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

  • We live in Tucson, AZ, and my husband is going to file a divorce paper. We married in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. We have been married for 23 years. We both are not working, but he has a girlfriend during our marriage and she is working.  My question is he told me he doesn't need to pay me his social security or any spousal support due to he doesn't work. Also since he bought the house before our marriage which we are living now. In my marriage, this house all the repair, utility, property tax are from our joint account. Now he told me I have no right to this house. It is true what he told me.  
  • where can i get free or very low help in filling out a qualified domestic relations order (qdro)
  • I am out of State and was told I need to petition the judge to accept the parenting class. I do not know what form to use to petition the judge to accept the class.
  • I've been married for 20 years and now getting a divorce. My husband was in the military 19 years of that. Do I still get half his pension?
  • We have a covenant marriage there has been abuse on both sides I've wanted a divorce he refuses to give me one. I cannot find any forms to fill out can someone help me with a template or some kind of help please I can't live like this anymore I hate that he lies all the time I hate him I just want a divorce
  • How do i go about divorcing a native american if we married at the end of Feburary of this year.
  • My wife signed a online prenatal that was notarized that basically stated her debt is hers and mine is mine and her finances are hers and mine are mine. We tried to make it work for 3 1/2 years but it’s not working. I brought a house while we were married and put $75,000 down, all my money. We are both on mortgages though. She agreed if we divorced the $75,000 I put down. I would get back and would split any extra money from the sale of the house. Now she has changed her mind and wants to keep the house but there is no way she can buy me out. What are the chases I get my $75,000 back after
  • I have recently moved back to arizona,my husband resides in illinois and has filed for divorce. I was told i can't file any papers here to respond to what i was served, and i have no idea what to do or what is going on. Can someone please help me
  • In the military, is retired pay divided?
  • What reasons must I have in order to get a divorce?

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