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 were married in 2000. We separated in 2001 and have no lived together or been in a relationship ever since. He was deported to Mexico. How can I file? He agreed to sign and get papers notarized in Mexico immediately. Would they be valid in Arizona?
  • Can I get an anulment instead of a divorce?
  • if both parents agree on everything and go through a civil divorce how long will i get the actual divorce papers? For example my wife and I are getting a divorce we actually agreed to me oaying a certain amount of child support which comes to about 400 to 500 for both of my kids a month. She is to keep the house and all the items there in. we have signed all the papers that we need to sign for now and tomorrow we will go and sign the rest of the paper work before the clerk. How long before I get the actual document that says we are legally divorced?
  • I got married in san luis Az. when I was a legal resident, but now I'm no longer a legal resident and I live in san luis mexico, I been separated for 13 years and I want to get a divorce, I don"t know what to do.
  • Under the Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act, the 2017 Rule. If my former wife and I made a verbal agreement to split retirement pay 50/50, will DFAS honor that or would they need a court document stating the amount she would receive?
  • My wife kicked me out by threatening to call the cops on me and tell them im violent. I left because she was the one slapping me. How do I get my items? Do I still have to pay rent due on 5th? Kicked out on the 1st.
  • I am trying to find the dissolution of marriage papers for cochise county, I've looked on the website for Self-Service Center and only see them for every county other than Cochise. Please Help!
  • Where can I find past cases in Arizona where Alimony was not granted.
  • i don't have the money for an attorney to complete my divorce. I have been living seperately from my husband for 4 years. I don't qualify for living at or near poverty level but only have about $40.00 a month in disposable income. Is there anywhere that i can get help?
  • 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?

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