Written by attorney Timothy M. B. Farrell

CNMI Legal Digest - Discovery to Divorce

DISCOVERY : Com. R. Civ. P. 26 to 37.

Similar to the Federal Rules.

All discovery devices allowed by the federal rules are allowed. However, unless the parties stipulate to commence an exchange of information, a discovery conference and court order is required. The order assures that neither party abuses the discovery process and sets a reasonable discovery program.

DIVE SAFETY : 3 C.M.C. 5601

Scuba diving instructors must be certified and have business licenses. A liability insurance policy in the amount of $500,000 is required. Tour operators must meet similar requirements.

DIVORCE : 8 C.M.C. 1311

Grounds for a divorce are: Adultery; cruel treatment, neglect or personal indignities; willful desertion for a period of not less than one year; habitual intemperance in the use of intoxicating liquor or drugs for a period of not less than one year; sentencing of either party to imprisonment for life or for three years or more; insanity existing for three years or more; contracting by either party of leprosy; separation of the parties for two consecutive years without cohabitation, whether or not by mutual consent; willful neglect by the husband to provide suitable support for his wife when able to do so or when failure to do so is because of his idleness, profligacy or dissipation. No divorce may be granted where the ground for the divorce has been forgiven by the injured party.

Residence Requirements - No divorce may be granted unless one of the parties has resided in the Commonwealth for the two years immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.

Separation Agreements - No statutory provisions for recognition and enforcement.

Support and Alimony - In granting or denying a divorce, the court may make such orders for custody of minor children, for their support, for the support of either party, and for the disposition of either or both parties’ interest in any property that both have interests as it deems justice and the best interests of all concerned may require. Temporary orders covering any of these matters may be issued temporarily while the matters are pending final decree.

Annulment - A decree annulling a marriage may be rendered on any ground existing at the time of the marriage that makes the marriage illegal and void or voidable. There is a three month residency requirement.

Division of Property - Community property regime prevails. The dissolution of the marriage requires dissolution of conjugal partnership and a distribution of assets to the spouses. Upon filing of divorce action, neither spouse may contract debts nor effect any settlements payable from community property without court approval.

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