It may become necessary to ask state officials to formally recognize or enforce a tribal court order. For example a person who received a name change in tribal court will have to submit a state recognition order to get a new birth certificate from the state vital statistics office.
One of the most important factors used to determine if the state will recognize and enforce a tribal court order is whether the parties were given due process in the tribal court proceeding.
What is “Due Process”?
Due process is a person’s right to have a fair chance to participate in court cases. It does not guarantee a decision everyone likes, but in the end everyone should feel like they had a chance to speak their mind and have their voices heard by neutral judges. Due process rights are protected by the United States Constitution, the Alaska Constitution, and the Indian Civil Rights Act.
What tribal court orders are recognized by state courts?
State courts should recognize all orders in which the tribal court had jurisdiction and provided due process. In Alaska, there are different standards for how state courts recognize different types of tribal court orders:
ALSC created a one page chart explaining enforcement in Alaska, available for download:
How do I get the Alaska Court System to recognize the Tribe’s orders regarding…
- Domestic Violence
According to federal law, Tribes are not required to register their protection orders with the state for state law enforcement to serve and enforce them. However, registration may be helpful. The orders may be sent to the local state court clerk, stamped with a state number, and then forwarded to the state law enforcement.
ALSC held a webinar discussing the topic of enforcement of Tribal Court Protective Orders, the recording of which can be viewed below:
A tribal court adoption order does not have to be registered with the state court system. A tribal court adoption order may be sent directly to the State of Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics with the appropriate forms. See instructions on the “Adoptions” page.
If the family does not want a new birth certificate, the adoption order may be registered with the state court using a Full Faith and Credit Petition.
- Child Protection
Alaska has adopted court rules for Tribes to send child protection orders to the state court for recognition and enforcement. These rules are Child In Need of Aid Rules 24 and 25.
The State Court System has forms to register tribal court child protection orders in state court.
|Request to Register Tribal Court Custody Order
|Request for Hearing About Registered Tribal Court Custody Order
|Request to Keep Identities Confidential in Registered Tribal Court Order
|Request for Expedited Enforcement of Tribal Court Order
|Return of Service
- Custody (parent v. parent), name change, and other civil cases
To register custody, name change, and other civil cases, the Tribe can use the below petition. The petition is available in PDF–download it and fill in the blanks yourself. You can also utilize the A2J Author tool–which asks you questions and then autofills the template and gives you a completed PDF. The A2J tool can be found here. Both use the same basic template.