Ruby Watson attempted to ensure full payment of her ex-husband’s child support and alimony debt of $500,000 even in the event of his death by having him take out a life insurance policy. Separated since 1988 and divorced since 2001 from Eddie Paul Watson, Ruby did not have her wish granted.
The Watsons’ case had been present in the Navajo Nation court system for so long a time that the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, not the Tuba City District Court, made the final decision on December 14, 2009.
Ruby had waited 13 years (the time between their separation and their divorce) to make an effort to have the court-ruled child support and alimony payments enforced. This delay was considered to be negligence on Ruby’s part, and payment of Eddie’s debt is not going to be enforced.
In addition, Eddie’s alimony payments, which in 1988 had been $800 a month, were reduced to $200 a month, affirming a Tuba City Family Court decision in 2007.
The Supreme Court addressed the situation, saying, “The request to secure a life insurance policy is a bilagáana way of making arrangement for payment of indebtedness,” and that it is not known to the “Diné way of life.” This request, the court said, is as if hoping for the death of another person.
Please click here to view The Navajo Times article, “‘Foreign’ to Diné way of life” for further details.