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Conozca la Ley: Wyoming

ACTUALIZADA 23 de diciembre, 2016

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WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a lawyer in your community for more information on custody.  Go to the WY Where to Find Help page for a listing of organizations that can help.

How the custody process works

arribaHow will a judge make a decision about custody?

When deciding who will have custody, the judge will try to make an arrangement that s/he thinks is in the best interest of your child.*  Some of the factors that the judge will consider are:

  • the quality of the relationship each child has with each parent;
  • each parent's ability to provide proper care for the child, including arranging for childcare if needed;
  • how "fit" and "competent" the judge thinks each parent is;
  • how willing each parent is to accept all of the responsibilities of parenting, including:
    • caring for your child at certain specified times; and
    • letting the other parent care for your child at other specified times;
  • how the parents and each child can best maintain and improve a relationship with each other;
  • how the parents and each child interact and communicate with each other and how this can be improved;
  • how willing each parent is to allow the other parent to provide care without interference and to respect the other parent's rights and responsibilities, including the right to privacy;
  • the distance between the parents' homes;
  • the current physical and mental ability of each parent to care for each child;*
  • any domestic violence or child abuse committed by the other parent;** and
  • anything else the judge believes affects your child's best interest.*

* Wyoming Statutes § 20-2-201(a)
** Wyoming Statutes § 20-2-201(c)

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arribaCan a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?

Possibly.  When deciding custody, the judge must consider any evidence of domestic violence or child abuse that you can prove.  The judge is supposed to determine that such abuse is contrary to (goes against) your children’s best interests and any arrangements for visitation are supposed to be designed to protect you and your children from further harm.*  The judge could give the abusive parent visitation, allow the abusive parent to have only supervised visitation, or denying the abusive parent visitation altogether. 

* W.S. § 20-2-201(c)

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arribaDo I need a lawyer?

Although a lawyer is not required to file for custody, it can be highly beneficial to have one, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  A lawyer who is knowledgeable about custody can help to make sure that your rights are protected.  If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to find sources of free or low-cost legal help on our WY Finding a Lawyer page.
 

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arribaCan a non-parent get visitation rights?

If you are the child's grandparent or great-grandparent, then you may be able to get visitation rights.  After holding a hearing, the judge will grant you reasonable visitation rights if s/he thinks that it would be in the best interest of the child and that it would not substantially impair the rights of the parents.*  Note: If the child is no longer living with his/her parents because s/he was adopted, the grandparent can only file for visitation if the child was adopted by at least one of his/her blood relatives.  If neither adopting parent is related by blood to the child, the grandparent cannot file for visitation.**

Aside from grandparents, the only other person who can file for visitation is someone who:

  • is not a blood relative to the child; and
  • within the past 18 months, was the child’s primary caregiver for a period of 6 months or more.***

After holding a hearing, the judge will grant you reasonable visitation rights if s/he thinks that it would be in the best interest of the child and that it would not substantially impair the rights of the parents.***

* W.S. § 20-7-101(e),(a)
** W.S. § 20-7-101(c)
*** W.S. § 20-7-102(a)

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arribaCould a judge require me to take parenting classes?

Yes.  In cases involving child custody, the court may order the parents to attend classes parenting classes.  If the custody issues are being dealt with as part of a divorce, the judge could order you to take classes that deal with lessening the impact of divorce on your children, for example.*  If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may want to specifically request that you and the abuser take the classes at different times or different locations.

* W.S. § 20-2-201(f)

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