Grounds for Divorce in Wyoming

Learn more about Wyoming's pure no-fault divorce laws.

By , Attorney

The Basics of Divorce in Wyoming

Whenever a couple reveals to friends and family that they are getting divorced, the first reaction is almost always "why?" We might think that our social circle is being nosey when asking questions, but when it comes to the court, your reasons are an essential part of the divorce process.

Courts in every state require couples provide legal grounds for divorce, so when you begin preparing your application for divorce, you will need to list the specific reasons for your request. Some states still allow parties to request a divorce based on fault, meaning one spouse claims that the other spouse's bad choices throughout the marriage were the reason for the breakup. Fault grounds vary from state to state, but the most common reasons for a fault divorce are adultery, desertion, or imprisonment.

All states allow some form of no-fault divorce, which courts usually base on irreconcilable differences, meaning the couple just doesn't get along anymore, and there's no chance the relationship will improve in the future. One of the best features of no-fault divorce is that it's mostly drama-free. Unlike fault divorce, which requires at least one spouse to point fingers or place blame, couples using the no-fault process will testify to the state of their relationship, and that is typically enough evidence for a judge to grant the divorce.

Most states also allow divorcing couples to obtain a divorce based on a separation of a certain amount of time.

Wyoming Is a No-Fault Divorce State

A fault divorce is more complicated than no-fault because the accusing spouse needs to prove the allegations to the court and as a result, fault cases tend to take up more of the court's time. To streamline the divorce process, Wyoming eliminated the option for a fault divorce, meaning it is a purely no-fault divorce state. If your spouse wronged you by misbehaving during the marriage, you could still ask the judge to consider fault in other aspects of the divorce process, like property division or child custody decisions.

You can request a divorce even if you're spouse objects, and you only need to demonstrate the following:

  • there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage, or
  • your spouse is incurably insane.

Proving irreconcilable differences may seem complicated, but it's not. To put it simply, if your relationship is over and at least one of you is willing to testify in court to that effect, the court will grant your divorce.

In one Wyoming case, a wife was unhappy with her employment, so she demanded that her husband quit his job and move closer to her family. The husband testified that he was prosperous and secure in his profession and refused to move. The fact that the couple wanted opposite things in life was enough to convince the judge that the marriage suffered irreconcilable differences, and a divorce was appropriate.

What Is Incurable Insanity?

As an alternative to irreconcilable differences, courts in Wyoming can also grant a divorce if your spouse is incurably insane. The logic behind this argument is that if a spouse is mentally insane, and a court or doctors agree, in most cases, there's no chance the competent spouse can enjoy a healthy marriage.

To prove that the judge should grant your divorce based on your spouse's mental status, you will need to show that your spouse has been confined in a mental hospital for at least two years before you filed for divorce. If this is the case, the court will appoint a guardian to your spouse for the duration of the divorce process.

Is Legal Separation Right for You?

If you and your spouse are having relationship troubles, but you aren't sure if a divorce is the best option, a legal separation may be a better alternative for you. Legal separation is like divorce in that the judge will help decide the significant legal issues found in divorce, but in the end, the couple remains married.

Divorce-related issues include property and debt division, custody and child support issues, as well as whether either spouse will financially support the other with alimony. Most times, couples can successfully negotiate the specifics of their legal separation by creating a separation agreement, which is a legally binding document that addresses the above issues.

The requirements for legal separation are the same as divorce, meaning you will need to prove that there are irreconcilable differences in your marriage, or that your spouse is incurably insane. Remember, if your spouse is mentally incompetent, you will need to work out the details with the court-appointed guardian.

Although a legal separation may seem unorthodox, it's a process that is beneficial for couples whose religion may prohibit divorce, for couples who need to rely on each other for medical insurance, or for couples who need to remain married for tax purposes. That said, legal separation doesn't have to be permanent, which means the couple can agree or the court can order, an expiration date. Either spouse, at any time after the separation, can request a divorce from the court.

Are There Other Requirements for Divorce?

Like most states, Wyoming has a residency requirement that couples must meet before a court can grant a divorce or legal separation. At least one spouse must be a resident of the state for a minimum of 60 days before filing for divorce. However, if your wedding took place in Wyoming, and the spouse filing for divorce has lived in the state from the date of the marriage until filing for divorce, there is no other residency requirement for the couple, and the court will accept your petition for divorce.

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