Wyoming Child Custody Laws

Mother carrying daughter outside

Determining a child custody arrangement after a divorce or separation is so important, and what's even more important is that the arrangement is made right. Child custody laws will directly affect the outcome of nearly any arrangement made within the United States. While these laws in Wyoming might be similar to those in other states, but any differences in these laws could seriously impact your case. Here is some information about current child custody laws in Wyoming.

Factors used when determining child custody

As in nearly every other state, creating a child custody arrangement that adequately meets the child's best interests. A family court in Wyoming will examine these interests by looking a several factors. Some of these factors focus specifically on the parents and their ability to care for their child. They will look at how well parents can work together in raising their child and their willingness to encourage their child to have a relationship with the other parent. They'll also look at the locations of each parent and in order to determine if each of their residences are appropriate for the child to live in, and if their homes are close enough to accommodate joint or shared custody. Another thing that the courts will note is whether a parent has a history of abusing their child or spouse. The court will do whatever possible to protect a child from abuse, so the custody arrangement will certainly take this factor into account.

Types of child custody in Wyoming

Wyoming recognizes both legal and physical custody as needing to be determined in a child custody case. Along with custody, child support is also an important element to be determined. As in many other states, legal custody recognizes a parent's legal right to make decisions for the child on large issues like education or health care. Physical custody recognizes a parent's physical right to live with and spend time with the child. Both legal and physical custody will be allocated to parents on a sole, joint or shared basis. Joint and shared custody both imply that parents will have equal or close-to-equal custody while sole custody implies that only one parent will have legal and/or physical custody. In Wyoming, joint or shared custody will only be granted in cases where it has been proven to be the best arrangement. These arrangements are also seen as depending on how well the parents can communicate with each other, as that is seen as a huge factor in making these kinds of custody arrangements work. 

When a custody order is being determined, parents are who agree on what they want out of their arrangement are able to create and present their agreement to a judge. Courts will often encourage this by asking parents to attend mediation with the hope that parents will be able to create their agreement during that time. If parents are to agree on a joint or shared order, and their proposed agreement gives each parent ample time to spend with their child, then their proposal is likely to be approved and implemented as an order. Besides parenting time decisions, parents will have to consider other factors like vacation time and transportation between homes. For legal custody, they will have to be in agreement to be able to make decisions together regarding their child. If parents are not able to come to an agreement during mediation, then a judge will step in and make a decision based on what they see as being in the child's best interests. 

As co-parents work out their custody agreement, they should also have a plan for how they plan to communicate moving forward. One such method of communication that might be suggested that parents use a co-parenting tool like the OurFamilyWizard website. The tools on OurFamilyWizard help support interactions between parents by providing different sections that handle different topics. For instance, parents can reserve all of their communication regarding scheduling changes or events for the kids to their OurFamilyWizard calendar. Being able to isolate communication having to do with scheduling to the calendar helps parents stay organized and ends the need to have to search through emails or remember verbal agreements to know what is going on. Also, everything is thoroughly documented within the different tools on the website, so both parents and the professionals they work with always know when something was posted or edited, and by whom.

This information is meant to help inform parents about what they may expect out of a child custody case in this state, but it should not be considered as legal advice. In any child custody case in Wyoming, it is best for parents to bring their questions or concerns to the attention of an attorney who specializes of family law. To find family law attorneys and other professionals in your area, check out our Resources page for Wyoming. 


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.