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Wyoming Court Records

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How to File For Divorce in Wyoming

Known as dissolution of marriage, Wyoming allows couples who are legally married to dissolve the civil unions under state laws. The judiciary adjudicates divorce filings and keeps records of the proceedings in the state, where the divorce rate is 9.4 per 1000 women as of 2018. If either party meets preliminary requirements for filing a complaint, the court has the statutory authority to grant a divorce in twenty days. However, a typical uncontested divorce takes an average of eighty days, and a complex divorce goes on for several months. 

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Wyoming?

No. Wyoming is a no-fault divorce state: allowing couples to dissolve a marriage based on irreconcilable differences (Wyo. Stat. § 20–2–104).. Otherwise, the only statutory ground for divorce, which is explicitly stated, is incurable insanity (Wyo. Stat. § 20–2–105).. While not stated explicitly, Wyoming statutes do mention family violence as a ground for bringing divorce actions to court (Wyo. Stat. § 20–2–112).. Plaintiffs who file based on irreconcilable differences of marital relations need not provide further evidence. On the other, a divorce filing on the ground of insanity is subject to verification before the court grants the petition.

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

Consulting a divorce lawyer is a prudent decision before bringing up a divorce suit and during divorce actions (even if the plaintiff does not want representation). In some cases, moving out of the family home or trading a financial asset may have repercussions in the final adjudication of disputes. Furthermore, due to the unpredictable and emotional nature of divorce proceedings, the litigants need a lawyer to act as the voice of reason. He/she has years of legal training and experience to protect the best interests of the client. While an intending divorcee may receive unsolicited experiential advice from other divorcees, it is never prudent to act on such pieces of advice without consulting a lawyer. As lawyers charge per hour for consultations, the client need not pay a retainer.  

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Wyoming?

Per Wyo. Stat. § 20–2–107, no individual may file a complaint for divorce without meet state residency requirements. Generally, one of the parties must have resided in Wyoming for at least sixty (60) days at the time of filing the complaint. Otherwise, both parties must have been married in Wyoming, and one party must have resided in Wyoming since the marriage. 

These are the steps involved in filing for divorce in Wyoming:

  • Filing the paperwork:

A divorce suit begins when the plaintiff submits a complaint for divorce at the office of the clerk of district court. Besides the complaint, the plaintiff must also complete other paperwork depending on the nature of the divorce. Then, he/she must pay the filing fees and proceed to serve the papers.

  • Serving the papers:

Divorce is a civil action and shall follow the Wyoming Rule of Civil Procedure. At this stage, the plaintiff uses a process server to notify the defendant that a divorce action has begun. The process server is the county sheriff, a private process server, or an indifferent party. Upon receiving the divorce papers, the defendant shall have the opportunity to respond to the suit with an answer or counterclaim.  

  • Mediation:

Mediation is applicable where the parties need to resolve disputes before divorce proceedings begin. If the parties agree on matters such as asset and liability division, child custody, child support, and alimony, then mediation is unnecessary. The parties must submit a settlement agreement, or the judge will have sole discretion in deciding the disputes.

  • Preparing for trial:

Here, both parties go through discovery, i.e., sharing financial information and other relevant documents or information that will aid their argument. Withholding information or hiding assets during a discovery will result in unsavory civil or criminal penalties if found guilty.

  • Court hearing:

In many cases, a court appearance is unnecessary: the judge will review the complaint and settlement agreement before issuing the divorce decree. However, where there are disputes to decide, the parties must appear in court. The time from the judge’s review (or trial) to issuing a decree is a minimum of twenty days in Wyoming.

How to File for Divorce in Wyoming without a Lawyer

The steps for filing a divorce are no different for self-represented litigants. Pro se litigants may request official resources from the clerk of courts or use resources available on the self-help page. The judiciary organizes divorce forms into packets, and intending divorcees must download, complete, and file the divorce packet applicable.

How Does Wyoming Divorce Mediation Work?

Mediation is a method for intending divorcees to resolve differences outside the courtroom, away from adversarial attorneys. The mediator is a neutral third-party, trained, and certified to foster communication between spouses. He/she is not a marital counselor and does not offer any personal opinion or advice. Instead, acting on ethical guidelines, the goal of the mediator is to forge a compromise between spouses. However, a successful mediation hinges on fairness and openness from both spouses. As there is no discovery—the process of sharing financial information and other information between litigants—both parties must act in good faith and be willing to compromise. Regardless, the agreement in a mediation is not legally binding on either party pending a judge’s review and decree of divorce. Either party can request a review of the settlement agreement at any time before final adjudication.

How Long after Mediation is Divorce Final in Wyoming?

It depends. A successful mediation, where both parties work together, is typically over in a few sessions. On the other hand, where the situation is rife with discord, and both spouses are not willing to yield grounds, mediation takes longer. The program ends when both parties decide that only a court judgment can resolve the differences. Note that this decision transfers control from both spouses to the presiding judge, whose decision is final. The time from mediation to final divorce varies; the court cannot issue a decree until twenty days have elapsed after the complaint.

Are Divorce Records Public in Wyoming?

Yes, divorce records are public documents under Wyoming Sunshine Laws (Wyo. Stat. § 16–4–201).. However, under a court order or applicable statute, the record custodian may remove a divorce record from public access. This removal happens when a divorce record contains sensitive data as well as information that is confidential or violates privacy laws regarding minors, social security numbers, and financial information. Consequently, only authorized entities can access sealed divorce records. An interested member of the public must obtain a court order that grants access to inspect the documents of interest. Where the custodian allows the inspection of sealed records, he/she must redact sensitive information before providing the documents to the requester.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching for records simpler, as geographic locations do not limit their activities. Thus, the search engines on third-party sites may help when starting a search for 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 persons involved in the case. These include information such as the city, county, or state of residence or accusation.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not government-sponsored. Consequently, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Get Wyoming Divorce Records?

The requester must visit the district court that adjudicated the case and issued the divorce decree. The protocol for requesting divorce records vary from county to county. For example, Goshen County and Sweetwater County allows in-person record searches at the courthouse. All visits must be during business hours.

For mail requests, the requester must enclose a written request in a self-addressed stamped envelope and attach payment for associated fees and a government-issued photo I. D. Contact the court for an estimate of associated fees and acceptable payment methods. This court directory lists the address and contact information of district courts in Wyoming.

All mail requests must contain the necessary details to perform a record search, i.e., the name of the parties, dates of filing and decree, or case number. Depending on the record management system of the courthouse, the requester may provide the names of the presiding judge or attorneys to narrow down the search.

Likewise, eligible persons may request divorce certificates from Wyoming Vital Statistics Services. However, the divorcees, members of their immediate family, and legal designees may request divorce certificates.

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