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 divorce my husband when I don't know where he is haven't known for 11 years! I've 2 kids by him, I've been with a new man for the past 10 years i have a child with him do i have to include this child on the divorce papers?
  • He wants a divorce, I don't. What do I do?
  • I have been seoerated from my husband for the last 8 week. He told me to take my two boy age 6 & 8 and move to my sisters in Nevada. I have both boys in school here and have a new job . befor my paper were filed with the Nevada. He filed in AZ. I was served today with paper stating I must return the children to Flagstaff. I need to know what I can do to appeal this discision. My husband has anger issues he is bypolar and has very eratic behavior
  • does the parent paying for the insuranse for the child have to pay what ever the insurance does not cover
  • location of child support office in phoenix
  • Neither of us is a resident of Arizona but got married in Arizona and would like to divorce in Arizona is it possible
  • Can my exwife ask for any assets or property (ei. furniture, vehicle) after our divorce was final a year ago? She took guns, TVs, and jewelry before divorce was final and wanted nothing else.
  • how do i get divorce forms?
  • My fiance wants to divorce his wife hes in prison they've been separated for 5 years she's in another state he wants me to get the ball rolling BUT Don't he?
  • How does property get divided in AZ? In WI. automatically the spouse get half no matter whose name is on the house, car,boat,etc.?

STORIES

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

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