If you decide to end your marriage, there are certain issues that have to be settled. For example, if you and your spouse have children, you'll have to decide how much time each parent is going to spend with them and how much child support has to be paid. You'll also have to divide your property and debts. If you and your spouse can't agree, a judge will have to decide the issues in your divorce.
In order to start the divorce process, you'll need to complete some forms. You can obtain the forms you'll need online through the Wyoming Judicial Branch's Self-Help Section. The forms and instructions are not a substitute for legal advice.
If you decide to proceed "pro se," you'll be representing yourself. Even though the forms have been issued by the Wyoming Judicial Branch, it's a good idea to double-check with your local court to make sure the judges there will accept the forms and that they are still current.
Be thorough and complete in responding to the questions. Fill out the forms on a computer if you can. If you aren't able to use a computer, be sure to write or print neatly and legibly.
The pro se divorce forms are divided into different packets available in the Family Law Forms section of the Wyoming Judicial Branch website. The packet you will need depends on your individual circumstances:
When you're ready, make two copies of the documents and hold onto the originals. You should go to your county courthouse and ask to the clerk to file the documents and begin your case.
The clerk of court will stamp the documents with the date they were filed and return the copies to you. If you are the plaintiff, the clerk will also sign the summons.
It's important to go to the courthouse in the county where you or your spouse reside, because your case will be handled by the district court where you live. Consult the Wyoming District Court locator to find your courthouse, by county, and the name of the clerk of court.
You can call the courthouse for more information. The clerks who work there can't provide legal advice or fill out forms for you, but they can explain certain processes and procedures. See Wyo. Stat. Ann. §20-2-104 (2019).
You'll need to pay a filing fee unless you complete two forms: an Affidavit of Indigency and a Request for Waiver of Filing Fees (both forms are located in Packet 10) and the court agrees that the fee should be waived because you can't afford it. If the court approves your affidavit and request, it will issue a signed order and send it to you in the mail.
Assemble a packet for your spouse that includes everything you filed, plus the summons. Serve your spouse as soon as possible after leaving.
When you've prepared and filed your forms, you should serve (deliver) the documents to your spouse right away. Your spouse must receive notice of the divorce proceeding through service of the divorce complaint and summons before the court can hear your case. There are several ways to complete service.
If your spouse agrees to accept a copy of the complaint and summons, you can deliver the forms to your spouse directly or by mail. Your spouse will need to complete an Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Service for you to file with the court.
If your spouse is unwilling to accept service or complete the acknowledgement, then you must arrange for a sheriff to personally serve your spouse with the divorce complaint and summons at home or at work.
Once the divorce process has begun and your spouse has been properly served, most documents in your divorce can be served by first class mail or hand delivery.
Different rules may apply if you're trying to serve someone in the military, out-of-state, in jail, or impossible to locate. Military divorces have unique rules. Check with the clerk of court for more information about these unusual situations, because it may be possible to serve your spouse by publication (meaning, published notice in newspapers).
Wyoming law requires spouses to disclose certain financial information to each other within 30 days after the defendant is served with the plaintiff's divorce papers. The defendant must complete a financial disclosure within 30 days after being receiving the other spouse's disclosure form.
The initial disclosure should include a list of jointly held and individual assets and debts, the location of all safety deposit boxes, income and retirement data, and facts about employment and wages. If child custody is at issue, then your disclosure must also explain why you think you should have custody.
There's one exception to this rule: if you and your spouse already agree to all the terms in your divorce, and you're ready to sign the divorce decree, you don't have to worry about disclosures.
In addition to the initial disclosure, both spouses have to complete a Confidential Financial Affidavit and file it with the court. This affidavit (also known as a sworn statement) contains even more details about your financial circumstances. You may have to attach additional documents to it, such as tax returns and pay stubs.
See our page on Wyoming Divorce and Family Law for more information on the divorce process and the legal issues you'll need to consider.
Legal Aid of Wyoming runs a statewide legal aid hotline, which you can call at 1-877-432-9955. The hotline takes calls Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for free legal help.