Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Code
[Includes amendments and additions dated through 2004]
(a) The Tribal Court shall have jurisdiction over marriages and divorces of the enrolled member(s) of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; and other federally recognized Indians who have been bona fide residents within the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribal Court for six (6) months which must be alleged in the complaint and proved.
[Initials on original document.]
§15-1-2 Prior Marriages Ratified
(a) All marriages previously performed by authorized persons which were legal under the forum of the law in which the members were married are hereby ratified.
§15-1-3 Prior Divorce Decrees - Full Faith and Credit
(a) Prior divorce decrees entered by the courts of competent jurisdiction between members of the tribe are hereby given full faith and credit.
§15-1-4 Marriage Licenses
All marriage licenses for tribal members shall be issued by the tribal
court upon completion of an application for marriage license and filing
the same with the Clerk of the Court.
(b) A fee of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) shall be paid to the Clerk of the Court upon the filing of the application and no further charge shall be made for the issuance of the license by the Court.
§15-1-5 Marriage License Application
(a) The marriage license application shall include the following information:
(1) Name, sex, address, date and place of birth of each party to the proposed marriage;
(2) If either party was previously married, his name, the date and place and court in which the marriage was dissolved or declared invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse;
(3) Name and address of the parents or guardian of each party;
(4) Whether the parties are related to each other and, And if so, the degree of their relationship;
(5) Name and date of birth of any child, of whom both parties are parents, born prior to the making of the application unless their parental rights and the parent and child relationship with respect to the child have been terminated.
§15-1-6 Legal Age to Marry
(a) No tribal member shall be married unless said member is nineteen (19) years of age or older.
(b) Tribal members who are sixteen (16) years of age through age eighteen (18) years of age may marry with the consent of all living natural and/or adoptive parents.
§15-1-7 Void Marriages
(a) The following marriages are prohibited and are therefore void ab initio:
(1) Marriages entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one or more of the parties.
(2) A marriage between an ancestor and a descendent and between a brother and a sister, whether the relationship is by half or whole blood.
(3) A marriage between an uncle and niece, or between and aunt and a nephew, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood.
§15-1-8 Voidable Marriages
(a) The following marriages may within the discretion of the court be declared void upon satisfactory proof:
(1) When either party to the marriage is incapable of consenting thereto.
(2) When consent to the marriage was obtained by force or fraud.
(3) When the party making application was of unsound mind at the time of making the application or entering into the marriage.
(4) When either party was at the time of the marriage incapable of consummating the marriage and the marriage has not been consummated.
§15-1-9 Divorce - Grounds
(a) The following shall be separately and severally grounds for divorce in the tribal court:
(1) ADULTERY - The adulterous act must have been committed after the marriage and before a decree of divorce has been entered. Confessions of adultery to the opposite spouse are admissible but a decree may not be based on such confession alone but must be supported by corroborating evidence. Adultery may be proved by circumstantial evidence, but the circumstances must be such as would lead the guarded discretion of a reasonable and just man to conclude the act of adultery was committed. Adultery may not be used as grounds for divorce in a decree where both parties are guilty of adultery, where the adultery was committed with the consent of the other spouse, where the complaining spouse has condoned the adultery by voluntarily resuming sexual relations with the offending spouse after knowledge of the adultery, or when one spouse connived at the adultery of the other spouse.
(2) ABANDONMENT - Abandonment shall be grounds for a divorce when one spouse has voluntarily abandoned the bed and board of the other for a period of one (1) year prior to the filing of the divorce petition to constitute voluntary abandonment there must be a final departure:
(i) Without the consent of the other spouse.
(ii) Without sufficient reason therefor.
(iii) Without the intention to return.
A divorce on the grounds of abandonment may not be obtained where the complaining party is guilty of misconduct causing a separation, nor where the complaining party consents to the separation or the separation is with the mutual consent of the parties, unless the consent of the complaining party is induced by the misconduct of the other spouse.
(3) PENITENTIARY SENTENCE - If either spouse has been imprisoned in the penitentiary of this or any other state or the United States Government for two (2) years under a sentence for seven (7) years or longer, the other is entitled to a divorce. The sentencing must occur after the marriage for this ground to be valid.
(4) HABITUAL DRUNKENNESS OR ADDICTION TO DRUGS - It shall be grounds for divorce when a spouse becomes addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of controlled substances or narcotic drugs. Habitual drunkenness is the fixed habit of frequently getting drunk.
(5) INCOMPATIBILITY - It shall be a ground for divorce of either party when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together as man and wife. Incompatibility refers to conflicts in personalities and dispositions so deed as to be irreconcilable and to render it impossible for the parties to continue a normal marital relationship with each other.
(6) MENTAL DEFECT - Either spouse may obtain a divorce on the grounds of mental defect when, after the marriage, the other spouse has been confined in a mental institution for a period of five (5) successive years and is hopelessly and incurably mentally defective at the time of the filing of the divorce petition.
(7) IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE - Divorce may be granted upon application of either party when the court finds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical and futile and not in the best interest of the parties or family.
(8) CRUELTY - It shall be grounds for divorce and a divorce may be granted in favor of either party when the other has committed actual violence on his or her spouse's person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from such conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence. A divorce on the ground of cruelty is justified only when physical violence endangering the life or health of the petitioner has occurred or is reasonably apprehended from the defendant's conduct. Actual violence is not required when there has been any conduct on the part of the defendant which furnishes a reasonable apprehension that continued cohabitation would be attended with physical violence endangering the life or health.
§15-1-10 DIVORCE PROCEDURE
(a) Either party to marriage may file a petition for a divorce upon paying court costs and the filing of a verified petition setting out the following:
(1) The jurisdiction of the Tribal Court over the parties;
(2) The name, age, occupation and residence of the parties and number of children if any born to the marriage;
(3) The date of marriage and the place in which the same occurred;
(4) The grounds upon which the divorce is sought;
(5) All relief sought with respect to the disposition of property, custody of children, and child support.
(b) Upon the filing of a petition with the court the defendant in the proceeding shall respond pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Tribal Court and the cause shall be set for a hearing not less than sixty (60) days from the date of the filing of the petition.
§15-1-11 TEMPORARY RELIEF
(a) The Tribal Court is hereby authorized to enter orders of temporary relief when requested in a verified petition as to possession of the homeplace, custody of children, child support, restraining either party from acts complained of and temporary control over property and assets.
§15-1-12 MODIFICATION OF DIVORCE DECREE
(a) Upon application of either party the court may modify final decrees of divorce previously entered upon a showing of changed circumstances or upon the consent of both parties.
§15-1-13 BEST INTEREST RULE
(a) Any temporary order, final decree of divorce or any modification of a decree of divorce shall set forth specific findings as to how and why the temporary order, divorce decree or modification thereof is in. the best interest of any children born to the marriage of the parties.