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

  • how do I get a copy of my divorce paperwork
  • I just received a summons from my spouse for a court date for divorce but I have already filled and received a court date prior to that. Is this possible?
  • My husband and I have bad credit so his father put our house in his name because his credit score is better than ours and we ended up with a great house payment. He hasn't paid anything for this house he hasn't never stayed the night in this house please tell me there is something I can do if he decides to sell house. When we found house we all sat down and had an verbal agreement this house is our. What should I do what are my rights? I feel that I may not have a lot of time can I stop him or have everything halted until someone can do an investigation.
  • During the final divorce could I change my name back to my maiden name but also keep my married last name, Just hyphen it? EX: jane doe-smoe
  • I have three kids and my husband filed for divorce in Iowa...I moved to Arizona two weeks ago and I was wondering if I have to get a lawyer from Iowa or can I have a lawyer from Arizona...and does anyone know of how I would be able to get a lawyer for free because I am a single mother and can't afford a lawyer.
  • My husband and I are in the process of getting a divorce, am I able to purchase a house before the divorce is final?
  • I want to get a divorce.  I married my wife several years ago.  After we were married, I found out that our marriage ceremony occurred before my wife had legally divorced her previous husband.  Is my  marriage to my wife legal?  Do I need a divorce or annulment?
  • I'm trying to find legal help in regards to filing for divorce and custody. With very little funds.
  • I filled divorce last March 2010 and it was dismissed on April 30,2010 then I reinstate last May 2010? When will be the divorce final, from now I did not recieved any answer from the court?
  • I have run out of funds trying to Divorce my husband. He has a much higher income than I do. Also he is currently working in China. I have had custody of our 2 kids for 2 years. I filed last year, but he fought it and won. I want something legal to protect me financially .

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