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Wyoming Divorce Laws

divorce decreeFor couples going through the trauma of divorce, words and phrases like alimony, separation agreements, child custody arrangements, child support, child visitation, divorce settlement agreements, parenting plans and legal separation vs divorce are enough to cause one to break out in sweat.

However, if you make a study of the process, learn what your options are and what mistakes to avoid, you're likely to reduce anxiety and give yourself the best shot at a good future. 

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You will need to become familiar with certain aspects of Wyoming divorce law in order to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of becoming single again.

Click on each of the topics below. They open and close like an accordion.

Child Custody - Joint custody, shared custody, sole custody, legal custody

MomChances are you and your not so loving spouse have discussed who gets the kids, and maybe even discussed (argued about?) sole custody. As in the case of child support, Wyoming child custody gets determined with "the best interests of the child" considered first. custody strategies

So who gets Wyoming child custody and who gets visitation? You and your divorcing spouse have an opportunity to agree to a Parenting Plan, Child Custody Agreement and a Child Visitation Schedule. If you are unable to complete them, the family court has a special plan just waiting for you. Do your best to get it done yourselves. In Wyoming the courts will make orders or decrees that they believe will be in the best interest of the offspring. In order to make an informed decision, courts will determine the answers to a fixed set of questions in order to accomplish this. Additionally courts may go beyond the scope of these queries if it feels it necessary to do so. Some of what an Wyoming court will consider when determining child custody are:

  • The quality of the relationship each child has with each parent,
  • The ability of each parent to provide adequate care for each child throughout each period of responsibility, including arranging for each child's care by others as needed,
  • The relative competency and fitness of each parent,
  • Each parent's willingness to accept all responsibilities of parenting, including a willingness to accept care for each child at specified times and to relinquish care to the other parent at specified times,
  • How the parents and each child can best maintain and strengthen a relationship with each other,
  • How the parents and each child interact and communicate with each other and how such interaction and communication may be improved,
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to allow the other to provide care without intrusion, respect the other parent's rights and responsibilities, including the right to privacy,
  • Geographic distance between the parents' residences,
  • The current physical and mental ability of each parent to care for each child,
  • Any other factors the court deems necessary and relevant.

Wyoming divorce laws state that one parent will not be favored over the other when awarding child custody. The reality is that mothers get awarded custody at least three-quarters of the time.

If there have been any documented instances of spousal abuse or child abuse, Wyoming courts will consider evidence presented when determining custody of the children. If the court finds that abuse has occurred, it is expected to make rulings that protects the children 'in their best interest'. The child custody order is presumed to not only promote understanding and compliance by the parents but to ensure that the best interests of the children are met. Custody can be awarded in any combination of joint, shared or sole custody. Unless findings by the court demand other provisions, the non custodial parent will have the same right of access as the custodial parent to any records relating to the child. These records may include school records, activities, teachers' conferences as well as medical and dental treatment providers and mental health records.

The Wyoming court has the latitude, at any time, to require the parents to attend appropriate parenting classes, including but not limited to, parenting classes to lessen the effects of divorce on children.

good ideaWorried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.


Moving your child away from the other parent

The court will require either parent who plans to change their home city or state of residence, to give written notice thirty (30) days prior to the move, both to the other parent and to the clerk of district court stating the date and destination of the move. This allows the injured party the opportunity to file an objection with the court and have a hearing.

Non-custodial's rights to the child's records

The non-custodial parent has same right of access as the parent awarded custody to any records relating to the child of the parties, including school records, activities, teachers and teachers' conferences as well as medical and dental treatment providers and mental health records.

Download Wyoming Divorce Forms

[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-104, 20-2-107 and 20-2-201]

Marriage Annulment - Are you qualified to file for a marriage annulment?

justiceAccording to Wyoming marriage annulment laws, annulment is a termination of an already void marriage. In Wyoming, annulments (also known as marital annulments) are rare and to get an annulment one must prove that the marriage is null, void or voidable. One must cite appropriate Wyoming grounds for annulment and be able to prove the grounds. Grounds for annulment  include:

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  • Fraud or Duress - If you were threatened or married under duress, you can file for an annulment,
  • Consanguinity or Incest - marrying a person too closely related,
  • Bigamy is a legal ground for annulment according to Wyoming annulment laws,
  • Underage Marriage
  • Mentally Incompetent - When either party is mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage



[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-101, 20-1-113 ]

Child Support - Who pays, when they pay and how much they pay

child supportThe laws on divorce in Wyoming detail the manner in which WY child support is paid. The topic is likely the most contentious of all issues when dissolving a marriage with children. Without fail, one or both sides is displeased with the particulars if you and your spouse are unable to agree to a co-parenting plan. custody strategiesWyoming, like all other states, has created a system they hope properly addresses the financial support needed by all parties. If it's going to get ugly, it will be around the child support issue. The non-custodian claims the amount doesn't allow he or she the ability to affording a lifestyle, and the custodian often claims the amount of child support doesn't meet the child's needs. The painful truth is that both are right. Wyoming, like all states, has in place an arithmetic calculation for your child support payment.

In the unusual case where the combined monthly income of both custodial and non-custodial parents is less than $833.00, the child support obligation of the non custodial parent will be twenty-five percent (25%) of net income, but in no case will the support obligation be less than fifty dollars ($50.00) per month for each family unit in which there are children to whom the non custodial parent owes a duty of support.

Divorce in Wyoming means that in cases where a marriage annulment (or marital annulment) is sought, and there are children of the marriage, that those children be afforded the same rights, protections and parental financial support, including that the children are not considered illegitimate offspring of the parents, that other children in the state receive.

If a marriage separation (sometimes referred to as a marital separation or legal separation) has been petitioned for, the court may make such further orders for the support and maintenance of either spouse and for the support, maintenance, and education of minor children, by either spouse, or out of the property of either spouse, as the court deems appropriate.

Health care for dependents

The court will order either or both of the parents to provide medical support, which may include dental, optical or other health care needs.

Wyoming child support ends at age 18, or to age 21 for secondary education. Child support can also terminate when a.) parents marry or remarry each other, b.) the child dies, c.) the child is legally emancipated, or d.) the child attains the age of majority.

The court may deviate from the standard child support amount if it deems that amount to be be unjust or inappropriate. Factors the court may consider in its deviation include:

  • The age of the child,
  • The cost of necessary child day care,
  • Any special health care and educational needs of the child,
  • The responsibility of either parent for the support of other children, whether court ordered or otherwise,
  • The value of services contributed by either parent,
  • Any expenses reasonably related to the mother's pregnancy and confinement for that child, if the parents were never married or if the parents were divorced prior to the birth of the child,
  • The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation,
  • The ability of either or both parents to furnish health, dental and vision insurance through employment benefits,
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent,
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child,
  • Whether either parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. In such case the child support shall be computed based upon the potential earning capacity (imputed income) of the unemployed or underemployed parent. In making that determination the court shall consider:
      1. Prior employment experience and history,
      2. Educational level and whether additional education would make the parent more self-sufficient or significantly increase the parent's income,
      3. The presence of children of the marriage in the parent's home and its impact on the earnings of that parent,
      4. Availability of employment for which the parent is qualified,
      5. Prevailing wage rates in the local area,
      6. Special skills or training, and
      7. Whether the parent is realistically able to earn imputed income, whether or not either parent has violated any provision of the divorce decree, including visitation provisions, if deemed relevant by the court, and other factors deemed relevant by the court.
  • good ideaWorried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.

Modification of child support orders

Any party may petition for a review and adjustment of any child support order that was entered more than six (6) months prior to the petition or which has not been adjusted within six (6) months from the date of filing of the petition for review and adjustment. The petition must allege that conditions have changed so that a modification of the orders would result in at least a 20% change from the amount of the existing order.


[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-104, 20-2-107 and 20-2-303 through 20-2-308]

Legal Separation or Marriage Separation - Is it recognized in Wyoming?

fightingThe process of a legal separation from a divorce is similar to that of getting a divorce. To get a separation, one must petition the court, serve your partner the proper documents and present convincing evidence that supports your petition for separation. A marital separation agreement, which will include a property settlement agreement, is simply a written contract dividing your assets and debt, and spell out your rights while settling issues such as support for a spouse and/or children, and define the details of custody.

Legal separation is sometimes pursued when one of the parties wants to stay married for religious reasons, wants the advantage of deductibility of spousal support payments for income tax reasons, wants to maintain various insurance coverage's, or do not want to wait the state statutory waiting period for termination of marital status. 


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[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-102, 20-2-104, 20-2-106, and 20-2-107]

Divorce Settlement, distribution of assets - How marital property gets divided

marital assetsTo complete a separation or divorce, you'll need to reach a divorce settlement of your assets, debts, support and custody if applicable. If you are unable to reach a divorce settlement, the court will impose its own settlement. Wyoming is an equitable distribution state, which means that in the absence of a settlement agreement the marital property of the parties will be distributed among the parties in a manner the court determines to be equitable and just, but not necessarily equally among the parties.

Did you come into this marriage owning a house? Concerned about the equity in that house that you brought into the marriage and that it might become part of the divorce settlement? Here's how it works generally. What you brought into the marriage is usually all yours. However, any appreciation of the house or the property value is normally treated as a "marital asset", meaning that you will likely forfeit a third to a half of that appreciation to your spouse in the divorce. Read Rhode Island divorce statutes or consult your attorney for specifics.

Lock up the assets

If you think your spouse might try to hide assets, or spend them, we suggest you file a petition for a financial temporary restraining order. This order prevents liquidating assets or spending money beyond the basic necessities of daily living. You might first consider allocating enough funds to see yourself through, because the restraining order will apply to you too. good idea

[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-114]

Alimony (Spousal Support or Maintenance) - Past court cases (case law) influence a ruling in your case

alimonySpousal support or maintenance can be requested in any divorce action as provided for in Wyoming divorce laws. The needs of one spouse for recovery can be markedly different than for the other. The court has a wide range of remedies in this area. After examination of the facts, a court can order a sum be paid by one or both parties, in alimony form or as part of a child support determination. Courts can and do order temporary spousal support during the pendency of the action.

For spouses with little or no access to the marital assets accumulated, courts can and will order payment and access to cover needs. Note: If there are assets that, if sold, would cause unnecessary tax or penalty, you are better off making an agreement with your spouse so that the court does not order an asset sold.

The court can place the burden of costs of the divorce against either party. This can include the above-mentioned possibility that assets be sold that disadvantage one or both parties. Wide latitude is the word here on what the court can do. Best advice? Get your spouse to agree to terms that won't further disadvantage you.


[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-114]

Visitation (Co-Parenting) - The non-custodial parent receives court-ordered time with the children

familyParties to a separation or divorce have the option of submitting a Visitation Schedule or Parenting Plan to the court during the legal process. A parenting plan will detail the particulars on when each parent will have the children, and what responsibilities they will each have. If you cannot agree on a visitation schedule, the court will order one. Features typically found in a visitation agreement where the non-custodial spouse is concerned are: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year's Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father's Day with Father, Mother's Day with Mother, alternate years on the children's birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.

You may wish to consider these issues and whether they should be a part of the agreement or not. Be as specific as you can including the right language in your agreement. How will the custody decree spell out the details? What are the rights and responsibilities? Who has legal custody? Which holiday does the child spend with you? What time and where may the other parent pick the child up? What time should the child be returned home? What is the procedure to follow if either of you are running late and won't be there on time? How much notice should you be given if they are planning a vacation? How far away may the other spouse move? What about future partners? Should those partners stay overnight in front of the children?

Would you like it to be as easy as it can be? We suggest using an on-line parenting plan to document past and future activities. An on-line plan can become a great reference and often eliminates disputes about any changes to the kids schedules.

Enforcement of a visitation order

A parent may make motion to the court for a hearing alleging violation of an order concerning the care, custody and visitation of the child. If the motion is an appropriate motion, the court can require a parent to appear before the court and show just cause why the parent should not be held in contempt. The court can find that the parent is in contempt of court, award attorney's fees, costs and any other relief as the court may deem necessary under the circumstances to the party aggrieved by the violation of an order.

[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-301 to 20-2-315]

Grounds for Divorce - You must file papers using one of these allowed grounds

cheatingWyoming divorce laws permit divorces based upon irreconcilable differences (no-fault). There is no burden of proof that one spouse has committed acts which might constitute grounds for divorce. Basically, if one wants out, the marriage will end. A secondary (and little used) ground for divorce is based upon either spouse being confined to a mental institution for two years because of incurable insanity. 

Divorce forms and papers



[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-104, 20-2-105]

Residency - Have you lived in the state long enough to file for divorce?

residencyWyoming divorce laws suggest that in order for a petition for divorce to proceed, one must have resided in Wyoming for at least sixty days immediately preceding the time of filing of the complaint, or the marriage was solemnized in Wyoming and the plaintiff has resided in this state from the time of the marriage until the filing of the complaint.

A married person who at the time of filing a complaint for divorce resides in this state is a resident although his spouse may reside elsewhere.


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[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-104, 20-2-107 and 20-2-108]

Waiting Period - Restrictions on how much time must elapse before proceeding

tetheredA divorce will not be granted in Wyoming unless at least twenty (20) days have elapsed from the time of the filing of the complaint. You waited this long. Three weeks won't kill you. 

There are no restrictions against remarriage following a final divorce decree.



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Mediation - Use a mediator to resolve disagreements before or instead of trial

mediationThere are no statutory requirements with respect to mediation in Wyoming.

How do you know when it's really over? Short of abuse, when do you pull the plug and move on? You have to determine when enough is enough.  


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[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-2-201]

Grandparents Rights - Federal and State Laws permit visitation in many instances


Federal law and Wyoming custody and divorce laws allow grandparents to petition the courts for visitation. As with any other legal request involving a child, an examination will need to take place to determine if such visitation is in the child's best interest.

A grandparent may petition for visitation against any person having custody of a grandchild. A caregiver may petition for visitation if he or she has been the child's primary caregiver for at least six months out of the preceding eighteen months. Should the child be adopted, a caregiver or grandparent may not petition for visitation unless the adopting parent is related by blood to the child..

Infrequently, grandparents have petitioned the court for legal custody if the parent(s) have demonstrated an unwillingness or inability to care properly for their children. For visitation, it is suggested that grandparents ask to be included in the visitation schedule, or make these motions to the court on their own behalf. The most cost efficient way to be granted visitation (to the grandparents) is to have their requests be included in the divorce of their adult child. Failing to do that will require a separate court action and the expenses that go along with that.  

Adoption terminates any visitation claims by the grandparent(s).




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[Wyoming Statutes - Title 20 - Chapters: 20-7-101 and 102]

A Word On Your Journey Toward Healing And Recovery ...

At some point in the process, you may discover that you will not be able to manage the divorce recovery all by yourself. If you are a man, you are apt to bury the hurt and anguish and force yourself to Move On. However, unresolved feelings are just that- unresolved, and are likely to become issues later on. If you are a woman, you will feel the process more, and likely will experience a feeling of loss while feeling lost. We recommend you spend time discovering why things worked out as they did, so that you grow with the new knowledge. We offer a myriad of tools that can get you to the other side. The more you learn, the less you fear. Trust us on this. Spend some time and a few bucks and the return will be ten-fold.

Arm yourself with Child Custody Strategies, begin an on-line Parenting Plan and download Divorce Forms. Begin TODAY.