The spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of the state for at least 60 days before the filing. However, if the couple was married in Wyoming, and the spouse filing for divorce has lived in the state from the date of marriage to the date of the divorce filing, then there is no specific residency requirement.
There is a waiting period of 20 days from the date of the filing before a court can issue a divorce decree.
Grounds For Divorce:
Wyoming only recognizes two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Irreconcilable differences provide the traditional no-fault ground for divorce, and the vast majority of Wyoming divorces will be processed on this basis. In order to cite incurable insanity as a ground for divorce, the insane spouse must be confined in a mental hospital for at least two years.
Although Wyoming does not allow for same-sex marriages to be performed in the state, same-sex couples who were married elsewhere can obtain a divorce there.
Divorce Action for Ground of Insanity:
- A divorce may be granted when either party has become incurably insane and the insane person has been confined in a mental hospital of this state or of another state or territory for at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action for divorce.
- Upon the filing of a verified complaint showing that a cause of action exists under this section, the district court shall appoint some person to act as guardian of the insane person in the action. The summons and complaint in the action shall be served upon the defendant by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the guardian and to the county attorney of the county in which the action is brought.
- The county attorney upon whom the summons and complaint is served shall appear for and defend the defendant in the action. No divorce shall be granted under this section except in the presence of the county attorney.
- In any action brought under this section, the district courts possess all the powers relative to the payment of alimony, the distribution of property and the care, custody and maintenance of the children of the parties as in other actions for divorce.
- Costs in the action, as well as the actual expenses of the county attorney and the expenses and fees of the guardian, shall be paid by the plaintiff. The expenses of the county attorney and expenses and fees of the guardian shall be fixed and allowed by the court, and the court may make such order as to the payment of fees and expenses as may seem proper.
Legal Separation in Wyoming:
A spouse may file for a legal separation on the same grounds as divorce. The court may address such issues as child custody and support, alimony, division of assets and debts, and related matters. The separation may be subject to a time limit or rendered perpetual by the court.
Spousal Support in Wyoming:
When the husband and wife are living separately or when they are living together but one spouse does not support the other spouse or children within his means, and no proceeding for divorce is pending, the other spouse or the department of family services may institute a proceeding for support. No less than five days after notice is personally served upon the non-supporting spouse, the court may hear the petition and grant such order concerning the support of the spouse or children as it might grant were it based on a proceeding for divorce. If the non-supporting spouse cannot be personally served within this state but has property within the jurisdiction of the court, or debts owing to him, the court may order such constructive service as appears sufficient and proper and may cause an attachment of the property. Upon completion of constructive service the court may grant relief as if personal service was had.
The court has discretion in whether to order alimony on a temporary or permanent basis, and may revise and alter the decree respecting the amount of the alimony at a later date due to a petition by either party.
Child Custody in Wyoming:
In granting a divorce, separation or annulment of a marriage or upon the establishment of paternity pursuant to W.S. 14-2-401 through 14-2-907, the court may make by decree or order any disposition of the children that appears most expedient and in the best interests of the children. In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:
- 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.
(a) In any proceeding in which the custody of a child is at issue the court shall not prefer one (1) parent as a custodian solely because of gender.
(b) The court shall consider evidence of spousal abuse or child abuse as being contrary to the best interest of the children. If the court finds that family violence has occurred, the court shall make arrangements for visitation that best protects the children and the abused spouse from further harm.
(c) The court shall order custody in well defined terms to promote understanding and compliance by the parties. Custody shall be crafted to promote the best interests of the children, and may include any combination of joint, shared or sole custody.
(d) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the noncustodial parent shall have the 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.
(e) At any time the court may require parents to attend appropriate parenting classes, including but not limited to, parenting classes to lessen the effects of divorce on children.
Child Support in Wyoming:
Where necessary and appropriate, the court shall enter orders, whether temporary or permanent, pursuant to and in compliance with this article for the maintenance of children in actions for divorce, annulment, paternity, support, out-of-home placement and any other action for the maintenance or support of children.
Child support shall be expressed in a specific dollar amount. These child support tables shall be used to determine the total child support obligation considering the combined income of both parents. The appropriate table is based upon the number of children for whom the parents share joint legal responsibility and for whom support is being sought.
Property Distribution in Wyoming:
Wyoming is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean exactly equal. It means the division will be what the court finds is fair in the particular situation. Couples who are divorcing are always encouraged by the courts to reach a settlement between themselves on property and debt issues. But if this can’t be accomplished, the court will decide the property award.
All property will be divided in an equitable manner, including property acquired prior to the marriage, and gifts and inheritances, based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective.
- How and by whom the property was acquired.
- The merits of each spouse.
- The burdens imposed upon either spouse for the benefit of the children.
- The conduct of the spouses.
- Any liabilities imposed upon the property.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses.
When the court makes the property division decision, there are several factors the court considers: the different merits of each party’s side of the case and the position they will be left in once the divorce is final, and who acquired the different pieces of property and how it will benefit either party or the children, if there are any.
Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.