Family Law

Your Family Law Attorney Can Be Your Strong Advocate

Choosing the right lawyer for your divorce custody or paternity case can have a long-lasting impact on your life. The decisions leading to the conclusion of your case may affect your relationships with your children and other family members, your parental rights and your finances for years to come.
I understand the importance of helping people make informed decisions in family law cases. At Ryan J. Lewis, P.C., LLO, communication is a focus. I can help ensure that you have the understanding and information necessary to make the decisions that are in your best interests.

About Divorce In Nebraska

Regardless of the troubles that have led you to the brink of divorce, it is important to understand the key facts in a divorce case:

  • You or your spouse must be a resident of Nebraska for at least one (1) year before filing your divorce with the court. The one exception is when you were married in Nebraska, have been married less than one (1) year, and have lived in Nebraska the entire time since your marriage.
  • Nebraska is a no-fault state. Neither spouse has to be guilty of any wrongdoing to file for a divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce it is going to happen.
  • Nebraska is a marital property/marital debt state. With a few exceptions, the general rule is that all property and debt that was acquired during the marriage gets split equally.
  • There is an automatic 60 day waiting period from the date that the Complaint for Dissolution is filed and served to when the divorce can be finalized.

About Child Custody

Whether you are filing for divorce or a custody or paternity case, it is important that you understand the key facts about child custody:

  • The Court will require that a Parenting Plan be developed to address child custody and parenting time. The parties can come to an agreement on a Parenting Plan on their own. If the parties cannot come to an agreement on their own, the Court will require that the parties go through formal mediation.
  • Both parties will be required to take a parenting education course approved by the Court.
  • There are two types of custody that must be addressed: Physical Custody and Legal Custody. Physical Custody is simply the amount of time the child or children spend with each parent. If a party’s parenting time exceeds 142 days per year, it will be considered joint physical custody. Legal Custody is determined by which parent has the final say in major decisions affecting the child’s life such as school, medical decisions and religion.
  • The Court will require that you provide a child support calculation. Nebraska has Child Support Guidelines. Every lawyer and every judge has the same child support calculator.
  • Child Custody and child support can be modified. As children grow, their needs change. It is normal to need to request changes in custody and support orders. Modifications may also be necessary if one or both spouses experience significant changes in income or move out of town.

Personal Injury | Civil Litigation

What Is Civil Litigation?

In legal terms, “litigation” refers to court proceedings.
In general, civil litigation arises when one person or party suffers a loss due to the actions or inactions of another. The purpose of civil litigation is to allow the plaintiff to recover financial compensation for their losses from the defendant.
Civil litigation cases at Ryan J. Lewis, P.C., LLO include Personal injury, Real Estate and contract litigation.

Personal Injury

 When someone is injured due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person, company, or entity, an experienced personal injury lawyer can be a source of strength and support.

Personal injury laws can be complex, and insurance companies may attempt to take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge. Hiring a personal injury lawyer ensures that you have a knowledgeable advocate who will work diligently to protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you need to move forward after a serious injury. I will work with you to understand the specifics of your case and seek fair compensation for any damages suffered as a result of the accident.

In a personal injury case I can help you with:

  • Analyzing the details of your case to determine liability
  • Gather evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and accident reports to support the claim
  • Prepare legal documents to be filed with court
  • Negotiate with insurance companies or defense attorneys on your behalf
  • Represent you in court
  • Educate you about laws related to personal injury cases
  • Advise on strategies for best possible outcome
  • Seek fair compensation for damages incurred due to the injury including medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering, property damage, etc.

Real Estate Law

Real estate law, or real property law, generally refers to the laws controlling the ownership or use of land. Real estate law is a branch of civil litigation law that covers the right to own, possess, use, and enjoy land. Real estate law directly or indirectly impacts most of us on a daily basis, affecting homeowners, renters, landlords, home buyers, and home sellers.

Real Estate Law governs the legal rights and responsibilities of individuals and businesses in state ownership and transfer of real property. Real property includes land and anything attached, such as buildings, homes, and natural resources.

Real Estate Law covers various legal issues, including property transactions, leasing, zoning, land use, construction, and dispute resolution. It is important for individuals and businesses involved in real estate transactions to have a clear understanding of these laws to ensure that their rights are protected, and their transactions are legally valid.

Protecting Property Rights

Real Estate Law helps protect the legal rights of property owners. This includes the right to use and enjoy their property, the right to sell or transfer their property, and the right to exclude others from their property.

Real Estate Law establishes legal requirements and procedures for property transactions, such as buying and selling property, leasing, and financing. By complying with these requirements and procedures, individuals and businesses can ensure that their transactions are legally valid and enforceable.

Real Estate Law provides a framework for resolving disputes related to real property, including disputes over ownership, boundaries, easements, and other issues. This includes litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration.

Overall, Real Estate Law plays a crucial role in protecting the legal rights of property owners, ensuring the legality of real estate transactions, regulating zoning and land use, addressing construction issues, and providing a means for resolving disputes related to real property.

Contract Law

A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two parties. A contract must contain these elements:

  • An offer by one party for goods or services.
  • An acceptance of the offer by the other party.
  • Consideration for the offer. There must be a “bargained-for” exchange of value to benefit both parties from the contract.
  • Mutual agreement. Both parties must agree to the terms of the contract. If either party changes any of the terms, it becomes a counteroffer.

Types of Contracts

Contracts come in various forms. They are valid and enforceable as long as they contain the elements mentioned above. Other elements may be necessary depending on the subject matter of the contract or the parties.

Verbal contract. A verbal contract is as valid as any other contract. It may be more difficult to prove in court.

Written contract. A written contract includes all the elements of a contract plus information. A written contract is evidence in court in cases of breach or fraud.

Breach of Contract Basics

A breach of contract exists when one party fails to fulfill its obligations. There are four types of breach:

  • Actual breach occurs when one party does not perform. 
  • Anticipatory breach occurs when one party expects the other party to breach and breaches first. 
  • Minor breach occurs when the breaching party has breached the contract in a small way. 
  • Material breach means that the breaching party has failed in a way that causes significant harm. A material breach is usually grounds for legal action by the non-breaching party.

Enforcing a Contract

  • Lack of capacity. Both parties must be able to consent to the agreement. Some people do not have the legal right to consent because of age, mental condition, or legal status.
  • Misrepresentation. Fraud, duress, or undue influence are all grounds for voiding a contract.
  • Unconscionability. If the terms of the contract are grossly unfair, or if the parties’ bargaining positions are unequal, the court may invalidate the contract.
  • Mistake. A mutual mistake happens when both parties are mistaken about the terms of the contract. This can void the contract. A unilateral mistake occurs when one party is mistaken. If the other party was aware of the mistake and used the error to their advantage, it becomes fraud or misrepresentation.


Trustworthy Probate Guidance

Administering an estate is a serious responsibility as well as a privilege. Close family members and other trusted individuals often take on this role. A person’s will may appoint a personal representative. If someone dies without a will, a relative can petition the Court to appoint them as the personal representative.

The responsibilities associated with being named as a personal representative typically come about at a stressful time after a loved one dies. Even more challenging is the fact that most people taking on these roles are doing so for the first time.

At Ryan J. Lewis, P.C., LLO, an experienced probate lawyer is ready to help. I will walk you through the process with reassurance. I will answer any questions you might have at every step along the way. I can guide you from the outset or come on board to help you at any point in the probate process.

Fulfilling The Responsibilities of Estate Administration

I can assist you in fulfilling the responsibilities of a personal representative as follows:

  • Locating and analyzing the will
  • Creating an inventory of assets and debts
  • Setting up a bank account for the estate
  • Managing the payment of debts and expenses
  • Preparing inheritance tax documents
  • Distributing assets
  • Closing the estate

This process may take several months or even a year or longer. I am efficient and conscientious about keeping my legal services cost-effective. If I were your probate attorney, I would keep you on track, communicate clearly, and facilitate efficient, accurate completion through all phases of the process.

Discuss your situation and concerns with me. I am ready to lift your burdens and help you move lawfully and in a timely manner through the probate and estate administration process.

Purposeful and Effective Estate Planning

Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy. Even people of modest means will want to have some sort of estate plan to express their wishes about health care decisions and who should receive their assets and belongings after they are gone.

Without the proper estate planning documentation in place, important decisions can be left up to the Courts or determined by state laws.

Intestate cases (where there is no will) sometimes have consequences that would have dismayed the deceased, such as when inheritances go to estranged family members by default. Even if family members cooperate, they will likely face trouble and expenses that a simple will could have prevented.

I welcome the opportunity to guide people from all walks of life in creating straightforward and necessary estate plans. I can help with a full range of estate planning documents and related legal issues. Everyone should have the following documents in place:

  • Will
  • Financial power of attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Living Will

Discuss your legacy goals and other key issues, such as health care preferences, with me, an experienced, attentive estate planning attorney.

About Guardianship/ Conservatorship

When an individual is unable to care for him or herself, either due to age, disability, an impairment, or incapacitation, the court can appoint a guardian or conservator. Guardians and conservators are individuals who have legal authority to provide for another person’s physical and/or financial needs.

What Is the Difference Between a Guardian and Conservator

Although guardianships and conservatorships are very similar, they also have several key differences. The primary function of both a guardian and a conservator is to protect and provide for a person who is unable to provide for him or herself.

The main difference between the two is:

  • A guardian is someone who makes personal and healthcare decisions on behalf of a protected person (known as the “ward”). Guardians are allowed to make decisions regarding where the ward will live, what type of medical and/or health care they will receive, and, if a minor, what school they will attend.
  • A conservator is someone who makes financial decisions on behalf of the protected person.
    Conservators are limited to making financial decisions, including managing finances, paying bills, and managing bank accounts.

The process of becoming a guardian or conservator is often extremely complicated, form intensive and time-consuming. Ryan J. Lewis, P.C., LLO has the experience and resources to help. I provide the personalized guidance you need, as well as the dedicated advocacy you deserve.

About Adoption

Adoption requires careful attention to legal requirements. The most common adoption I see is a stepparent adoption. It is important that you understand the key facts to a stepparent adoption:

  • The stepchild must have lived with the stepparent for at least 6 months, and the stepparent must have lived in Nebraska for at least 1 year.
  • Most of the time, both biological parents will need to give their permission for the stepparent to adopt this child. Reasons for not requiring the absent parent’s consent to the adoption may include neglect, incarceration, or proving the biological parent is unable or unfit to be the parent.
  • If the stepchild is over the age of 14, they must give their written consent to the adoption and must understand that adoption will mean that the other birth parent will no longer be a legal part of their life.
  • As implied, the spouse of one of the child’s parents adopts the child legally. This process, in turn, terminates the parental rights of the non-custodial, biological parent.