Before getting a divorce in Wyoming, couples should consider whether they meet the requirements for divorce and reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce. When a couple cannot agree, it will be up to the court to decide child custody, child support, property division and alimony.
Initiating a Divorce
In order to get a divorce in Wyoming, the person who files the complaint for divorce must have resided in the state for at least 60 days. Wyoming is a no-fault state, meaning that blame is not placed on either spouse when getting a divorce. Instead, the state will allow spouses to divorce due to irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. You may initiate the divorce by filing a complaint for divorce in the district court of the county where you or your spouse lives. You must then serve the papers on your spouse, either by having your spouse sign a document acknowledging receipt of the paperwork or by requesting the sheriff or another adult serve the paperwork on your spouse.
Agreements and Mediation
A divorcing couple has the option to agree on the terms of the divorce, including how property will be divided, child custody, child support and alimony. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the court may order you to attend mediation, where a neutral third party will help you to reach an agreement. Any remaining issues that the couple cannot agree on will be determined by the court.
Child Custody and Support
Wyoming courts will make custody determinations based on what is in the best interest of the child. The court may award joint or sole legal custody, which refers to which parent makes major decisions for the child. Additionally, the court may grant joint or sole physical custody, which refers to where the child lives. Generally, the court will consider the abilities of each parent to care for the child, the relationship the child has with each parent, and any other factors the court sees as relevant to the best interest of the child. The court may also grant child support to one parent based on the income of both parents and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
When the couple cannot agree, Wyoming courts will determine how to divide property between the spouses. Wyoming law follows equitable distribution guidelines, meaning that property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. To determine a fair property division, the court will consider if the property belongs to one or both spouses, as well as contributions made during the marriage in terms of earning money for the family and taking care of the household. The court may divide personal property, real property such as the house, retirement plans and debt.
In some cases, Wyoming courts may grant one spouse alimony, also known as spousal support. The courts may award transitional support, meaning that one spouse pays for the education or training of the other spouse so she can support herself after the divorce. Another option is compensatory support, where a spouse is compensated for contributions she made during the marriage to help the other spouse pursue education or training. Alternatively, a spouse may receive spousal maintenance, which serves to provide the spouse with the same lifestyle she enjoyed during the marriage. Generally, the court will award support based on the circumstances of the marriage and the financial resources of each spouse.