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Grounds for Divorce Under Wyoming Laws
Wyoming allows for divorce based on two different grounds – the no-fault grounds and the fault grounds. Grounds are basically the legal reason for breaking up your marriage.
The no-fault grounds for divorce breaks down to what would commonly be referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” which make it difficult for the two of you to remain married.
This means that you both must agree that the marriage is broken beyond repair. As long as neither spouse contests this point, the divorce will be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
Only one grounds for divorce falls under the fault grounds in the state. That is when either spouse is incurably insane and has been confined in a mental hospital of this state or of another state or territory for at least two years immediately preceding the filing of the divorce.
In order to file for divorce, you must reside in the state for at least 60 days prior to the filing or if the marriage took place in the state, you must have resided in the state from the time of the marriage until the filing of the complaint.
A divorce petition may be filed in the county in which either spouse resides.
Name of Court and Title of Action/Parties
The following are important terms related to your divorce:
- The title of the document initiating the action for divorce is the Complaint for Divorce
- The title of the court order granting the divorce is the Decree of Divorce
- The spouse who files the action is the Plaintiff (this is either you or your soon to be ex, whomever one is filing), and the other person is the Defendant (the non-filing spouse)
- The action is files in the District Clerk’s Office
The court may decree that either party receive reasonable alimony out of the estate of the other, having regard for the other’s ability to pay and may order so much of the other’s real estate or the rents and profits thereof, as is necessary, be assigned and set out to either party for life, or may decree a specific sum be paid by either party.
If the parents are unable to reach a suitable agreement, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion. In determining a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child, the court shall consider, several factors including but not limited to:
- The quality of the relationship each child has with each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide adequate care for each child throughout each period of responsibility, including arranging for each child’s care by others as needed
- The relative competency and fitness of each parent
- Each parent’s willingness to accept all responsibilities of parenting, including a willingness to accept care for each child at specified times and to relinquish care to the other parent at specified times
- How the parents and each child can best maintain and strengthen a relationship with each other
- How the parents and each child interact and communicate with each other and how such interaction and communication may be improved
- The ability and willingness of each parent to allow the other to provide care without intrusion, respect the other parent’s rights and responsibilities, including the right to privacy
- Geographic distance between the parents’ residences
- The current physical and mental ability of each parent to care for each child
- Any other factors the court deems necessary and relevant.
- Child Support
Wyoming has established child support guidelines, which determine a reasonable amount of child support to be paid. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent’s income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child.
When the parents cannot agree on an appropriate child support obligation, the court will apply the state support guidelines. If it is deemed appropriate the court may deviate from this support amount by considering the following factors:
- The age of the child
- The cost of necessary child day care
- Any special health care and educational needs of the child
- The responsibility of either parent for the support of other children, whether court ordered or otherwise
- The value of services contributed by either parent
- Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement for that child, if the parents were never married or if the parents were divorced prior to the birth of the child
- The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation
- The ability of either or both parents to furnish health, dental and vision insurance through employment benefits
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent
- Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child
Whether either parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, in such cases child support will be computed based on the potential earning capacity (imputed income) of the unemployed or underemployed parent.