Wyoming Court Records
The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Wyoming
Parties who choose to terminate marital unions in Wyoming may do so through divorce or annulment. However, the process adopted depends on the attending circumstances. Parties who wish to terminate valid legal marriages may file for divorce, while parties in voidable or prohibited marriages may file for an annulment. Both processes have some similarities; however, the processes are different in requirements and function. The branch of the Wyoming Judiciary that hears divorce cases is the District Court. The District Court has general, unlimited jurisdiction and hears civil cases, including cases where the value in dispute is greater than $50,000.
What is a Wyoming Divorce Decree?
A Wyoming divorce decree represents the District Court judge’s final judgment on a divorce case. It contains the divorced parties’ settlement agreement, including child custody and child support, parenting plan, visitation rights, alimony, asset division, and other divorce issues. When a judge signs a divorce decree, it signifies the end of the process and themarriage’s final dissolution. The divorce decree also contains the divorced parties’ names and signatures and the district court judge’s name and signature.
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
What is an Annulment in Wyoming?
The annulment process invalidates void and voidable marriages in Wyoming. According to WY Stat § 20–2–101, void and voidable marriages are ones where:
- Either party has a living spouse at the time of marriage.
- Either party was not mentally capable of entering a marital contract at the time of marriage.
- Parties are closely related.
- Either party had not attained the age of legal consent at the time of marriage.
If a plaintiff or the plaintiff’s legal representative provides sufficient proof that a marriage is void or voidable, a District Court judge will issue a Decree of Nullity.
Annulment records are vital records in Wyoming (WY Stat § 35–1–401) and are therefore not accessible to the public until 50 years after the event (WY Stat § 35–1–426).. Annulment records are immediately available to parties named on the record and the parties’ legal representatives.
Annulment vs Divorce in Wyoming
Divorce and annulment are processes that terminate or dissolve a marriage union; however, each process has different requirements and effects. While divorce terminates valid and legal marriages in Wyoming, annulment invalidates marriages; this means that annulled marriages never occurred for all intents and purposes.
Some of the steps in the divorce and annulment processes are similar. Parties interested in filing for divorce or annulment may initiate the process by filing a Complaint for Divorce or a Complaint for Annulment. While a plaintiff in an annulment case must file proof or evidence of grounds for annulment along with other documentation, plaintiffs in divorce cases may file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences. Legally accepted grounds for annulment in Wyoming include:
- Incapacity due to age or physical and mental factors
- Force or fraud
Divorce and annulment may also involve similar issues, including child support, property division, and child custody. When parties in a divorce or annulment case agree about issues, the process is typically faster and involves less cost. A divorce where parties agree is an uncontested divorce, while a divorce case where parties do not agree is a contested divorce.
After filing a complaint for divorce or annulment, plaintiffs must ensure that the defendant receives a summons and a copy of the complaint. Defendants must respond within a stipulated time. If the court finds that there are sufficient grounds for annulment, a judge will issue a Decree of Nullity. In a divorce, the judge does not need to determine whether there are sufficient grounds since Wyoming allows no-fault divorces. Divorce in Wyoming is final 90 days after the judge enters a divorce decree (15 V. S. A. § 554)..
Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce In Wyoming?
No, an annulment is not cheaper than a divorce in Wyoming. Both processes have associated costs from filing fees, serving fees, surcharges, attorney fees, and other court fees. Additionally, annulment and divorce have similar attending issues, including child custody, child support, and asset distribution. Both processes have different effects, but not different financial requirements.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Wyoming?
An uncontested divorce is one where parties agree on divorce-related issues such as alimony, child support, parenting plans, child custody, visitation rights, and asset division. Typically, uncontested divorces happen quicker and require less financial resources. Parties in an uncontested divorce do not need to go through a trial or have the court make decisions on major divorce-related issues. To be eligible to file for an uncontested divorce in Wyoming, either party must have lived in the state for at least sixty (60) days at the time of filing. Parties who got married in Wyoming and have either party living in the state since the marriage are also eligible (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 20–2–107)..
Where to Get an Uncontested Divorce Form in Wyoming
Parties who meet residency requirements and other eligibility criteria for uncontested divorce in Wyoming may obtain a divorce form packet online or in person at the office of the District Court Clerk in the county where either party resides. The plaintiff must file the Complaint for Divorce together with other required forms, including financial information and the couple’s settlement agreement. The court may require parties in an uncontested divorce case to attend a hearing to confirm the settlement agreement. A judge may grant a divorce 20 days after filing. Divorce is final when the judge issues a divorce decree.
Divorce records are vital records, and in Wyoming, vital records created less than 50 years ago are only accessible to parties named on the record and legal representatives of the parties named on the record. Divorce records created more than 50 years ago are accessible to members of the public who have enough information to make records requests.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How Do I Get a Copy of my Divorce Decree in Wyoming?
To get copies of divorce decrees in Wyoming, interested parties must submit written requests in person or by mail to the District Court Clerk in the district or county where a judge first issued the final divorce order. Only authorized persons, such as persons named on a record, and legal representatives of such persons may request divorce decrees and other divorce records in Wyoming. Requesting parties must be able to provide the following information:
- Full names of divorced parties
- Government-issued photo ID or a notarized signature of the requesting party
- Date and location of the divorce
The court may charge fees to produce copies of the requesting party’s divorce decree.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored, and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Get a Wyoming Divorce Decree Online?
Divorce decrees are only available to authorized persons at the County Clerk’s office in the court where the divorce became final. For other divorce records created at least 50 years ago, interested parties may submit requests online to the Wyoming State Archives. Interested parties may also obtain certified copies of divorce records by mailing written requests to: