Wyoming Divorce Basics

Learn the basics of a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, in Wyoming.

Wyoming only recognizes two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Irreconcilable differences provides 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.

Grounds for Divorce

Wyoming only recognizes two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Irreconcilable differences provides 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.

Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

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.

(Find out more information about Filing for Divorce in Wyoming: Basic Steps).

Property Division  

Wyoming is an equitable distribution state, meaning that at divorce, marital property is divided between two spouses in a way the court considers equitable. The division doesn't have to be equal.

(To learn more, see Wyoming Divorce: Dividing Property).

Alimony          

At divorce, either spouse can ask the judge for an alimony award. Whether an award of alimony is made, and for how much and how long, would depend on both spouses’ resources and needs. The court may make a lump sum judgment in the form of real property or cash (in addition to the property settlement), or order monthly payments for a specific period of time.

(See Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Wyoming for more information).

Child Support

The court determines the amount of necessary child support by referring to the state child support guidelines. The calculation takes into consideration the parents’ combined net monthly income and the number of children needing support. The amount of child support that each parent pays is proportionate to their monthly net income. For example, if one parent’s monthly net income is $2,000 (and that parent is the custodial parent) and the other’s is $3,000, and there are two children in the support order, the total basic joint support obligation is $1,295. This support amount would not be divided equally between the parents, but proportionally. Thus, the custodial parent’s share would be $518 while the other parent’s share would be $777.

There are different calculations for different types of custody. To find out more about child support payment calculations, visit the website for Wyoming’s  Department of Family Services.

Child Custody

Wyoming courts consider child custody matters under the best interests of the child standard, which means that the goal of the custody order is to ensure that the child has adequate care and is able to maintain relationships with both parents. The court will also consider the parents’ ability to encourage the child to interact with the other parent, the parents’ ability to care for the child, and the parents’ competency.

If there is evidence of spousal or child abuse, then the court may take the proper precautions in the custody and visitation order to make sure that the child is safe, such as ordering supervised visitation or restricting visitation completely.  

A custody order can be modified at a later time if the parent who wants the modification can show that there is a material change in circumstances and that the modification would be in the best interests of the child. A custodial parent's desire to relocate with the child would be considered a material change in circumstances; the parent must seek approval from the court before moving. The parent must first give notice to the court and the other parent regarding the intention to move, and may be required to show the court that the move would be in the best interest of the child.

(For detailed information, see Child Custody in Wyoming: The Best Interests of the Child).

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