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The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon [Ordinances]

Last amended: 2003



SUBJECT: Divorce Ordinance

RESOLUTION NUMBER: 034-93, 022-95


(a) Authority and Purpose:
The purpose of this Ordinance is to grant authority to the Tribal Court to dissolve marriages.

(b) Definitions: For purposes of this Ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) "Court Clerk" or "Clerk" shall mean the Clerk of the Tribal Court.

(2) "Judge" or "Tribal Judge" shall mean any Judge of the Tribal Court.

(3) "Reservation" shall mean all lands held in trust for the Tribe or its members by the United States.

(4) "Dissolution" or "Divorce" shall mean the dissolving or terminating of a marriage.

(5) "Tribal Court" or "Court" shall mean the Tribal Court of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.

(6) "Tribal Council" or "Council" shall mean the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.

(7) "Tribe" shall mean the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.

(c) Requirements For Dissolution:
A marriage may be dissolved or terminated only when all the following conditions are met.

(1) Irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage and the marriage should be dissolved.

(2) There are no children of the marriage, natural or adopted, and the wife (to the best of her knowledge) is not pregnant; or a written agreement has been filed resolving all issues of child custody, support and visitation.

(3) Neither party has an interest in real property not held in trust, outside of the service area, except for the lease or rental of a residence.

(4) No unpaid obligations totaling $5,000 have been made or assumed by either or both persons after the date of the marriage, except the unpaid balance of an automobile and of a student loan.

(5) The parties have signed: (a) a written agreement regarding the division of personal property, assets acquired during the marriage and debts incurred during the marriage: and (b) any documents (title certificates, bills of sale or other evidence of transfer of ownership) necessary to comply with the agreement.

(6) Both parties have waived any right to spousal support.

(7) One spouse is a tribal member or a resident of the reservation.

(8) If a spouse is neither a tribal member nor a resident of the reservation, that spouse has consented to the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court, waiving the right to contest the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court to enter a final judgement.

(9) Both parties have read and agree that they understand the Divorce Brochure.

(d) Filing of Joint Petition. Content and Form:
The proceeding for the Dissolution of Marriage shall commence by filing a joint petition with the Clerk. The petition shall be signed and verified under oath by both husband and wife, and shall state that as of the date of its filing each requirement in Section (c) except for (5) (b) has been met. The Petition shall state the mailing address of both husband and wife, and shall also state whether or not the wife chooses to have her maiden or former name restored. If so, the wife shall state the name to be restored.

(e) Counseling: Upon the filing of the petition, the Clerk shall notify both spouses of the availability of marital counseling through the tribe's Mental Health Professional.

(f) Revocation of Joint Petition; Termination of Proceeding; Notice; Filing and Copies to Other Spouse:

(1) At any time prior to filing an application for entry of final judgment, either spouse may revoke the joint petition and terminate the dissolution.

(2) The revocation shall be completed by filing with the Court a Notice of Revocation.

(3) The revoking spouse shall serve a copy of the Notice of Revocation to the other spouse by certified mail at the spouse's last known address.

(g) Appearance; Entry of Final Judgment; Waiting Period; Notice:
Not more than 90 days from the date of filing the Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, one or both spouses may appear in Tribal Court and an application for final judgment shall be entered. The Court shall enter a final judgment, provided, the agreement for property division, and any child support, that appears to be fair. The final judgment shall return both spouses to the status of single, and shall permit either party to marry after the judgment has been entered. The Clerk, after collecting the fee, shall send a Notice of Entry of Final Judgment to each person at their last known address.

(h) Final Judgment as Final Decree:
When entered, the Final Judgment shall document a final decree of the rights and obligations of both parties regarding property rights and child custody, support, and visitation as agreed, and shall document a waiver of the respective right to spousal support.

(i) Action/Petition to Set Aside Final Judgment:

(1) A final judgment entered shall not influence nor bar the rights of either party to petition the Court to set aside or amend the final judgment for fraud, duress, accident, mistake, or other grounds recognized as reasonable under Tribal Law.

(2) The Court shall retain jurisdiction of a case for one (1) year following the entry of final judgment in all matters except the status of the marriage, where proof exists that the parties did not meet all requirements when the petition was filed.

(j) No attorneys: Notwithstanding any provisions of tribal law to the contrary, attorneys are not permitted to represent a party to a divorce in any aspect of a divorce case in Tribal Court.

(k) Brochure Describing Proceedings; Content, Form and Distribution:
The Court shall develop and print a brochure describing the requirements, nature and effect of the proceedings. The brochure shall be distributed by the Court and shall state in clear English the following:

(1) It may be helpful for each person to consult an attorney regarding the dissolution of the marriage, and the services of an attorney may be obtained through a lawyer referral service, independent legal services or legal aid organization. An attorney cannot be used in preparation of a divorce or appear in court to represent a party to a divorce.

(2) A short summary of the provisions and procedures established by this Ordinance.

(3) That neither husband or wife can receive any spousal support from the other.

(4) A statement in boldface type that with the entry of a final judgment all rights and obligations of both parties, including property and spousal support rights, will be permanently ended without right of appeal, except that either person may petition the Court to set aside the final judgment for fraud, duress, accident, mistake or other grounds recognized under tribal law.

(5) Neither person may remarry until the final judgment dissolving the marriage has been filed and entered by the Clerk.

(6) Such other matters as the Judge decides.

(l) Fees: The Court shall collect a fee for the filing of a dissolution, distribution of the brochure and other costs the Court may incur in processing the case. The amount of the fees shall be set by the Judge and approved by a resolution adopted by the Tribal Council.

I certify this to be a true copy of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Divorce Ordinance.

Tribal Council Secretary

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