Contrary to popular belief, filing for divorce doesn't always have to be like a TV drama. For couples who are able negotiate and cooperate to work through the legal questions involved in ending their marriage, an uncontested divorce is a great option that can be relatively quick, inexpensive, and mostly drama-free.
This article provides a general overview of uncontested divorce in Wyoming.
In what's known as an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse have agreed on all of the major issues, including:
When the two of you reach a complete marital settlement agreement before you file for divorce, you can save a number of steps in the traditional, contested divorce process. Also, you may very well be able to get an uncontested "DIY" divorce (without hiring lawyers). However, you might want to have an attorney review your agreement to make sure that it protects all of your rights. You might also decide to get help from lawyers or a mediator if you're having trouble coming to an agreement, or you don't quite know how to handle complicated assets like retirement plans or a family business.
Couples who can't manage work out all of their disagreements before they file for divorce are often able to reach a comprehensive settlement eventually, without having to go to trial and have a judge resolve their remaining disputes. But the longer it takes them to come to an agreement, the more stress and expense they'll experience. (Learn why and how contested issues increase the typical cost of divorce.)
Before filing for divorce, you need to make sure that you meet Wyoming's residency requirement. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 60 days just before filing your papers—unless you were married in Wyoming less than 60 days ago, in which case one spouse must have resided there since the wedding. As long as you meet the residency requirement, you can file for a divorce in Wyoming even if your spouse lives outside of the state. (Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-107 (2021).)
Next, you'll need to gather and complete all of the required Wyoming divorce forms. It can be helpful to read through the forms and instructions before you've reached your settlement agreement, because they can explain the details of what needs to be covered in the agreement. Wyoming's online child-support calculator can also help you figure out the support amount under the state's legal child-support guidelines.
You can download the forms, along with checklists and instructions that walk you through the process, from the Wyoming Judicial Branch Self-Help Forms. There are separate packets of forms depending on whether you have minor children and whether you are the "plaintiff" (the spouse who will start the process by filing the initial paperwork) or the other spouse (known as the "defendant" in Wyoming law, even in uncontested divorces).
The forms include:
The divorce decree is the crucial document that will include all of the details in your settlement agreement. When both spouses have signed this form (in front of a notary) and agreed to its terms, there's no need for the defendant to go through the normal step of filing an answer to the complaint (although the defendant will need to file a financial affidavit).
Also, there's no need to formally serve the divorce papers on the defendant, as long as the initial paperwork includes the "Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Service" form signed by the defendant.
You should know that court clerks may not help you fill out the forms. Take your time and be careful with your answers. If the forms aren't complete, the judge may reject your paperwork. To make things simpler, you might decide to use an online divorce service that will provide you with the proper completed forms after you fill out a questionnaire. Some of these services guarantee that the court in your state will accept the forms.
Some courts require additional forms to file for divorce, so it's best to check with your local court clerk to verify that you have all the forms you need.
You should take your divorce paperwork (including two copies) for filing with the district court located in the Wyoming county where you or your spouse lives (Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-104 (2021)). A complete list of addresses for district court clerks across the state is included in each of the forms packets.
You will need to pay a filing fee (which varies from district to district).
Give a complete set of copies to your spouse and make sure to file your spouse's signed acknowledgment and acceptance of service with the court clerk.
In some counties, you won't need to attend a court hearing to finalize your uncontested divorce. Be sure to ask about the rules in your county before filing your paperwork. If no hearing is required, you will need to include an "Affidavit for Divorce Without Appearance of Parties" form with the other papers. If your county does require a hearing, you'll need to include the appropriate forms to request that a hearing be scheduled ("Request for Setting" and "Order Setting Hearing").
If no hearing is needed, a judge will go over your paperwork and approve it or ask for changes. Even if you do have to attend a hearing, it will likely be brief and straightforward. Basically, you'll confirm that you meet Wyoming's residency requirement and that you're divorcing because you and your spouse have "irreconcilable differences" (the legal reason for divorce in Wyoming). Lastly, you must explain the settlement agreement that you and your spouse submitted.
If at least 20 days have passed since you filed for divorce and there are no problems with your paperwork and agreement, the judge will sign the Decree of Divorce that you completed and submitted. (Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-108 (2021).)