Divorce in Wyoming: Everything You Need to Know

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Unbiased team

Discover more about the costs and processes associated with filing for divorce in the state of Wyoming.

Summary

  • Wyoming allows for both “fault” and “no-fault” divorces.

  • The cost of a divorce in Wyoming can vary significantly and is largely influenced by the complexity of the case and whether it's contested.

  • One spouse must have lived in Wyoming for at least 60 days before filing for divorce in the state.

  • A financial advisor can help you protect your finances through a divorce and develop a long-term plan to rebuild afterward.

What are the different types of divorce in Wyoming?

When filing for divorce in the state of Wyoming, there are two different grounds you can opt for, which reflect the complexities of marital breakdowns:

  • No-Fault: This is the most common and straightforward option. It does not assign blame to either spouse. Instead, you require a declaration of “irreconcilable differences,” and the marriage has broken down beyond repair. 

  • Fault-Based: This option involves alleging spousal misconduct (like adultery, desertion, or cruelty). It is not commonly used in Wyoming. 

Divorce proceedings can also take a number of different routes depending on how you approach it. Here are some of the most common options when going through a divorce in Wyoming: 

  • Uncontested: Both parties agree on all terms, leading to a quicker and less expensive process.

  • Contested: Disputes over terms require court resolution. This leads to lengthier and more expensive divorces. 

  • Default: Granted if one spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition.

  • Summary: For couples with minimal assets and no children, agreeing on all terms.

  • Legal separation: Allows for asset division and living apart without ending the marriage, potentially leading to a future divorce.

How much does a divorce cost in Wyoming?

The cost of a divorce in Wyoming can vary significantly and is largely influenced by the complexity of the case and whether it's contested. 

Uncontested divorces with no children involved tend to be much cheaper than contested divorces with children present. 

While costs will fluctuate depending on your unique situation, here are some key expenses to consider:

  • Filing fees: These fees are mandatory for initiating the divorce and range from $70 to $100, depending on the county.

  • Legal representation: This is the largest variable cost. Legal fees for divorce in Wyoming typically range between $5,000 and $15,000, covering attorney fees, court costs, and other related expenses. The final amount can differ based on the complexity of the divorce and the level of dispute between the parties.

  • Additional Costs: This may encompass mediation, document preparation, and other court-related expenses, especially in contested divorces.

How do you file for divorce in Wyoming?

The procedure for filing and going through a divorce in Wyoming is similar to that of other states across the country. It is a structured process with clearly defined steps to help facilitate a smooth process. 

Here’s a more detailed step-by-step guide of what you can expect:

  1. Check residency requirements: Ensure at least one spouse has lived in Wyoming for at least 60 days before filing.

  2. Gather the necessary documents: You'll need to prepare three key documents:

    • Civil Cover Sheet: This document provides basic information about both spouses and the type of case being filed.

    • Complaint for Divorce: This is the main document that outlines the grounds for divorce, details about the marriage, and any requests for asset division, alimony, child custody, and support.

    • Summons: This is a document notifying your spouse that a divorce action has been filed against them.

  3. File the Complaint: Submit the Civil Cover Sheet, Complaint for Divorce, and Summons to the county clerk's office where you or your spouse reside. At this time, you will also pay the filing fee.

  4. Serve your spouse: After filing, you must ensure your spouse is served with a copy of the divorce paperwork. This can be done via a process server, sheriff, or through certified mail, depending on what’s allowed in your county.

  5. Wait for a response: Your spouse has 20 days to respond if they are in Wyoming or 30 days if they live out of state. If there’s no response, you may apply for an Entry of Default, which moves the process forward without the other party’s participation.

  6. Attend required courses or mediation: Some jurisdictions may necessitate parenting classes for divorces involving children or mediation to resolve disputes.

  7. Finalization: If uncontested and after the mandatory waiting period, the divorce can often be finalized without a court hearing. Contested divorces will require a hearing for a judge to make decisions on disputed matters.

How do you split assets in a divorce in Wyoming?

Wyoming adheres to the principle of equitable distribution when dividing assets during a divorce. 

Equitable distribution seeks fairness rather than an equal split. Unlike community property states, Wyoming doesn’t aim for a 50-50 division of assets. The focus is on a distribution that the court deems fair, taking into account the unique circumstances of each case.

Here is an overview of some of the key steps involved in dividing assets during a divorce:

  1. Identification: All assets and debts from the marriage are cataloged and valued.

  2. Evaluation: The current value of these assets is determined, possibly requiring professional appraisals.

  3. Fair division: The court decides on a division that is considered equitable, looking at factors like the duration of the marriage, each spouse's financial situation, and contributions to the marital estate.

This approach ensures that the division reflects the financial realities and contributions of both parties rather than adhering to a rigid equal split.

How does alimony work in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, alimony, or spousal support, hinges on the financial disparity between spouses after a divorce but isn't granted in every case. 

Spouses can request alimony when divorce proceedings start, but it's awarded primarily when one spouse's financial situation is substantially inferior to the other's. 

Key factors the judge will consider when deciding if to award alimony include each spouse's income, earning potential, health, and contributions to the marriage.

The amount and duration of alimony can be challenged and changed after the judge has made a ruling. 

What happens to children during a divorce in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, child custody decisions are governed by the principle of the child’s best interests, with a legal framework allowing for various custody arrangements. 

Parents are tasked with creating a detailed parenting plan, outlining custody, visitation, and decision-making processes. When parents can't agree, the court steps in to create this plan, prioritizing the child's welfare.

Custody may be awarded to either parent based on what is best for the child, encompassing joint, shared, or sole custody arrangements. 

The decision considers factors such as each parent's living situation, the child's preference, and the parents' ability to provide care.

Child support calculations adhere to state guidelines, taking into account parents' incomes, childcare expenses, and the child's specific needs. This ensures financial responsibilities are fairly distributed.

Get expert financial advice

A financial advisor can help you assess your current financial status, create a post-divorce budget, and develop a long-term financial plan that aligns with your needs and goals.

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs. Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.

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Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.