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

  • My husband and I have been married 30 years. In the divorce papers he filed I am to receive nothing. I want to fight for spousal maintenance. I only work part time and have for 20 years. I have osteo arthritis in my knees and it is difficult to for me to get around. What are my rights? Also, all the stress he has put me under made me have a minor heart attack a few months ago. What about medical. I know when the divorce is final it ends. I can't get it through my job. It's too expensive. What are my rights?
  • I'm a Disabled Veteran, my husband is active army - we met on active duty 2008 & married 2012. Due to him physically and mentally abusing me, we seperated end 2014, had a separation agreement in place since we lived in NC. We toyed with reconciling during 2015 and 2016. Feb 2017, despite being in contact with each other, he filed for divorce in TX, filed a false affidavit that he couldn't find me, and had a default judgement granting divorce. He cleared out our 3600 sqft home in NC of all our joint & personal property and dropped my daughter from ins. How to make his wrongs, right?
  • I was married in Maricopa county, can I file legal separation in navajo nation court?
  • Can i have my fathers rights teminated in the State of Arizona if im under the age of 18?
  • My wife and I were married in Phoenix a year ago, and now we would like to get a divorce. However, both of us are working abroad. Can we get a divorce or an annulment? Can we have a lawyer represent us and fly back for the court dates?
  • My husband and married in Arizona. He is incarcerated in AZ. I have moved out of state. Do I have to get divorced in AZ or can I get it done where i reside now?
  • How do I file a contempt of court because husband is not paying temporary spousal maint. plus he's changed titles on vehicles and property/house?
  • I am currently covered by my spouses insurance coverage and our divorce has not been filed yet. ARS 20-1377 and 20-1408 state that I may continue to be covered under his health insurance policy. I have contacted the health care company and NO ONE is able to assist me with this. I've looked online for answers and there are none. How to I apply for a conversion policy?
  • WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP BILL COLLECTORS THAT MY EXHUSBAND OWES FROM BOTHERING ME AND TELLING ME I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS PAST MEDICAL BILS?
  • 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?

STORIES

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

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