Legal Information

Other Family Problems

The Statutes that govern divorce actions in American Samoa are:

A.S.C.A. §42.0202  Grounds for divorce.

The High Court may dissolve any marriage contract and grant a decree of divorce, or may grant a decree of judicial separation, for any one of the following causes:

(1)   adultery;

(2)   habitual cruelty or ill usage;

(3)   desertion for 6 months or more;

(4)    sentence to imprisonment for a term of 10 or more years or for life;

(5)   voluntary continuous separation for a period of 5 years or more.

(6)  irreconcilable differences.


A.S.C.A. §42.0206  One year residency requirement.

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b), the petition shall be dismissed if upon the evidence presented the court finds any of the following:

(1)  that it has not been established that either the petitioner or respondent has been a bona fide and continuous resident of American Samoafor at least one year next preceding the commencement of the action or proceeding;


A.S.C.A. §42.0209  Order for maintenance. [“alimony”, “spousal support”]

When the divorce, separation or annulment is granted, the court may make an order for the maintenance of either party it deems proper and just under the circumstances.


A.S.C.A. §42.0210  Custody of minor children.

When the divorce, separation or annulment is granted, the court may make a division of, or order with respect to, the property of either or both of the parties as it deems fair and proper and order for the custody, care, maintenance and support of the minor children of the parties.


A.S.C.A. §42.0211  Restoration of maiden name.

When the divorce, separation or annulment is granted, the court may restore to the woman the name used by her prior to the marriage when so requested.


NOTE: Before you visit ASLA to discuss a divorce, you need the following documents:

1. A valid photo identification such as your passport, driver's license, Voter Registration Card and a valid Immigration ID if you are a foreign national.

2. Your marriage certificate. If you were previously married, you should have your divorce decree or your ex's death certificate for that previous marriage.

3) Your minor children's birth certificates.


The ASLA intaker or attorney will ask you questions about the parties' residency, basis for divorce, whether the divorce is uncontested or contested, issues of child custody and visitation rights, child support, division of properties and debts, etc. It is important to be honest with your answers. Dishonesty will cause your attorney to make decisions that harm your case. Nobody expects you to be a saint. Even the saints had flaws and made mistakes. 

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Both spouses to review, complete and sign form in order for ASLA to determine whether the divorce sought will not be contested. ASLA refers many uncontested divorce cases of eligible clients to private attorneys under its Private Attorney Involvement reduced fee program.

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