Family Law 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 16 years old and I've been through my dad's custody till I was 14 until on November 19 he died and thn my mom got custody but my older sister told her if she got half custody we could get her benefits like insurance wise so at the time I signed the papers and a year passes and my sister has taken it over board she thinks she has full custody and we only se our mom on the weekend or on breaks is that fair? And well I've done some bad things in the past an she uses that against me and my mom can she use that against my mom if my sister wants custody and do I have the right to say no?
  • I need help with questions I have immediately involving my court. I am native American and I wasn't explained properly on a form that was regarding the icwa law for native Americans,by neither MY court appointed attorney and my cps caseworker. As judge read it in court with the ending part stating if I fail to comply with court orders I will give up temporary parent rights, and asked do u understand what I just read? I replied no, because I didn't know the icwa law part, and then no one explained n e thing and right away judge said my kids will have appointed Guardian ad litem, please help me
  • Mi hijo quiere abandonar la highschool tiene 15 aƱos,que podemos hacer con el?
  • My mother has a 94 year male friend, who is a fall risk, what are her legal liabilities for having in her home. Should we have him sign a waiver?
  • I have filed for a divorced and was final in 2012. I was layed of from my job since March, Ive been working parttime, would I be albe to modify my child support and ask the court for alimony to , due to my youngest daughter illness that Iam needed to care for her. Iam renting 800 a month and i feel homeless, because I lived in his hometown for 28yrs and I had to relocate.
  • I have a 1 year old child. Her father went to prison when she was 2 months old. Now his mother is trying to get visitation with my daughter. Were set to go to trial in April. I'm not sure exactly what to do. I don't have a lawyer and I'm a full time single parent . I can't afford a lawyer. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do or file. I don't understand the terms or the paperwork at all. Can she get visitation if I don't get a lawyer or miss file the information?
  • I’m getting a divorce with my only means of income 100% Va Disability, and Military Retirement. This is my 2nd marriage, all military service was completed prior to this marriage. My first former spouse already receives a portion of my military retirement. Can my military retirement or a portion of it be awarded to my 2nd former spouse?
  • I have several questions that need an answer as soon as possible. I am trying to go back home to New Mexico, my homestate, but under custody issues I can not leave the state with my son. If I leave the state I am considered "kidnapping" and I will be in contempt of court. My entire network is in New Mexico and I would love to take my son with me. What should I do? I desperately need to get out of AZ.
  • I have a 3 year old son we are both Navajo, I havent seen or been with my sons dad shortly after my son's birth. When I was 7 months pregnant we had a dv issue and I would like to terminate his rights. How do i go about that?
  • If your under 18 and have a child are you considered an adult?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • 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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