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Wyoming Legal Separation
Legal Separation in Wyoming

Like most jurisdictions, Wyoming offers couples with troubled marriages the option of a legal separation instead of a divorce when they can no longer live together. Couples choose a legal separation instead of a divorce for tax purposes, religious reasons or because they are unsure whether they want a divorce.

A legal separation in Wyoming effects the same results that a divorce does except the spouses remain married. Custody, visitation, child support, division of assets and debts, and division of marital property - all are within the scope of a legal separation. The court may order that the separation is only for a specified period of time after which the parties must either reconcile or convert the separation action into a divorce. In the alternative, the court may enter a permanent separation that has no time limit.

The only real difference between a legal separation and divorce is that in a legal separation the parties remain legally married and cannot remarry.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.

Residency

To petition for a separation, the petitioner must have lived in Wyoming for 60 days prior to filing the petition or the marriage must have happened in Wyoming and filing spouse must have resided there from the date of the marriage to the filing.

Grounds

In Wyoming, the grounds for a legal separation are the same as those for a divorce. Wyoming is an "no-fault" state, meaning that a party does not have to allege misconduct on the part of a spouse to file for a legal separation. Most people demand separation on the ground of irreconcilable differences. In some cases, a person will demand separation because the other spouse is incurably insane and has been held in a mental institution for at least two years before filing for separation.

Initial Procedure

The defendant must be served process, which includes a summons and a petition. At a hearing, the petitioner argues his or her petition. The judge asks questions of both the plaintiff and the defendant. If the other spouse agrees with the decision to separate or does not attend, the court should give an order authorizing legal separation.

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