Ending a marriage can be a stressful experience, but for some couples, it may be the only option. Although it can appear to be an intimidating chore to many, it’s manageable if both parties cooperate.
To file for divorce in Wyoming, you must first learn how to navigate the state’s legal system.
This is a comprehensive narrative of the circumstances, alternatives, meanings, and ways – both why and how – to file for a divorce in Wyoming. Included are the costs and procedures.
Filing For Divorce Documents in Wyoming
After completing and signing the forms, you need to file the divorce papers with the district court clerk’s office in the county where either you or your spouse reside.
Make sure you’re prepared to pay court fees for the filing of legal documents. The current filing fee for the initial divorce papers in Wyoming is $210.
Because filing costs are always subject to change, you should contact the court clerk’s office first to confirm the amount and inquire about the payment options allowed.
In case you’re facing financial issues and cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you can request a waiver by filing an “Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Waiver of Filing Fees”.
Make sure you provide detailed information about your income, assets, and debts.
Serving Your Spouse with The Divorce Documents
Following the filing of the divorce complaint and associated papers, you must deliver the file-stamped documents through a legal procedure known as “service of process.”
In Wyoming, you have 90 days from the date you filed the complaint to serve the paperwork on your spouse.
If you fail to meet the deadline, the court will reject your divorce case, leaving you with no choice but to start over.
In Wyoming, There Are Various Ways of Serving Your Spouse:
If your spouse is agreeable, the simplest option is to hand over the documents directly, along with an “Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Service.”
Your spouse should sign the document in front of a notary public and return it to you. The signed paperwork must then be filed with the court.
(A notary public is a public official appointed by a state government to help deter fraud. Notary publics witness the signing of important documents and verify the identity of the signer(s), their willingness to sign the documents, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction).
If your spouse refuses to accept service, the courts normally advise you to arrange for a sheriff in the county, where your spouse lives, to hand-deliver the divorce papers.
In most cases, you can have a private process server or anyone over the age of 18 to handle the duty. However, involving friends or family members in your case can be difficult.
The process server will complete a “proof of service” form, which will be submitted to the court.
Wyoming court regulations also allow you to request that the defendant waive the serving of the documents.
If you use this technique, you’ll send the divorce documents along with a written request to waive service via first-class mail or any other dependable delivery mode.
Include a prepaid, stamped return envelope to return the signed waiver.
If despite your best efforts, you’re unable to locate your spouse, it’s recommended to contact the district court clerk’s office to learn about alternative methods of service, such as publishing a divorce notice in a newspaper.
What Are the Next Steps in The Divorce Process in Wyoming?
Once you’re done filing and serving the divorce documents, there are several steps you need to know to move your case along.
Responding To the Divorce Papers
In most cases, the defendant spouse has 20 days after obtaining the divorce documents to answer the complaint. If you served your spouse outside of Wyoming, the period is extended to 30 days.
When your spouse can file a response, it’s normally in the form of an “Answer” in which he or she agrees or disagrees with some or all of what you’ve detailed or asked in your complaint.
The defendant spouse may also file a “Counterclaim,” which is essentially a countersuit for divorce against you.
If your husband doesn’t respond within the time limit, you may file for a default divorce.
The judge may schedule a hearing and sign a divorce ruling granting everything you asked for in your complaint.
If both you and your spouse have minor or dependent children, you must file a Confidential Financial Affidavit with the court.
The form consists primarily of precise information regarding your income and expenses. You must also include any required evidence, such as pay stubs and tax records.
It’s better to acquire as much of this information as possible ahead of time because it’s critical to be as detailed as possible while filling out these forms.
Make certain that you are totally honest, as a spouse who fails to provide all the needed information may face consequences such as fines and possibly jail time.
Parenting Education Course
In cases involving children, the judge may require you and your spouse to attend a parenting class.
The workshops frequently include topics such as children’s needs when their families change, the consequences of separation and divorce on children, and the common ways children react to the break-up of their families.
Most of these classes are offered online. If you’re obliged to take a class, you must present a certificate of completion to the court before finalizing your divorce.
Finalizing Your Divorce in Wyoming
Before the judge issues your final divorce decree in Wyoming, there’s a 20-day waiting period that begins when you file the divorce complaint.
However, in practice, the real schedule for finalizing your divorce might be lengthy.
The length of time will mostly rely on whether your divorce is uncontested or contested.
Is Legal Separation Allowed in Wyoming?
Legal separation, sometimes known as judicial separation, is a legal process that allows spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.
Wyoming will offer a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately in specified circumstances.
The order may aid in the resolution of divorce-related issues such as alimony and property partition.
A legal separation can lead to a full divorce, or the spouse can reconcile and end the separation while still legally married.
Is There a Difference Between a Divorce and An Annulment in Wyoming?
Divorce is the process of ending a legally legitimate marriage, whereas an annulment is a process of declaring a marriage null and void. An annulment effectively declares that a marriage never occurred in the first place.
In most cases, an annulment is an option for ending a marriage that should never have been legally recognized in the first place. For example:
a marriage in which one spouse was unable to consent due to being underage or having mental incapacity,
a marriage entered under duress or through fraudulent means, or if one of the spouses was already legally married.
Important Considerations Before Filing for A Divorce in Wyoming
Before you start the filing process for divorce in Wyoming, there are several considerations you need to keep in mind about the process
Residency Requirements for Divorce
If you intend to file for divorce in Wyoming, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 60 days prior to filing for divorce.
- You were married in Wyoming, and one of you has lived in the state from your marriage until you petition for divorce.
Legal Grounds for Divorce
In Wyoming, as in other states, you should be prepared with a legally admissible reason or ground for divorce. Most states allow divorce on both “fault” and “no-fault” grounds.
Typically, a fault-based divorce entails spouse wrongdoing such as desertion, infidelity, or cruelty. In terms of no-fault grounds, neither spouse accuses the other of any misconduct.
Wyoming has joined an increasing trend of allowing only no-fault grounds for divorce. If you want to file for divorce in Wyoming, all you must do is establish that the marriage has ‘irreconcilable differences.’
In general, it indicates you and your spouse are no longer getting along, and there’s no reasonable possibility of this changing.
In divorce law, married spouses who live separately, don’t engage in a traditional marital connection, and have no plans to restore the marriage, are referred to as living separate and apart.
In Wyoming, a divorce cannot be obtained purely based on living separate and apart from your spouse.
Uncontested Or Contested Divorce
If you can apply for an uncontested divorce in Wyoming, the entire procedure will be faster, easier, and less expensive than a standard contested divorce. To be uncontested, you and your spouse must resolve all marital disputes, including the following:
- Property and debt distribution
- Child support and custody arrangements if you have small children
You and your spouse may not agree on who will pay child support.
Once you and your husband have resolved all these issues, it’s advisable to include the settlement terms in a marital settlement agreement, which can subsequently be incorporated into your divorce judgment.
If you have a settlement agreement and a simple case, you may be able to handle the divorce filing yourself.
In general, a do-it-yourself divorce is the most cost-effective way to end your marriage, but it can take some time and needs attention to detail to ensure you obtain the necessary documents, fill them correctly, and follow all the Wyoming divorce processes and criteria.
There are many other ways to seek help with the procedure, such as performing one or more of the following:
- If you want to take advantage of the benefits of an uncontested divorce but are having difficulty reaching an agreement with your spouse on matters, divorce mediation may be an option to help you work through the obstacles and achieve an agreement.
- You may also file for divorce through a service that supplies you with all the necessary forms and even walks you through the procedure.
The only issue is that the process will necessitate an uncontested divorce.
- If you choose the do-it-yourself or online method, contact a lawyer if you have any problems or want an independent evaluation of your settlement agreement.
Once you and your spouse fail to resolve your differences, there’s no other option but to follow the traditional contested divorce.
Preparation Of the Initial Divorce Documents
Once you’re ready to push through with the divorce, you need to download several crucial forms.
Take note that there are separate packets of forms for the spouse initiating the divorce process or plaintiff and the other spouse or defendant, as well as marriages with and without children.
The basic forms you need when filing for divorce include the following:
- Civil Case Cover Sheet
- Vital Statistics Form
- Complaint for Divorce, which provides the court information about your marriage and what you want in the divorce such as custody, alimony, and division of property
- Confidential Statement for Child Support Order (if you and your spouse have minor children)
Final Steps for An Uncontested Divorce
When your spouse filed an answer that agrees with everything in your divorce complaint, you must file some final forms such as:
- Decree of Divorce
- Order for Income Withholding (if you have children)
You can acquire your divorce decree without attending a hearing in select Wyoming counties.
You can file an Affidavit for Divorce Without Appearance of Parties if this is applicable in the county where you filed your complaint.
If everything is in order, the judge will review your documents and sign your divorce decree.
Even in uncontested situations, you must file documents to obtain a divorce hearing if your county needs one. You must attend the hearing after it has been scheduled.
Before signing the decree, the judge will go over all your papers and ask you some questions.
Final Steps for A Default Divorce
In case your spouse failed to file an answer to the divorce complaint within the allotted time frame, you need to submit two forms:
- Application for Entry of Default
- Affidavit in Support of Default
Bring the signed originals and two copies of these documents, as well as a blank Entry of Default, to the court clerk’s office.
Depending on your county’s requirements, you may also need to request a default hearing. Make sure to write “default” on the divorce decree you’ll give to the judge.
Final Steps in A Contested Divorce
Most divorcing couples who have contested problems are likely to settle their differences, usually with the help of their lawyers, a mediator, or both.
However, depending on the complexity of the difficulties in your case, it could take many months to get there.
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, it’s better to go to trial so that a judge can address your concerns for you. It’s usually the most time-consuming and expensive option of obtaining your divorce decree, taking a year or more.
Final Thoughts on How Do I File for Divorce in Wyoming? Costs and Procedures
Marriage has its ups and downs, but if certain difficulties are irreparable, filing for divorce may be the only viable option.
Although filing for divorce in Wyoming might be difficult, following these suggestions can help you stay on the correct track throughout the legal procedure.