This is a complete guide to divorce in Wyoming.
In this guide, you’ll get educated on exactly how divorce works in Wyoming .
Specifically, we’ll cover the differences between divorce and legal separation, types of divorce, overview of the process, how much it costs, and a whole lot more.
So if you want to make sure you have a lay of the land (and steer clear of the landmines), we’ve got you covered.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
- Legal Separation vs. Divorce
- Annulment vs. Divorce
- What are your Options for Getting a Divorce in Wyoming?
- What is the Process of Getting a Divorce in Wyoming?
- Can I File for Divorce Without an Attorney?
- Can I File for Divorce Online?
- Can I Mail Divorce Papers?
- Refusing or Contesting a Divorce
- How Long Does a Divorce Take in Wyoming?
- Is there a Waiting Period?
- Expediting Your Divorce
- What is the Cost of a Divorce in Wyoming?
- Contested vs Uncontested Divorces
- Fault-based vs No-fault Divorce
- Divorce Decree vs Proof of Divorce
- Can I Reverse a Divorce in Wyoming?
- Bifurcated Divorce
- How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Wyoming?
- Changing Your Name
- Bonus: Recommended Resources
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Wyoming?
If you meet residency requirements for Wyoming, then you can file for a no-fault divorce. This means you don’t need to give a specific reason, only that you and your spouse can no longer get along and you have irreconcilable differences.
In cases of incurable insanity, a spouse will be given a guardian to help him/her through the court process and a county attorney to defend him/her in court. The spouse who files will be responsible for all attorney fees, court costs and guardianship fees.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Legal separation is similar to divorce because it allows a couple to figure out how to best resolve assets, child custody, alimony support and other major concerns. The big difference is that a couple remains married in a legal separation.
Some couples may choose legal separation for religious reasons, because divorce may be a conflict depending on their spiritual beliefs. At other times, legal separation may be a way to let a spouse keep health insurance and can provide tax benefits that only married couples can enjoy.
If at any time a spouse changes their mind, either can still move forward with getting a divorce.
Read More: Legal Separation vs. Divorce: Pros and Cons
Annulment vs. Divorce
An annulment is an equivalent as if a marriage never happened. The marriage is declared void. Wyoming does allow annulments, but only when certain legal grounds are present. Those grounds include:
- Bigamy – one spouse has a living husband or wife at the time of marriage
- Incompetence – one spouse couldn’t mentally understand what the marriage meant
- Incest – the spouses are related, closer than first cousins
- Underage – one spouse was under the legal age for marriage (you can get married in Wyoming at 18, or 16 with a parent or guardian’s consent. You can get married under 16 only with the approval of a parent or guardian and a county judge.)
- Force – one spouse was forced or threatened at the time of marriage
- Fraud – one spouse was lying about or hiding something essential at the time of marriage, and
- Impotence – one spouse can’t have sexual intercourse (must be filed within the first two years of marriage).
- Incompetence may also be a ground for annulment if a spouse can’t mentally understand the concept of marriage. This may include a spouse who is insane, intoxicated, or mentally disabled at the time of marriage.
To get an annulment, you must file a Complaint for Annulment in the county court where you have lived for at least 60 days. This will result in a hearing to determine if an annulment should be granted.
What are your Options for Getting a Divorce in Wyoming?
There are several possible ways to get a divorce in Wyoming. They include:
This is known as an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on all the issues in advance, you can file paperwork with the court stating this fact, and you will usually be granted a divorce in a short amount of time, the least amount of emotional stress, and the lowest possible costs. You may be able to go through the entire process without appearing in front of a judge or appearing only briefly to answer a few questions.
This is similar to a DIY divorce, except that you rely a lot more on pre-printed forms and online services or attorneys to help you complete the required paperwork. The automated approach can save a lot of money, but you need to be careful about making costly mistakes if you go this route.
You meet with a neutral third party who helps you work through the areas of disagreement you have, such as property division, child custody and visitation, and related issues. When you strike an agreement, you draw up a proposal and submit it to the court for approval. This is a quicker, cheaper, and less contentious route for many couples than going through a full-blown trial.
This is an option for couples who still have a fair amount of cooperation and trust between them. Any disagreements are resolved respectfully and amicably using attorneys who are specially trained in collaborative law. That is less costly than other forms of divorce and leaves decisions with the couple, and not a judge. If collaboration fails, you can move forward with other types of divorce, but you will need to retain a different attorney if you do.
Litigation is a traditional approach to divorce. You and your attorneys engage with your spouse and their attorneys in an attempt to negotiate a settlement before going to trial. About 95% of all litigated divorces end this way. If you can reach an agreement through a negotiated settlement or arbitration instead of a trial, then you can save some time and aggravation.
When two people have tried other ways of settling their marital affairs, and there is a high degree of conflicts and outstanding issues, a trial often results. These can be long, drawn-out, and expensive with a judge who will make rulings based on applicable state law. You may also not like the rulings that are decided by a judge, and you’ll have little recourse in most cases to modify the results.
Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Divorce Mediation
What is the Process of Getting a Divorce in Wyoming?
Assuming you meet residency requirements for filing a divorce in Wyoming (60 days prior to filing the complaint), you can fill out your forms on your own if you want to represent yourself (known as pro se).
The forms for a divorce are available on the Wyoming Supreme Court website in the Self-Help section. You only need to fill out the forms that apply to your situation. If you need help, ask an attorney or get assistance through a free legal aid organization.
File your paperwork with the court, generally in the county where you or your spouse reside. You can use the Wyoming District Court locator to find your courthouse, by county, and the name of the clerk of court.
After paperwork has been filed, you’ll need to serve your spouse with the paperwork. The can be done immediately, either directly, by mail, or by using a sheriff to deliver them for you. You’ll need to file proof of service with the court. Different rules apply if spouse is in the military, out-of-state, in jail, or can’t be found.
The served spouse can file a response to contest terms of the divorce. At this point, you will either negotiate terms of the divorce with your spouse, use mediation or some other form of collaborative divorce, or proceed to litigation, including a possible trial in front of a judge.
At a trial, evidence and testimony will be presented to a judge rules on various parts of your divorce. A division of assets, child custody and support, and alimony are often the most contentious flashpoints for disagreement.
Can I File for Divorce Without an Attorney?
You do not need an attorney to represent you in a Wyoming divorce. Many people in uncontested divorces take on these duties by themselves.
However, if you have any unresolved issues with your spouse it’s probably a good idea to get some legal guidance to find out what your rights and responsibilities are.
Can I File for Divorce Online?
In Wyoming, you can start the process online by working with a firm that will help you complete initial paperwork or with an attorney who can assist you via email. The best firm out there is It’s Over Easy. They specialize in helping people fill out their divorce papers online, and do so at a very reasonable price.
But once the paperwork is complete, you must file in person at the courthouse where you or your spouse live.
Can I Mail Divorce Papers?
After you file with the court, one of the ways to complete proof of service is by registered or certified mail.
Your spouse will need to sign an acknowledgement that they received the paperwork. This notification will then be filed with the court.
If your spouse refuses service this way, you’ll need to complete proof of service by other means.
Refusing or Contesting a Divorce
When your spouse wants a divorce, you can’t refuse that process. You do have the right to contest the terms of the divorce if you disagree with any of the issues. This will lead to a negotiated settlement or a trial in front of a judge as a way to protect your interests.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Wyoming?
At a minimum, it takes at least 80 days to process your divorce in Wyoming. This assumes spouses are in agreement, and there is a good level of cooperation between the husband and wife.
When there are disagreements, those will need to be resolved either by negotiations, including mediation or collaborative divorce, or by going to trial in front of a judge.
This can draw the process out by several months, and as long as a year and possibly more.
Is There a Waiting Period?
You must wait at least 20 days after you file papers to get a divorce. However, most divorces take longer, depending on what kind of disagreements you have with your spouse and how long it takes to resolve them.
Expediting Your Divorce
The best way to speed up your divorce is to be as cooperative as possible with your spouse. You don’t need to cave to every demand, but you should agree to seek middle ground as much as possible. You’ll save time, money and anxiety when you go this route.
If you do have disagreements, you can expedite things by being attentive to requests for information and appearing on time and fully prepared at all court dates.
What is the Cost of a Divorce in Wyoming?
Filing fees vary by count but generally run between $70 and $100.
You will also have to pay any fee charged for serving your spouse. The District Court Clerk at your local courthouse can tell you what the fees are.
These fees may be waived if you can prove you are financially challenged.
Read More: How Much Does Divorce Cost?
Contested vs Uncontested Divorce
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse are not able to agree on all the issues related to your divorce in advance. You will either have to negotiate your differences to find a settlement or appear in front of a judge as part of a trial.
An uncontested divorce means you have resolved all your issues in advance and you may only have to appear in front of a judge for a brief hearing before your divorce is finalized.
No-fault vs Fault-based Divorce
A no-fault divorce means you and your spouse means that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences and there is no chance to get back together.
A fault-based divorce can be granted when there is a reason that is allowable under the law. In Wyoming, a fault-based divorce can be based on incurable insanity if a spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least two years before filing for divorce.
Divorce Decree vs. Proof of Divorce
A divorce is the court’s final order granting you a divorce. It contains detailed information about the court’s final decision regarding the legalities of your divorce in Wyoming.
Proof of divorce is a certificate that only provides minimal information stating that two people had divorced, when and where the divorce took place. A proof of divorce certificate is often required when a person wants to get remarried.
Wyoming divorce records become public information 50 years after the decree was issued. While restricted, these records may only be obtained by either party or their respective legal representatives. However, persons who are authorized by a court order allowed access to the record.
Divorce records can be obtained from the office of the court clerk in the court where the decree was issued. Alternatively, these records are accessible from through Wyoming’s Vital Statistics Service.
Copies are also available by mail or in person.
requestors must enclose a government-issued photo ID and a check or money order for $20 to cover copy and certification costs. All requests may be submitted to:
Vital Statistics Services
2300 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Can I Reverse a Divorce in Wyoming?
If you are the petitioner in a divorce in Wyoming, and you want to stop a divorce in progress, perhaps because you have reconciled with your spouse, you can do so by filing a request to dismiss the divorce complaint.
However, once your divorce has been finalized by the court, there is no way to reverse the action.
A judge in Wyoming may allow a couple to divide a divorce into two separate legal actions, known as a bifurcated divorce.
This happens when most issues can be resolved, but a few issues could take a long time to adjudicate.
The judge will allow the divorce to proceed, but with the understanding that another court action will be required to finalize outstanding unresolved issues.
How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Wyoming?
Although it can’t be used as a reason to seek a divorce, adultery can be used to help bolster a case for alimony. Judges may weight this as a factor when making decisions about the amount and duration to be awarded.
Read More: 37 ½ (Not So) Obvious Signs Your Wife is Cheating on You
Changing Your Name
You will be presented either an option to restore your former name or request a court order for changing names when preparing your divorce forms.
The name change will be granted as part of your divorce. You may either receive a separate court order making your name change official, or else have your name change recorded on the final divorce decree. Either of these documents are accepted with all US agencies and organizations as evidence of your name change.
Start by updating your name with the Social Security Administration. Once complete you can go onto change names everywhere else.
It’s time consuming to contact each company and figure out what to send where, so we recommend using an Easy Name Change kit to cut out the 8 hours of research and paperwork that follows.
Read: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Changing My Name
Recommended Divorce Resources
There are a lot of divorce resources that make big claims. We’ve tested a bunch of them. Most fall short. A few stand above the rest.
We’re incredibly excited to share these tools with you because we’re certain that they can help you have a better divorce experience.
If you’re looking for recommendations in any of the following areas, we’ve got you covered:
- Online divorce
- QDRO preparation to divide retirement plans and pensions
- Masterclass on ninja tricks to negotiating with a narcissist
- Co-parenting apps
- Personal finance and budgeting apps
- Best place to sell your engagement ring
- And a whole lot more
You can check them out here >>
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