Chapter 4.20
DOMESTIC RELATIONS CODE

Sections:

Article I. General Provisions

4.20.010    Purpose and policy.

4.20.020    Definitions.

Article II. Marriage

4.20.030    Marriage license.

4.20.040    Existing marriages.

4.20.050    Persons who may marry.

4.20.060    Who may perform marriages.

4.20.070    Marriage ceremony.

4.20.080    Void and voidable marriages.

4.20.090    Legitimacy of children from invalid marriage.

4.20.100    Community property – Washington State law incorporated.

Article III. Declaration of Invalidity

4.20.110    Jurisdiction.

4.20.120    Procedure for declaration of invalidity.

4.20.130    Grounds for declaration of invalidity.

4.20.140    Action for declaration of invalidity – Parties and limitations.

4.20.150    Legitimacy of children.

4.20.160    Conclusiveness of declaration of invalidity.

4.20.170    Cessation of spousal benefits.

Article IV. Dissolution of Marriage

4.20.180    Jurisdiction.

4.20.190    Dissolution procedure.

4.20.200    Right to dissolution.

4.20.210    Petition.

4.20.220    Restraint.

4.20.230    Findings.

4.20.240    Decrees.

4.20.250    Maintenance and suit money.

4.20.260    Criteria for maintenance.

4.20.270    Modification of decree of dissolution.

4.20.280    Termination of maintenance obligation.

4.20.290    Conclusiveness of decree of dissolution.

4.20.300    Cessation of spousal benefits.

Article V. Child Custody

4.20.310    Jurisdiction.

4.20.320    Commencement of a child custody proceeding – Notice – Intervention.

4.20.330    Child custody procedure.

4.20.340    Relevant factors in awarding custody.

4.20.350    Restrictions in temporary or permanent parenting plans.

4.20.360    Duties of custodian.

4.20.370    Temporary custody order.

4.20.380    Requirements for temporary custody order.

4.20.390    Vacating a temporary custody order.

4.20.400    Parenting plan proceedings.

4.20.410    Default on petition for parenting plan.

4.20.420    Modification of parenting plan or custody decree.

4.20.430    Relocation.

4.20.440    Military service.

4.20.450    Third party visitation rights.

4.20.460    Child support.

4.20.470    Court-appointed attorney to represent interests of child.

4.20.480    Payment of costs and attorney’s fees.

Article VI. Legal Separation

4.20.490    Jurisdiction.

4.20.500    Scope of legal separation.

4.20.510    Legal separation procedure.

4.20.520    Restraint.

4.20.530    Maintenance and suit money.

4.20.540    Criteria for maintenance.

4.20.550    Modification of decree of legal separation.

4.20.560    Termination of maintenance obligation.

4.20.570    Rights and liabilities of legally separated persons.

4.20.580    Family expenses.

4.20.590    Conclusiveness of decree of legal separation.

4.20.600    Conversion to decree of dissolution.

Article VII. Domestic Partnerships

4.20.610    Registered domestic partners.

4.20.620    Requirements.

4.20.630    Registration.

4.20.640    Reciprocity.

4.20.650    Marriage.

4.20.660    Dissolving a registered domestic partnership.

Article I. General Provisions

4.20.010 Purpose and policy.

(1) The Tulalip Tribes values strong families and considers them to be the heart of the Tulalip community. Ensuring the safety and vitality of families promotes the health, safety, and welfare of the Tulalip community, and is essential to Tribal sovereignty and self-governance.

(2) This code shall be construed, together with the Tulalip Youth Code, the Tulalip Elder and Vulnerable Adult Protection Code, and other applicable Tulalip Tribal law, to promote the health, safety, and welfare of families, with special emphasis on protecting the best interests of children, elders, and vulnerable adults, within the jurisdiction of the Tulalip Tribes.

(3) When interpreting this code, the Court shall take into consideration Tulalip Tribal laws, customs, and traditional practices.

(4) It shall be the policy of the Tulalip Tribes to promote the distinct and unique culture and heritage of the Tulalip Tribes, and to ensure that Native children have a meaningful opportunity to experience their culture on a permanent basis. All actions authorized by this code shall be taken with due consideration of this policy.

(5) Therefore, be it enacted by the Board of Directors of the Tulalip Tribes, pursuant to Article VI, Section 1(O) of the Constitution of the Tulalip Tribes, that this code shall be the law of the Tribes. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.020 Definitions.

Terms under this chapter shall be liberally construed so as not to limit the jurisdiction of the Court, and to facilitate the authority of the Court to act to protect the health, safety, and welfare of families within the Tulalip community. Unless in conflict with applicable Tribal law, terms not specifically defined in this chapter shall be defined according to their normal usage.

(1) “Best interests of the child” means the preservation of the connection, or the creation of such a connection if one does not currently exist, between a Tulalip child and the child’s culture, family, and Tribe in a stable setting where the usual and special needs of that child may be met; where the child is secure and safe; where the child is emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually healthy, and academically enriched.

(2) “Child” means a person who is less than 18 years old who has not been emancipated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by legal marriage.

(3) “Common residence” means two persons inhabit the same residence. Two persons shall be considered to share a common residence even if:

(a) Only one of the persons has legal ownership of the common residence;

(b) One or both persons have additional residences not shared with the other person; or

(c) One person leaves the common residence with the intent to return.

(4) “Court Clerk” means Clerk of the Tulalip Tribal Court.

(5) “Court” means the Tulalip Tribal Court, unless context indicates otherwise.

(6) “Custodian” means any person who has physical custody of a child under Tribal law or custom, or under State law, or to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the child’s parent, and who is providing food, shelter, and supervision to the child.

(7) “Guardian” means a person, not the child’s parent, who is legally vested with the power and responsibility to care for the child and/or the child’s property.

(8) “Guardian ad litem” means an adult appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction to represent a child, for the protection of the best interests of the child, in any proceeding in which the child may be a party.

(9) “Marriage” means the legal union of two persons, regardless of their sex, created to the exclusion of all others.

(10) “Parent” means a biological or adoptive mother, legal father of the child, adoptive father, or an unwed father whose paternity has been legally acknowledged or who is otherwise established as a legal father but not a person whose parental rights to the child have been terminated.

(11) “Relative” means any person who is the child’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew, first or second cousin, or anyone who has a significant connection with the child.

(12) “Significant connection” means a relationship with a minor child in which a person has fulfilled the role of a relative, or the right to such a relationship, under Tulalip custom or tradition.

(13) “Spouse” means a person who is married to another under the law and/or customs recognized by the Tulalip Tribes, but does not include a person who is living separate and apart from his or her spouse and who has filed, in an appropriate court, a petition for legal separation or dissolution of marriage. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

Article II. Marriage

4.20.030 Marriage license.

(1) No marriage shall be performed under authority of the code unless the persons have first obtained a marriage license from the Court Clerk.

(2) Upon payment of a fee to be set by the Court, the Court Clerk shall issue a marriage license to persons who appear entitled to be married as provided in this Domestic Relations Code.

(3) The Court Clerk shall keep a public record of all marriage licenses and certificates issued.

(4) The marriage license, properly endorsed by the authorized person performing the marriage, shall be returned to the Court Clerk who shall issue a marriage certificate to the parties.

(5) The Court Clerk shall provide the persons with a form titled Washington State Certificate of Marriage, and once the form is completed, the Court Clerk shall sign it and submit it to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.040 Existing marriages.

(1) All marriages performed other than as provided for in this Domestic Relations Code, which are valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when performed, are valid within the jurisdiction of the Tribes.

(2) All marriages performed or entered into on the Reservation prior to the effective date of this chapter, including those perfected according to Tribal custom, are declared valid for all purposes under this code. Persons involved in such marriages may obtain a marriage certificate upon proof to the Court Clerk by affidavit or otherwise of the validity of their marriage, and payment of a fee to be set by the Court.

(3) Customary and common law marriages entered into subsequent to the adoption of this code shall not be recognized by Tribal law but may be recognized as valid if valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when performed. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.050 Persons who may marry.

No marriage license shall be issued or marriage performed unless the persons to be married meet the following qualifications:

(1) Both persons are at least 18 years of age;

(2) At least one of the persons to be married is an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes;

(3) She or he has obtained a blood test to detect venereal disease within 30 days prior to the marriage and such test results were negative or she or he files an affidavit attesting to the fact that she or he is free of venereal disease. A certificate of the test results or the affidavit shall be presented to the Court Clerk before any license is issued;

(4) Neither person is a lineal descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin to the other person. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.060 Who may perform marriages.

(1) A marriage may be solemnized or performed by any of the following:

(a) Recognized clergyman or person recognized by his religion as having authority to marry;

(b) A judge or magistrate of the Tribal Court;

(c) Any person recognized by Washington State law as having authority to marry.

(2) No marriage solemnized or performed before any person professing to have authority to marry shall be invalid for want of such authority, if consummated in the belief of the persons involved or either of them that the officiant had such authority and that they have been lawfully married. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.070 Marriage ceremony.

No particular form of marriage is required; provided, however, that the persons to be married must declare in the presence of the person performing the ceremony that they take each other as spouses, and the officiant must thereafter declare them to be spouses. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.080 Void and voidable marriages.

(1) Marriages between a person who is at the time of the marriage married to or in a registered domestic partnership with another person still living are void; provided, however, that such marriages will be considered valid until ruled otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction if the person previously married:

(a) Actually believed, in good faith, that the prior marriage had been dissolved as a result of dissolution or declaration of invalidity; or

(b) Actually believed, in good faith, that his or her prior spouse was dead.

(2) If neither person is enrollable in the Tulalip Tribes or if either person is incapable as a result of some cause or mental dysfunction or legal incapacity to enter into the marital state and such cause appears to be permanent, or if the consent of either person was obtained by force or fraud, the marriage is voidable. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.090 Legitimacy of children from invalid marriage.

When a marriage is contracted in good faith and in the belief that it is a valid marriage, the children of such marriage born, conceived, or adopted prior to the voiding or receiving notice of the invalidity of the marriage for any reason shall be the legitimate children of both parents. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.100 Community property – Washington State law incorporated.

Property rights and liabilities of spouses as defined in this chapter shall be governed by the community property laws of the State of Washington. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

Article III. Declaration of Invalidity

4.20.110 Jurisdiction.

In order to maintain an action for a declaration of invalidity in the Tribal Court, the Court must have issued the license and/or performed the marriage. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.120 Procedure for declaration of invalidity.

(1) Proceedings to declare the invalidity of a marriage shall be commenced and conducted in the manner provided by law for civil cases, except as otherwise specifically provided. A final declaration of invalidity shall restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons.

(2) If either party in a proceeding for a declaration of invalidity is a member of the military, the Court may conduct the proceeding in such a way as to be consistent with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(3) The Court Clerk shall provide the parties with a form titled Washington State Certificate of Dissolution, Declaration of Invalidity, or Legal Separation, and once the form is completed, the Court Clerk shall sign it and submit it to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.130 Grounds for declaration of invalidity.

A marriage may be declared invalid for any of the following causes existing at the time of marriage:

(1) That the party on whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage declared invalid, was under the age of 18 years, and such marriage was contracted without the consent of his or her parents or guardian, or persons having charge of him or her, unless, after attaining the age of consent, such party freely cohabits with the other party to the marriage as spouses;

(2) That the former spouse of either party was living, and the marriage with such former spouse was then in force;

(3) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming into reason, freely cohabited with the other as spouses;

(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterward, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as spouses; or

(5) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, unless such party afterwards freely cohabited with the other as spouses. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.140 Action for declaration of invalidity – Parties and limitations.

An action to obtain a declaration of invalidity of a marriage, for causes mentioned in the preceding section, must be commenced within the periods and by the parties as follows:

(1) For causes mentioned in TTC 4.20.130(1), by the party to the marriage who was married under the age of legal consent, within two years after arriving at the age of consent, or by a parent, guardian, or other person having charge of such minor male or female, at any time before such married minor has arrived at the age of legal consent;

(2) For causes mentioned in TTC 4.20.130(2), by either party during the life of the other, or by such former spouse;

(3) For causes mentioned in TTC 4.20.130(3), by the party injured, or relative or guardian of the party of unsound mind, at any time before the death of either party;

(4) For causes mentioned in TTC 4.20.130(4), by the party injured, within two years after the discovery of the facts constituting a fraud;

(5) For causes mentioned in TTC 4.20.130(5), by injured party, within four years after the marriage. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.150 Legitimacy of children.

When a marriage is declared invalid for any reason, children born, conceived, or adopted prior to judgment shall be the legitimate children of both parents. The Court may, at the time of declaring the invalidity of a marriage or at any future time, make necessary orders for the custody and support of said child or children as the circumstances and surroundings of the parents may require. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.160 Conclusiveness of declaration of invalidity.

A declaration of invalidity of a marriage is conclusive only as against the parties to the action and those claiming under them. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.170 Cessation of spousal benefits.

Upon a declaration of invalidity being issued, all spousal benefits related to being married to a Tribal member shall cease. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

Article IV. Dissolution of Marriage

4.20.180 Jurisdiction.

In order to commence an action for dissolution in the Tribal Court, at least one party to the marriage must be an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes. The Court has continuing jurisdiction to resolve matters pertaining to the dissolution that have not been previously adjudicated by a judgment in the proceeding. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.190 Dissolution procedure.

(1) Proceedings in dissolution shall be commenced and conducted in the manner provided by law for civil cases, except as otherwise specifically provided. A final decree of dissolution shall restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons.

(2) If either party in a proceeding for dissolution is a member of the military, the Court may conduct the proceeding in such a way as to be consistent with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(3) The Court Clerk shall provide the parties with a form titled Washington State Certificate of Dissolution, Declaration of Invalidity, or Legal Separation, and once the form is completed, the Court Clerk shall sign it and submit it to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.200 Right to dissolution.

Either party to a marriage may petition for dissolution. The sole grounds for dissolution shall be that the marriage is irretrievably broken. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.210 Petition.

The petition for dissolution shall be in writing and signed by the petitioner or the petitioner’s counsel or attorney. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.220 Restraint.

The Court may temporarily or permanently restrain either party from doing certain acts harmful to the other or to the children, or to the property of either, during the pendency of the dissolution proceedings. Violation of a current and valid restraining order shall be a Class B offense under the Tulalip Law and Order Code. In addition, contempt or exclusion proceedings may be brought against any party violating a valid court order obtained pursuant to this section. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.230 Findings.

No decrees of dissolution shall be granted upon default or otherwise, except upon evidence taken by the Court who shall make and file its findings and decree upon the evidence. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.240 Decrees.

The decree shall include the disposition of property and debts as may be equitable and if there are children from the relationship, a parenting plan and child support pursuant to Tribal law, including, but not limited to, this code and the Tulalip Tribes Paternity and Child Support Code. No decree will be entered until 60 days after the petition has been filed. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.250 Maintenance and suit money.

The Court may order either party to pay to the other party for the benefit of the other party a sum of money for the temporary or permanent separate support and maintenance of the adverse party and the children, and to enable such party to prosecute and defend the action. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.260 Criteria for maintenance.

In determining an order for maintenance of an amount and period of time that is just and equitable, the Court shall consider all relevant factors including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him or her, and his or her ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party;

(2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find employment appropriate to his or her skill, interests, style of life, and other attendant circumstances;

(3) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(4) The duration of the marriage;

(5) The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the party seeking maintenance; and

(6) The ability of the party from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs and financial obligations while meeting those of the party seeking maintenance. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.270 Modification of decree of dissolution.

(1) The provisions of any decree of dissolution respecting maintenance or support may be modified only upon a showing of substantial change of circumstances. The Court may only modify installments occurring after the date of the petition for modification.

(2) The provisions of any decree of dissolution respecting child custody may be modified according to Article V of this chapter.

(3) The provisions of any decree of dissolution respecting child support may be modified according to the Tulalip Tribes Paternity and Child Support Code. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.280 Termination of maintenance obligation.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree of dissolution, the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.290 Conclusiveness of decree of dissolution.

A decree of dissolution of marriage is final when entered, subject to the right of appeal. An appeal which does not challenge the finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken does not delay the finality of the dissolution and either party may remarry pending such an appeal. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.300 Cessation of spousal benefits.

Upon a decree of dissolution of marriage being entered, all spousal benefits related to being married to a Tribal member shall cease. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

Article V. Child Custody

4.20.310 Jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction of child custody proceedings will be determined as set forth in TTC 4.05.270. The Court has exclusive continuing jurisdiction over any child custody proceeding for which it has issued a judgment. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.320 Commencement of a child custody proceeding – Notice – Intervention.

(1) A child custody proceeding is commenced in the Tribal Court:

(a) By a parent:

(i) By filing a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity; or

(ii) By filing a petition seeking custody of the child; or

(b) By a person other than a parent, by filing a petition seeking custody of the child, but only if the child is not in the physical custody of one of his or her parents or if the petitioner alleges that neither parent is a suitable custodian.

(2) The petitioning party shall cause the petition and summons to be served on the child’s parent, guardian and custodian, who may appear and be heard and may file a responsive pleading, and to the Tulalip Child Support Program if child support is requested or required. The Court may, upon a showing of good cause, permit the intervention of other interested parties. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.330 Child custody procedure.

(1) Proceedings in child custody shall be commenced and conducted in the manner provided by law for civil cases, except as otherwise specifically provided.

(2) If either party in a proceeding for child custody is a member of the military, the Court may conduct the proceeding in such a way as to be consistent with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(3) Upon proof of service, the Court Clerk shall set a hearing date.

(4) Once a parenting plan has been filed with the Tribal Court and if child support is requested or required, the parties have three days to contact the Tulalip Child Support Program (TCSP) to request child support services or provide updated information for enforcement of a child support order. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.340 Relevant factors in awarding custody.

The Court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. The Court shall consider all relevant factors including:

(1) The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to visitation privileges;

(2) The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian and as to visitation privileges;

(3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests, including, but not limited to, the child’s extended family;

(4) The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;

(5) Availability of extended family to assist in the care and custody;

(6) The mental and physical health of all persons involved;

(7) Tribal affiliation of the parties and the child;

(8) The extent of the participation of the parties in Tribal cultural activities.

The Court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect the welfare of the child. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.350 Restrictions in temporary or permanent parenting plans.

(1) The Court may reduce or restrict contact between the child and the parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time if the parent or a person residing with the parent has engaged in any of the following conduct:

(a) Willful abandonment by the parent that continues for an extended period of time or substantial refusal to perform parenting functions;

(b) Physical, sexual, or a pattern of emotional abuse of a child; or

(c) A history of acts of domestic violence or an assault or sexual assault which causes grievous bodily harm or the fear of such harm.

(2) A parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time and whose residential time with the child is subject to limitations pursuant to subsection (1) of this section may not seek expansion of residential time under TTC 4.20.420 unless that parent demonstrates a substantial change in circumstances specifically related to the basis for the limitation.

(3) If a parent abandons the family, the abandoned spouse is entitled to custody of and legal guardianship over all children under the age of eight unless a court of competent jurisdiction shall otherwise direct. Abandonment shall be defined as voluntary absence of a parent from the home in which the children reside for a period of 180 days without intent to return. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.360 Duties of custodian.

Except as otherwise agreed upon by the parties in writing at the time of the custody decree, or as ordered by the Court, the custodian may determine the child’s upbringing, including his or her education, health care, and religious training, unless the Court finds, upon motion by the noncustodial parent and after a hearing, that in the absence of a specific limitation of the custodian’s authority, the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health would be endangered. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.370 Temporary custody order.

(1) A party to a custody proceeding may move for a temporary custody order. The motion must be supported by affidavit. The Court may award temporary custody after a hearing or, if there is no objection, solely on the basis of the affidavits.

(2) A temporary custody order may also be obtained through a protection order pursuant to the Tulalip Tribes Domestic Violence Code. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.380 Requirements for temporary custody order.

A party seeking a temporary custody order shall submit a motion, a statement made under penalty of perjury setting forth facts supporting the requested order, and a proposed temporary parenting plan, and shall give notice to other parties to the proceedings. The Court shall set a date for a hearing on an order to show cause why the requested order should be granted. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.390 Vacating a temporary custody order.

(1) If a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity is dismissed, any temporary custody order is vacated unless a parent or the child’s custodian moves that the proceeding continue as a custody proceeding and the Court finds, after a hearing, that the circumstances of the parents and the best interest of the child require that custody decree be issued.

(2) If a custody proceeding commences in the absence of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity and is dismissed, any temporary custody order is vacated. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.400 Parenting plan proceedings.

(1) The Court without a jury shall determine questions of law and fact. If it finds that a public hearing may be detrimental to the child’s best interests, the Court may exclude the public from a custody hearing, but may admit any person who has a direct and legitimate interest in the work of the Court.

(2) If the Court finds it necessary to protect the child’s welfare that the record of any interview, report, investigation, or testimony in a custody proceeding be kept secret, the Court may make an appropriate order sealing the record.

(3) The Court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child’s wishes as to his or her custodian and as to visitation privileges. The Court may permit counsel to be present at the interview. The Court shall cause a record of the interview to be made and to be made part of the record in the case. The Court shall have the discretion to seal the record of the interview with the child.

(4) The Court may seek the advice of professional personnel or persons knowledgeable in the welfare of Indian children whether or not they are employed on a regular basis by the Court. The advice given shall be in writing and shall be made available by the Court to counsel upon request. Counsel may call for cross-examination of any persons consulted by the Court.

(5) Either party may petition the Court to authorize the payment of necessary travel and other expenses incurred by any witness whose presence at the hearing the Court deems necessary to determine the best interests of the child. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.410 Default on petition for parenting plan.

If a party does not respond to a petition for a parenting plan, the Court may find that party in default and the petition may be granted. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.420 Modification of parenting plan or custody decree.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this code, the Court shall not modify a prior custody decree or a parenting plan unless it finds, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior decree or plan or that were unknown to the Court at the time of the prior decree or plan, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or his or her custodian and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. The effect of a parent’s military duties potentially impacting parenting functions shall not, by itself, be a substantial change of circumstances justifying a permanent modification of a prior decree or plan. In applying these standards, the Court shall retain the residential schedule established by the decree or parenting plan unless:

(a) The custodian agrees to the modification;

(b) The child has been integrated into the family of the petitioner with the consent of the custodian in substantial deviation from the parenting plan;

(c) The child’s present environment is detrimental to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child; or

(d) The Court has found the nonmoving parent in contempt of court at least twice within three years because the parent failed to comply with the residential time provisions in the court-ordered parenting plan.

(2) Upon a motion for minor modification, the Court may order adjustments to the residential aspects of a parenting plan upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances of either parent or of the child, and without consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (1) of this section, if the proposed modification is only a minor modification in the residential schedule that does not change the residence the child is scheduled to reside in the majority of the time and:

(a) Does not exceed 24 full days in a calendar year; or

(b) Is based on a change of residence of the parent with whom the child does not reside the majority of the time or an involuntary change in work schedule by a parent which makes the residential schedule in the parenting plan impractical to follow; or

(c) Does not result in a schedule that exceeds 90 overnights per year in total, if the Court finds that, at the time the petition for modification is filed, the decree of dissolution or parenting plan does not provide reasonable time with the parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time, and further, the Court finds that it is in the best interests of the child to increase residential time with the parent in excess of the residential time period in subsection (2)(a) of this section. However, any motion under this subsection is subject to the factors established in subsection (1) of this section if the party bringing the petition has previously been granted a modification under this same subsection within 24 months of the current motion. Relief granted under this section shall not be the sole basis for adjusting or modifying child support.

(d) The Court may order adjustments to any of the nonresidential aspects of a parenting plan upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances of either parent or of a child, and the adjustment is in the best interest of the child. Adjustments ordered under this section may be made without consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (1) of this section.

(3) If a parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time voluntarily fails to exercise residential time for an extended period, that is, one year or longer, the Court upon proper motion may make adjustments to the parenting plan in keeping with the best interests of the minor child. For the purposes of determining whether the parent has failed to exercise residential time for one year or longer, the Court may not count any time periods during which the parent did not exercise residential time due to the effect of the parent’s military duties potentially impacting parenting functions.

(4) A parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time who is required by a court order to complete evaluations, treatment, parenting, or other classes may not seek expansion of residential time under this section unless that parent has fully complied with such requirements.

(5) Upon the filing of a petition for modification, a hearing shall be held to determine if the facts alleged meet the legal standard as set forth in this subsection.

(6) If the Court finds that a motion to modify a prior custody decree or parenting plan has been brought in bad faith, the Court shall assess the attorney’s fees and court costs of the custodian against the petitioner. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.430 Relocation.

(1) When entering or modifying a court order, the Court has the authority to allow or not allow a person to relocate the child.

(2) If the person with whom the child resides a majority of the time plans to relocate, that person shall give notice to every person entitled to court-ordered time with the child. If information is protected under a court order, it may be withheld from the notice. A relocating person may ask the Court to waive any notice requirements that may put the health and safety of a person or a child at risk. Failure to give the required notice may be grounds for sanctions, including contempt.

(3) A person entitled to time with a child under a court order can file an objection to the child’s relocation whether or not he or she received proper notice. The objection must be served on all persons entitled to time with the child. The relocating person shall not move the child during the time for objection unless: (a) the delayed notice provisions apply; or (b) a court order allows the move.

(4) The notice of an intended relocation of the child must be given by personal service or any form of mail requiring a return receipt and:

(a) No less than 60 days before the date of the intended relocation of the child; or

(b) No more than five days after the date that the person knows the information required to be furnished under subsection (6) of this section, if the person did not know and could not reasonably have known the information in sufficient time to provide the 60 days’ notice, and it is not reasonable to delay the relocation.

(5) The notice of intended relocation of the child must include:

(a) An address at which service of process may be accomplished during the period for objection;

(b) A brief statement of the specific reasons for the intended relocation of the child; and

(c) A notice to the nonrelocating person that an objection may be filed. The notice shall contain the following statement:

The relocation of the child will be permitted and the proposed revised residential schedule may be confirmed unless, within 30 days, you file a petition and motion with the court to block the relocation or object to the proposed revised residential schedule and serve the petition and motion on the person proposing relocation and all other persons entitled by court order to residential time or visitation with the children.

(6) The following information shall also be included in every notice of intended relocation of the child, if available:

(a) The specific street address of the intended new residence, if known, or as much of the intended address as is known, such as city and state;

(b) The new mailing address, if different from the intended new residence address;

(c) The new home telephone number;

(d) The name and address of the child’s new school and day care facility, if applicable;

(e) The date of the intended relocation of the child; and

(f) A proposal in the form of a proposed parenting plan for a revised schedule of residential time or visitation with the child, if any.

A person required to give notice of an intended relocation of the child has a continuing duty to promptly update the information required with the notice as that new information becomes known.

(7) When the intended relocation of the child is within the school district in which the child currently resides the majority of the time, the person intending to relocate the child, in lieu of notice prescribed in subsections (4) and (5) of this section, may provide actual notice by any reasonable means to every other person entitled to residential time or visitation with the child under a court order. A person who is entitled to residential time or visitation with the child under a court order may not object to the intended relocation of the child within the school district in which the child currently resides the majority of the time, but he or she retains the right to move for modification.

(8) The Court may grant a temporary order restraining relocation of the child, or ordering return of the child if the child’s relocation has occurred, if the Court finds:

(a) The required notice of an intended relocation of the child was not provided in a timely manner and the nonrelocating party was substantially prejudiced;

(b) The relocation of the child has occurred without agreement of the parties, court order, or the notice required by this section; or

(c) After examining evidence presented at a hearing for temporary orders in which the parties had adequate opportunity to prepare and be heard, there is a likelihood that on final hearing the Court will not approve the intended relocation of the child or no circumstances exist sufficient to warrant a relocation of the child prior to a final determination at trial.

(9) The Court may grant a temporary order authorizing the intended relocation of the child pending final hearing if the Court finds:

(a) The required notice of an intended relocation of the child was provided in a timely manner or that the circumstances otherwise warrant issuance of a temporary order in the absence of compliance with the notice requirements and issues an order for a revised schedule for residential time with the child; and

(b) After examining the evidence presented at a hearing for temporary orders in which the parties had adequate opportunity to prepare and be heard, there is a likelihood that on final hearing the Court will approve the intended relocation of the child.

(10) Except for good cause shown, if a person entitled to object to the relocation of the child does not file an objection with the Court within 30 days after receipt of the relocation notice, then the relocation of the child may be permitted. A nonobjecting person may be entitled to the residential time or visitation with the child specified in the proposed residential schedule included with the relocation notice. Any person entitled to residential time or visitation with a child under a court order retains his or her right to move for modification pursuant to this chapter.

(11) In determining whether to permit or restrain the relocation of the child, the Court shall make its decision in accordance with the best interests of the child. The Court shall consider all relevant factors including, but not limited to:

(a) The relative strength, nature, quality, extent of involvement, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;

(b) Prior agreements of the parties;

(c) Whether disrupting the contact between the child and the person with whom the child resides a majority of the time would be more detrimental to the child than disrupting contact between the child and the person objecting to the relocation;

(d) Whether either parent or a person entitled to residential time with the child is subject to restrictions under this chapter;

(e) The reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation and the good faith of each of the parties in requesting or opposing the relocation;

(f) The age, developmental stage, and needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation or its prevention will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child;

(g) The quality of life, resources, and opportunities available to the child and to the relocating party in the current and proposed geographic locations;

(h) The continued cultural relationship between the child and the Tribes;

(i) The availability of alternative arrangements to foster and continue the child’s relationship with and access to the other parent;

(j) The alternatives to relocation and whether it is feasible and desirable for the other party to relocate also; and

(k) The financial impact and logistics of the relocation or its prevention.

(12) In determining whether to permit or restrain the relocation of the child, the Court may not admit evidence on the issue of whether the person seeking to relocate the child will forgo his or her own relocation if the child’s relocation is not permitted or whether the person opposing relocation will also relocate if the child’s relocation is permitted. The Court may admit and consider such evidence after it makes the decision to allow or restrain relocation of the child and other parenting, custody, or visitation issues remain before the Court, such as what, if any, modifications to the parenting plan are appropriate and who the child will reside with the majority of the time if the Court has denied relocation of the child and the person is relocating without the child.

(13) A court may not restrict the right of a parent to relocate the child when the sole objection to the relocation is from a third party, unless that third party is entitled to residential time or visitation under a court order.

(14) The Court may sanction a party if it finds that a proposal to relocate the child or an objection to an intended relocation or proposed revised residential schedule was made to harass a person, to interfere in bad faith with the relationship between the child and another person entitled to residential time or visitation with the child, or to unnecessarily delay or needlessly increase the cost of litigation. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.440 Military service.

(1) If the parent with whom the child resides a majority of the time receives temporary duty, deployment, activation, or mobilization orders from the military that involve moving a substantial distance away from the parent’s residence or otherwise would have a material effect on the parent’s ability to exercise parenting functions and primary placement responsibilities, then:

(a) Any temporary custody order for the child during the parent’s absence shall end no later than 10 days after the returning parent provides notice to the temporary custodian, but shall not impair the discretion of the Court to conduct an expedited or emergency hearing for resolution of the child’s residential placement upon return of the parent and within 10 days of the filing of a motion alleging an immediate danger of irreparable harm to the child. If a motion alleging immediate danger has not been filed, the motion for an order restoring the previous residential schedule shall be granted; and

(b) The temporary duty, activation, mobilization, or deployment and the temporary disruption to the child’s schedule shall not be a factor in a determination of change of circumstances if a motion is filed to transfer residential placement from the parent who is a military service member.

(2) If a parent receives military temporary duty, deployment, activation, or mobilization orders that involve moving a substantial distance away from the military parent’s residence or otherwise have a material effect on the military parent’s ability to exercise residential time or visitation rights, at the request of the military parent, the Court may delegate the military parent’s residential time or visitation rights, or a portion thereof, to a child’s family member, including a stepparent, or another person other than a parent, with a close and substantial relationship to the minor child for the duration of the military parent’s absence, if delegating residential time or visitation rights is in the child’s best interest. The Court may not permit the delegation of residential time or visitation rights to a person who would be subject to limitations on residential time under TTC 4.20.350. The parties shall attempt to resolve disputes regarding delegation of residential time or visitation rights through the dispute resolution process specified in their parenting plan, unless excused by the Court for good cause shown. Such a court-ordered temporary delegation of a military parent’s residential time or visitation rights does not create separate rights to residential time or visitation for a person other than a parent. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346].

4.20.450 Third party visitation rights.

(1) Any relative or person with a significant connection to the child may petition the Court for visitation rights at any time including, but not limited to, custody proceedings.

(2) Any relative or person with a significant connection to the child who is not granted custody of the child may be granted reasonable visitation rights unless the Court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health. The Court may order visitation rights for any person when visitation may serve the best interest of the child whether or not there has been any change of circumstances.

(3) The Court may modify an order granting or denying visitation rights whenever modification would serve the best interests of the child but the Court shall not restrict a parent’s or grandparent’s visitation rights unless it finds that the visitation would endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.460].

4.20.460 Child support.

Child support shall be governed by the Tulalip Tribes Paternity and Child Support Code. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.470].

4.20.470 Court-appointed attorney to represent interests of child.

(1) The Court may appoint an attorney to represent the interests of a minor or dependent child with respect to his or her custody, support, and visitation.

(2) The Court shall enter an order for costs, fees, and disbursements in favor of the child’s attorney. The order shall be made against either or both parents, except that, if both parents are indigent, the costs, fees, and disbursements may be borne by the Tribes, provided sufficient funds are available. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.480].

4.20.480 Payment of costs and attorney’s fees.

The Court from time to time after considering the financial resources of both parties may order a party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party for maintaining or defending any proceeding under this code and for reasonable counsel or attorney’s fees or other professional fees in connection therewith, including sums for legal services rendered and costs. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.490].

Article VI. Legal Separation

4.20.490 Jurisdiction.

In order to maintain an action for legal separation in the Tribal Court, at least one party to the marriage must be an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes. The Court has continuing jurisdiction to resolve matters pertaining to the legal separation that have not been previously adjudicated by a judgment in the proceeding. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.500].

4.20.500 Scope of legal separation.

In a decree of legal separation, the Court may address the following issues, including, but not limited to: custody of children, maintenance, child support, disposition of real and personal property and debts, and expenses of suit as may be equitable under the circumstances. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.510].

4.20.510 Legal separation procedure.

(1) Proceedings for legal separation shall be commenced and conducted in the manner provided by law for civil cases, except as otherwise specifically provided.

(2) If either party in a proceeding for legal separation is a member of the military, the Court may conduct the proceeding in such a way as to be consistent with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(3) The Court Clerk shall provide the parties with a form titled Washington State Certificate of Dissolution, Declaration of Invalidity, or Legal Separation, and once the form is completed, the Court Clerk shall sign it and submit it to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.520].

4.20.520 Restraint.

The Court may temporarily or permanently restrain either party from doing certain acts harmful to the other or to the children, or to the property of either, during the pendency of the proceedings for legal separation. Violation of a current and valid restraining order shall be a Class B offense under the Tulalip Law and Order Code. In addition, contempt or exclusion proceedings may be brought against any party violating a valid court order obtained pursuant to this section. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.530].

4.20.530 Maintenance and suit money.

During the pendency of the action for legal separation, the Court may order the spouse to pay temporary maintenance and suit money as in an action for dissolution. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.540].

4.20.540 Criteria for maintenance.

In a proceeding for legal separation, the Court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the Court deems just, without regard to misconduct, after considering all relevant factors including but not limited to:

(1) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him or her, and his or her ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party;

(2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find employment appropriate to his or her skill, interests, style of life, and other attendant circumstances;

(3) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(4) The duration of the marriage;

(5) The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the spouse seeking maintenance; and

(6) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs and financial obligations while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.550].

4.20.550 Modification of decree of legal separation.

(1) The provisions of any decree of legal separation respecting maintenance or support may be modified only upon a showing of substantial change of circumstances. The Court may only modify installments occurring after the date of the petition for modification.

(2) The provisions of any decree of legal separation respecting property disposition may not be revoked or modified, unless the Court finds the existence of conditions that justify the reopening of a judgment under the laws of the Tribe.

(3) The provisions of any decree of legal separation respecting child custody may be modified according to Article V of this chapter.

(4) The provisions of any decree of legal separation respecting child support may be modified according to the Tulalip Tribes Paternity and Child Support Code. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.560].

4.20.560 Termination of maintenance obligation.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree of legal separation or other court order, the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.570].

4.20.570 Rights and liabilities of legally separated persons.

(1) Either spouse can obtain, own, hold, give, sell or otherwise deal with real or personal property as if they were unmarried.

(2) Either spouse can enter into contracts and sue or be sued to the same extent and in the same manner as if unmarried.

(3) Neither spouse, nor the property of either in which the other spouse has no interest, is liable for any new debts or obligations acquired by the other spouse after the date of the decree of legal separation.

(4) Neither spouse, nor the property of either in which the other spouse has no interest, is liable for torts committed by the other spouse.

(5) A conveyance, transfer, or lien executed by either spouse in favor of the other shall be valid to the extent such an action is equitable under an interpersonal trust relationship.

(6) The Tulalip Tribes shall accept the community property laws of the State of Washington currently in force at the time of any decree or order under this code as its own, except as specifically provided in this code. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.580].

4.20.580 Family expenses.

The expenses of the family and the education of the children are chargeable upon the property of both spouses or either of them, and they may be enforced jointly or separately. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.590].

4.20.590 Conclusiveness of decree of legal separation.

A decree of legal separation is final when entered, subject to the right of appeal. To seek a decree of dissolution, the parties must start a separate proceeding for dissolution. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.600].

4.20.600 Conversion to decree of dissolution.

No earlier than 60 days after a petition for legal separation has been filed, on motion of either party, the Court shall convert the petition for legal separation to a petition for dissolution of marriage. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.610].

Article VII. Domestic Partnerships

4.20.610 Registered domestic partners.

Registered domestic partners shall be treated the same as spouses. Any privilege, immunity, right, benefit, or responsibility granted or imposed by Tribal ordinance, court rule, policy, common law or any other law to a person because the person is or was a spouse, or because the person is or was an in-law in a specified way to another person, is granted on equivalent terms, substantive and procedural, to a person because the person is or was in a registered domestic partnership or because the person is or was, based on a registered domestic partnership, related in a specified way to another person. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.620].

4.20.620 Requirements.

To enter into a registered domestic partnership the two persons involved must meet the following requirements:

(1) At least one of the persons is an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes;

(2) Both persons share a common residence;

(3) Both persons are at least 18 years of age;

(4) Neither person is married and neither person is in a registered domestic partnership with another person;

(5) Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic partnership; and

(6) Neither person is a lineal descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin to the other person. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.630].

4.20.630 Registration.

(1) Two persons desiring to become registered domestic partners who meet the requirements of TTC 4.20.620 may register their domestic partnership by filing a declaration of registered domestic partnership with the Court Clerk and paying the filing fee established by the Court. The declaration must be signed by both persons and notarized.

(2) Upon receipt of a signed, notarized declaration and the filing fee, the Court Clerk shall register the declaration and provide a certificate of registered domestic partnership to each person named on the declaration.

(3) The Court Clerk shall keep a public record of all declarations and certificates issued.

(4) The Court Clerk shall provide the State Registrar of Vital Statistics with records of declarations of registered domestic partnerships. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.640].

4.20.640 Reciprocity.

A legal union, other than a marriage, of two persons that was validly formed in another jurisdiction, and that is substantially equivalent to a domestic partnership under this chapter, shall be recognized as a valid domestic partnership and shall be treated the same as a domestic partnership regardless of whether it bears the name domestic partnership. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.650].

4.20.650 Marriage.

(1) Partners in a registered domestic partnership may apply and receive a marriage license and have such marriage solemnized pursuant to this chapter, so long as the persons are otherwise eligible to marry, and the persons to the marriage are the same as the persons to the registered domestic partnership.

(2) A registered domestic partnership is dissolved by operation of law by any marriage of the same persons to each other, as of the date of the marriage stated in the certificate. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.660].

4.20.660 Dissolving a registered domestic partnership.

A registered domestic partnership may be declared invalid or dissolved under the same terms as a marriage pursuant to this chapter. [Res. 2015-504; Res. 2015-138; Res. 2013-346. Formerly 4.20.670].