Juvenile Court Officially Welcomes Newest Addition

By 
David Golbitz
The Daily Record

By David Golbitz

The Daily Record

The Douglas County Juvenile Court officially welcomed its newest member last week during the investiture ceremony for Judge Candice J. Novak.

Novak was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Judge Christopher E. Kelly.

“You come to the Juvenile Court qualified by a reason of education, experience and training,” Judge Vernon Daniels told Novak during the ceremony. “How do I know that? It’s based on my observations of you as a judge, your service as a guardian ad litem, your service as an attorney for litigants in the juvenile court.”

Prior to her judicial appointment, Novak had served as a court-appointed attorney and guardian ad litem in Douglas County and Sarpy County juvenile courts since 2005. She had also served as a guardian ad litem in probate and custody matters in both Douglas and Sarpy counties.

“It was in the course of this position that what started out as an interest in juvenile court really grew into a passion and a foundation for me,” Novak said. “It was really fulfilling to be the voice for another person, especially when that person was a child.”

Novak graduated from the College of Saint Mary in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. She then earned her J.D. from the Creighton University School of Law in 2004. Before opening a solo legal practice in 2010, Novak worked as an associate attorney at the law office of Thomas Incontro.

It was while working at Incontro Law that Novak first began working as a guardian ad litem, representing children in juvenile court in abuse and neglect cases.

“I’m honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to dedicate my legal career to this area of law and to continue to serve our community in the capacity of a judge in such a specialized court,” Novak said.

“Whether you’re an attorney, a case manager, or one of the many service providers that becomes involved with a family in juvenile court, or even the judge, the process of watching a person heal and change themselves for the better and for the sake of their family is nothing short of amazing,” Novak said. “I’m anxious to continue to work alongside the many dedicated people who are just as committed to our families and our community as I am.”

Novak’s investiture ceremony was held last Friday in the Legislative Chambers of the Omaha-Douglas County Civic Center. A reception then followed at the Players Club at Deer Creek.

The ceremony was attended by Novak’s friends and family, as well as members of the judiciary, including Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican. Retired Juvenile Court Judge Wadie Thomas administered the oath of office following Daniels’ opening remarks.

“Judge, I can’t tell you that every day is going to be the best day on the bench, but I hope that when you get to the Judge Thomas and Judge Gendler stage of retirement and you look back over your judicial career, while they may not have all been the best days, it’s our hope that you will be able to say that they were all good days,” Daniels said. “Best wishes to you and welcome.”

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