Effective April 23, 1993, the Navajo Nation Code provides for common-law marriages.
In order to establish a common-law marriage, the couple must show that they intended
to be husband and wife and consented to the marriage; they lived together; and they
held themselves out to the community as married. The Family or Peacemaker Courts of
the Navajo Nation may issue a judgment that validates a common-law marriage. In the
judgment, the court will ascertain the date of the marriage’s inception. The court’s
judgment is sufficient to establish the validity of a common-law marriage.
A person claiming a valid common-law marriage under Navajo law may present a marriage
license issued by the Navajo Office of Vital Records with the date of inception clearly
documented; however, as of April 23, 1993, this documentation is not required. If
presented, the license signifies a valid common-law marriage under Navajo law and
no further development is necessary. Record identifying information about the license
on the Evidence Screen.
If, despite a Navajo Nation Court judgment or a Navajo Office of Vital Records marriage
license, other evidence raises a question as to the existence of a common-law marriage,
follow the procedures in GN 01010.800 ff. for possible submittal to the RCC for a legal opinion.