to pay for all placement costs not covered by the parents’ insurance. The State subsequently filed a petition in district court to establish a child support order against the father. The referee’s report recommended the father pay support. The father took exception and filed a petition to dismiss. After a hearing, the district court dismissed the State’s petition finding that there was already an order in place and res judicata prevented entry of an additional order. The State appealed. The Supreme Court found that the district court had no jurisdiction to enter a support order. The Supreme Court found the juvenile court entered a support order, which was within its statutory ability. Therefore, the State had no jurisdiction to file for support in district court because the statute only allows such a petition when there is no existing support order. The Supreme Court found no need to apply res judicata.