Divorce & Annulment Article


Divorce on the Navajo Nation - Grounds and Requirements

Divorce on the Navajo Nation:  Grounds and requirements

 

What are the grounds for divorce on the Navajo Nation?

A.       Underage.  The person asking for a divorce (the “Petitioner”) was under age 18 when (s)he got married.  This is not grounds if the Petitioner freely lived with the other person as husband and wife after reaching age 18.

B.      Former marriage.  If the husband or wife was already married to someone else (including common law marriage) when they married each other.

C.      Adultery.  Unlawful voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one of the opposite sex.

D.      Abandonment/Expulsion.  If either person willfully abandoned the other, or caused the Petitioner to leave against his/her wishes, for a period of six months before filing for divorce.

E.       Alcohol/narcotics.  When one of the spouses uses alcohol or drugs habitually to the mental anguish of the other.

F.       Abuse.  When one spouse inflicts “grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering” on the other.

G.     Neglect.  When the husband fails to support his family “according to his means, station in life, and ability.”

H.     Inability to live together in agreement and harmony.

I.        Pregnancy by another man.  In the husband’s favor if the wife was pregnant by another man when she married her husband, and the husband was unaware of it.  The divorce must be filed within a reasonable time after the husband learns of the (true nature of the) pregnancy.

J.        One-year separation.   Voluntary separation of the husband and wife for one year or more.

 

What are the requirements for filing for divorce?

 

“Personal jurisdiction.”   For the Navajo courts to “reach” the parties, the spouses must have “minimum contacts” with the Navajo Nation—they’re enrolled members of the tribe, or are eligible for enrollment, they lived, worked, spent time on, or visited the Navajo Nation, or children were conceived on the reservation.  “Personal jurisdiction” can be waived—regardless of who you are, if you come to the Navajo Court (or file a document with the court), you “submit yourself to the jurisdiction” of the Navajo Court.

 

90-Day Requirement.  The petitioner must live on the Navajo reservation for at least 90 days before filing for divorce in the Navajo Nation Family Court.

 

“Subject Matter Jurisdiction.”  The Navajo Nation has “original, exclusive” jurisdiction over domestic relations (including divorces) involving members of the Navajo Nation, or those eligible for enrollment with the Navajo Nation.  This means that divorce cases involving Navajo spouses or Navajo children must be filed in the Navajo Nation Family Court.  If neither spouse is Navajo (but they lived on the reservation), they can (but do not have to) file in the Navajo court.  Filing in state court is generally more expensive, more paperwork, and can take more time than filing in Navajo court; child support guidelines and alimony awards in NM and AZ state courts are very similar to those in Navajo courts.

 

Filing Fee.  The filing fee is $10, and it must be paid to the Family Court of the Navajo Nation when a divorce petition is filed with the Court.  There may be additional money needed if the spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, and the Petitioner has to publish legal notice in the newspaper.

 


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I am the Respondent. I received a "Notice of Resolution Management Conference." (b) says I must comply with all disclosure requirements. I found the Disclosure Statement, but I don't know if I file it with the court or bring it with me to the conference. In my Response paperwork, I thought I read that I do not file it. Thank you
  • My husband & I both agree on the dissolution of our covenant marriage. We have filed with Maricopa County Courts. I need to know if I have the proper forms to include with the standard forms given to me thru the court house.
  • If i have always had a savings account under my name only can the other party claim it?
  • I am trying to find the dissolution of marriage papers for cochise county, I've looked on the website for Self-Service Center and only see them for every county other than Cochise. Please Help!
  • I am finalizing my divorce decree, and my previous lawyer added his fees to my decree with a date when payments needs to start. I am completely broke, lost my job and all my money. I won’t be able to pay his payments set up on the decree. Can file bankruptcy and get ridge of this debt?
  • Through my divorce my ex new how to take advantage of my situation which was my drug abuse issue she her attorney and the judge knew I was high on heroin and meth through the whole divorce I did lie when asked at court if I was high but everyone knew it. I am now clean 85 days and realized how bad I have been taken advance of . All my money my belongings were taken by her as she had an order of protection she had a high dollar attorney and got screwed. Az law states if I were under the influence then the divorce is not valid is this true??!
  • I got married in another country in 2002. I have lived in Arizona about 5 years. Can I get a divorce here without my husband?
  • I was married in Mexico to a college friend who was deported. We were married 3 years ago. I came back to AZ and have not seen him since, we talk regularly but he has no plans on returning to the states. Is filing for a divorce in Arizona possible, and could I file for an annulment considering we never consummated the marriage?
  • Where can I find past cases in Arizona where Alimony was not granted.
  • I have been seperated from my wife for over 18 years but we are still married. What do i need to do to get a divorce?

STORIES

  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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