Requirements for divorce in Wyoming
You can file for divorce in the state if you have lived in Wyoming for a minimum of 60 days.
You can file for divorce either in the county where you live or where your spouse lives.
If you lived in Wyoming earlier but moved away, you must live in the state again for a minimum of 60 days before filing for divorce.
If your spouse and you have children, the court can make decisions about the custody of the children only if they have lived in the state for 6 months or if there is an emergency situation. Without an emergency situation, you will have to wait for a minimum period of 6 months before filing for divorce, if you move to Wyoming with your children from the marriage.
After you file your divorce papers, you will have to wait for a period of 20 days at least before you can get a divorce; however, it can take longer than this.
Grounds for divorce
Wyoming is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that you do not require to give a specific reason for a divorce. You need to simply state that there are “irreconcilable differences” between your spouse and you and there is no way of reconciliation.
And, although Wyoming is a “no-fault” divorce state, the plaintiff can state some grounds to get a divorce and some of the grounds are:
Physical, verbal or mental abuse
Abuse of alcohol or drugs
Non-support and/or financial irresponsibility
Incompatibility i.e. if one spouse wants to relocate or travel and the other spouse wants to remain in the same place.
Step 1: Starting your divorce
Preparing the Documents
To file for divorce in Wyoming, you need to fill out the following forms. Below are some of the forms that must be completed, although you may need to fill additional forms.
Documents Needed for Filing for Divorce
Vital Statistics Form: This records your divorce for the state records purposes.
Complaint for Divorce: This identifies both the spouses and their children and asks the court to grant a divorce.
Acknowledgment and Acceptance of Service: The plaintiff serves the defendant spouse himself/herself if both spouses agree and this form is then signed and filed with the court clerk.
Affidavit to Allow Service by Registered or Certified Mail: Allows the court clerk to mail the Divorce Complaint and Summons by registered or certified mail.
Notice of Publication: This puts the defendant spouse on notice that he/she must file his/her Answer within 30 days or face a default judgment.
Answer to the Complaint for Divorce: The defendant states the allegations and claims what he/she agrees with or disputes.
Affidavit for Divorce Without Appearance of the Parties: Requests the court to grant a divorce without a hearing.
Decree of Divorce: This grants the divorce and details out the terms of the division of assets and debts, child support, parental plan, visitation, alimony, etc.
Application for Entry of Default: Requests the court to grant divorce by default.
Affidavit of Plaintiff in Support of Default: Supports the allegations of the plaintiff that the default is justified.
Affidavit of Defendant in Support of Default: Supports the allegations of the defendant that the default is justified.
Confidential Financial Affidavit: This has details about the income and expenses of each spouse and also has information about the children.
Income Withholding Order: Specifies the terms and amount of child support.
Notice to Payor: Orders the employer of the payor to deduct and send the spousal and child support and the medical insurance payments to the Wyoming Disbursement Unit.
Certificate of Mailing Decree of Divorce: Confirms that the divorce decree has been mailed.
Filing Your Forms
When the forms have been completed, 2 copies of the forms must be made. The documents will then be stamped by the court clerk with the date that they have been filed on and the copies of the documents will be returned to you. You must also pay a filing fee while submitting your papers to the court clerk unless you fill a form for a fee waiver and the court approves the same. Serve all the documents that you have filed with the court along with the Summons as soon as possible.
Step 2: Notifying your spouse
Once the documents have been prepared and filed, you must serve your spouse immediately.
If your spouse does not have a lawyer, then your spouse must be served at his/her home address. If your spouse has a lawyer, then you must send the forms to the lawyer’s office and no copies must be delivered to your spouse.
Methods your spouse can be served:
By delivering the papers to your spouse personally, as long as your spouse completes the Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Service form acknowledging that he/she has been served.
By having the sheriff deliver the forms to your spouse.
If your spouse resides outside Wyoming or you are unable to locate him/her, there are other rules of service that you can check with the court clerk or on the court website.
Step 3: contested or uncontested?
Contested Divorce (High Costs)
When you file for divorce, you must serve the papers on your spouse immediately and he/she can respond to the divorce action. If the defendant files a counterclaim for the divorce action, then the divorce becomes a contested one.
In the case of a contested divorce, all the matters that are disputed are decided in the courtroom and the unresolved issues are decided by the judge, who will learn all the aspects of your marriage and make a final decision.
Usually, a contested divorce can take months and the finalization of divorce depends mainly on the issues that need to be resolved by the court. Contested divorces not only take very long, but they are also expensive as you have lawyers fighting for your interests.
Uncontested Divorce (Low Costs)
An uncontested divorce is where both spouses agree on all the terms of the divorce as they want to move on quickly. Uncontested divorces (without or with children) are quicker and also cost much lesser than contested divorces.
However, in the case of an uncontested divorce, all the major issues must be resolved including division of assets and liabilities, child custody, support, health and dental insurance, alimony or spousal support and other relevant issues.
Step 4: DIY or get a lawyer?
DIY divorce Papers (Slower & Least Costly)
If your spouse and you have an agreement about all the terms of the divorce, then you can handle the paperwork and the various other aspects of the divorce on your own. You can get the forms needed for a DIY divorce in the self-help section of the website of the Wyoming Supreme Court.
You must fill out the forms that are appropriate for your situation. There are Pro Se forms available for different situations, so you must download the packet that’s appropriate for you.
You must complete:
Packet 1 forms if you are the plaintiff and you have minor children with your spouse.
Packet 2 forms if the divorce has been initiated by the defendant and you have minor children with your spouse.
Packet 3 forms if you are the plaintiff and you don’t have minor children.
Packet 4 forms if you are the defendant and you don’t have minor children.
Packet 10 forms are miscellaneous forms that you must download irrespective of whether you are the plaintiff or defendant or whether you have children or not.
You must read the instructions carefully before filling out the forms and be thorough while responding to the questions. And, although the forms are issued by the Judicial Branch of Wyoming, it is a good idea to check with the local court and ensure that the judge will accept the forms.
Online Divorce Services (Fastest & Inexpensive)
The main issue with the DIY method is that you have to figure out all the paperwork on your own. When you use an online divorce service, you paperwork is completed within hours or a few days.
If your divorce is an uncontested one, then you can save time and the effort of filling your divorce forms on your own by using an online divorce service.
The online service offers a web platform that helps to prepare your forms. This way, there is no need for couples to understand the divorce laws and procedures. All you need to do is answer questions about your marriage and the system will fill the forms needed according to the state regulations that are approved by the court for a nominal fee. The online service will also provide instructions on the next steps and how to file your papers with the court.
3StepDivorce is the best provider in the space and you can have your paperwork completed for a flat fee of $299.
Attorney Divorce Trial (Longer & Expensive)
If your divorce is a contested one and you do not agree on some of the issues related to your divorce with your spouse, then the case will go to trial, where it will be heard in the court by a judge.
Both parties must hire lawyers who will present and argue the case on your behalf. The judge will then hear your case and take decisions on all the unresolved and disputed issues.
Step 5: the main issue
When your spouse and you decide to get divorced, this involves the division of property and the debts between your spouse and you. According to the divorce law of Wyoming, all the property is marital property irrespective of when or how it was acquired. However, the state’s divorce law does not provide a lot of guidance on the way the property should be divided.
If there is no agreement between both spouses, the court will divide the property “equitably and fairly” after considering the merits of both spouses and the condition that the divorce will leave them in, the party via who the property was got and the liabilities forced on the property for the benefit of either spouse and their children.
Alimony / Spousal Support
If you have any agreement with your spouse regarding the alimony (also if there will not be any payment of alimony), this will be approved by the court most likely. The alimony law of Wyoming does not provide a lot of guidance and in the case that there is no agreement, the decision of the alimony is left to the discretion of the judge.
The law states that either spouse may be awarded “reasonable alimony” from the estate of the other spouse considering the capacity of the other party to pay. The court may order the amount of real estate, rent or profits from the estate of the other party as required to be assigned and given to either spouse for life or it may order a specific amount to be paid by either spouse.
Child Custody Laws
If your spouse and you have minor children from the marriage, then there will be a custody determination. This essentially is determining how the child’s time will be divided between both parents and how the decisions pertaining to the child will be made. The court may order the parents to attend parenting classes to reduce the effects of the divorce on the kids.
If you have an agreement regarding the child custody with your spouse, then this will be accepted by the court, unless it is determined that the agreement is not in the best interests of the child. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding custody, then the judge will decide the same based on the best interests of the child after considering the following factors:
Child’s relationship with each parent.
Ability of each parent to provide proper care for the child during the period of responsibility, which includes arranging the child’s care by others as required.
Relative fitness and competence of each parent.
Willingness of each parent to accept all the responsibilities of parenting including the care at particular times and giving up the care to the other parent at particular times.
How the child and each parent can strengthen and maintain their relationship.
How the child and each parent communicate and interact with one another and how this can be improved.
Distance between the residences of both parents.
Ability and willingness of each parent to let the other to provide care for the child without any intrusion and also respect the other parent’s rights, responsibilities and privacy.
Present physical and mental ability of each parent to care for the child.
Evidence of any child or spousal abuse.
Any other relevant factors.
The decision of how the children will be supported financially must also be made. This essentially arises from one parent paying support to the other parent.
The child support is determined by considering the child’s needs and the ability of each parent to meet these needs. This is determined by the child support guidelines of Wyoming.
Step 6: Finalizing your divorce in Wyoming
Once the divorce forms are filled in and filed with the district court, there may or may not be a hearing to review the terms of the divorce and the settlement.
If the paperwork is fine and there are no problems, then the judge will sign the Divorce Decree and the divorce will be final.
In Wyoming, after the papers have been served to the defendant, it may take a minimum of 20 days for the divorce to be finalized.