Legal Separation Vs. Divorce in Wyoming

Image of figurines of spouses going through divorce proceedings in Wyoming

When a married couple decides to split, they can choose to divorce or legally separate. Both options grant the freedom of living separately and dividing all the assets, debts, custody, and support as per the court order. However, while divorce terminates the marriage permanently, legal separation allows spouses to reunite at any moment. This article provides important details about the main similarities and differences between a divorce and a legal separation in Wyoming, reasons to choose one over another, and some key guidelines on both procedures.

What is Legal Separation?

A legal separation, also known as a judicial separation in Wyoming, is an official rule of court that allows spouses to live apart while still being married. Just like in a divorce, this formal procedure requires a couple to file a request in the local family court. The judge then makes or approves the decisions made by the spouses concerning property division, debt allocation, child custody and/or support, and alimony.

In addition, the court orders regarding all these issues are based on the same considerations that would be used in case of a divorce. These would include the length of a marriage, the presence of minor children, the financial situation of each spouse, etc. At the same time, legal separation does not make the marriage officially dissolved; the spouses are still legally married and have an opportunity to reconcile and reunite.

Can I File for a Legal Separation in Wyoming?

Man filing the legal separation form in Wyoming
Legal separation in Wyoming is a formal court process that allows married couples to live apart while still remaining legally married, addressing issues such as property division and support.

You can go through a legal separation procedure in Wyoming if you have sufficient grounds for this. The most common legal reason is “irreconcilable differences.” Another legal ground may be the incurable mental illness of one of the spouses.

Besides, the couple planning to separate should meet the state’s residency requirements. According to state laws, both or one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 60 days before filing their case.

When filing for legal separation in Wyoming, you need to submit to the court a petition requesting to be allowed separate living. There will be a mandatory 20-day waiting period, during which you have a chance to negotiate and agree with your partner on all the terms and conditions of your legal separation if you haven’t done so previously. After it is over, the court will schedule a hearing in which a judge will make final decisions concerning property and debt division, alimony, and custody. In addition, they can impose a time limit on your separation or make it permanent.

Reasons to Choose Separation over Divorce

A couple may opt for legal separation over divorce for the following reasons:

  • Religious considerations;
  • Personal beliefs;
  • Financial issues (like a joint health insurance plan, certain tax benefits, or social security);
  • Uncertainty about the complete marriage dissolution.

What is Divorce?

Man and woman dealing with divorce in Wyoming
Divorcing in Wyoming can be relatively straightforward if both spouses agree on key issues, but it still requires adherence to legal processes and paperwork.

A divorce is the final and irreversible legal ending of the marriage. While legal separation can be reversed on your request if you decide to resume your marriage, it is impossible to do this after a divorce. In this case, both spouses become officially single and are free to marry someone else, which is not allowed in legal separation.

In case of a divorce, you need to file a petition with the local court, negotiate and agree with your spouse on all the issues concerning property, children, and support, and have these arrangements approved by the judge, who makes the final order about your marriage dissolution. After the final order, your legal marital status is officially terminated.

Reasons to Choose Divorce over Separation

Considering the principal difference between legal separation and divorce, the latter is the right option if spouses are 100% certain about their desire to cut all legal ties. Therefore, you may choose to divorce if you:

  • Want to terminate all the connections with your spouse officially and completely;
  • Get full control of your own medical, legal, and financial decisions;
  • Want to marry someone else;
  • Do not want to waste money on legal separation only to go through the same procedure and expenses again later.

What Do You Need to Know Before Getting a Divorce?

To file for divorce in Wyoming, you must make sure that you are eligible to do this. At least one of the spouses must have resided in the state for no less than 60 days before filing the case. Since Wyoming is a no-fault divorce state, you only need to cite “irreconcilable differences” as the legal reason or provide proof of incurable insanity of one of the spouses.

If the parties agree on all the terms and conditions concerning property and debt division, children, alimony, and other legal and financial issues, they can undergo a quick and relatively cheap uncontested divorce procedure. However, if they are unable to settle one or several of their disputes, their contested case goes to the courtroom, where the judge will decide on the unresolved issues.

It is important to note that a contested divorce would most probably require both spouses to hire attorneys who charge hourly fees, which greatly depend upon the location and the professional’s qualification. As a result, the process will not only be long but also quite costly, reaching an average of $17,500.

Spouses who negotiate and reach all the agreements amicably to qualify for uncontested divorce do not necessarily need to hire lawyers. They can save time and money and avoid extra stress by getting their divorce forms online. Our divorce paperwork preparation service can help you get the right set of filled-out forms and instructions on how to file them with the court. This way, you will only have to spend $139 to be fully equipped to file for divorce affordably on your own.

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