Legal Question in Family Law in New Mexico

Emergency custody at New Mexico pueblo

I dropped my child off at the babysitter in Santo Domingo Pueblo, while I was out the Grandmother contacted the governer of the pueblo for emergency custody because she did not want the child living off the pueblo, the governor granted it and the officials would not allow me in the home to get my child and escoted me off the pueblo. How do I fight this, how do I get my choild back if the governor has all power in a soveirn nation, Who has jurisdiction to overturn his decisions? Is there a checks and balance?

Asked on 1/28/09, 4:24 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

George Chandler Chandler Law of Los Alamos

Re: Emergency custody at New Mexico pueblo

I assume you and the child are members of the pueblo. Any state legal action defers to the pueblo by state and Federal law, if the child is a part native american. State courts will recognize tribal court decisions if they conform with certain standards. One of those would be that the decision is made by a tribal court and not by the governor of the pueblo. Depending on tribal law, the governor may have emergency powers but not power to make a permanent decision.

I suggest you contact the New Mexico Legal Aid office that is located on the Santa Ana pueblo. The phone number there is eight six seven - three three nine one. That office serves several local pueblos and one attorney there is a native of Santo Domingo.

Otherwise you're going to have to find an attorney that is admitted to practice in the Santo Domingo Tribal Court. You should go to the court and ask the Judge for the names of such attorneys. You may also try looking for attorneys in the yellow pages who specialize in Indian Law.

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Answered on 1/29/09, 7:57 pm

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