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Know the Laws: Wyoming

UPDATED December 23, 2016

Domestic Violence Orders of Protection

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A domestic violence order of protection is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a member of your household.

Basic information

back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Wyoming?

This section defines domestic abuse for the purposes of getting an order of protection.

Under WY state law, "domestic abuse" is when a member of your household does any of the following things to you:

  • physically abuses you;
  • threatens to physically abuse you;
  • attempts to cause or causes physical harm or acts which unreasonably restrain your personal liberty (i.e., forcibly holding you down);
  • puts you in fear of immediate physical harm;
  • makes you reasonably afraid that s/he is going to physically hurt you in the near future; or
  • makes you have sex or engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force or duress (pressure or coercion).*

If you are being stalked, you may qualify for an order of protection against stalking.

 * Wyoming Code 35-21-102(a)(iii)

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back to topWhat types of domestic violence orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

There are 2 types of domestic violence orders of protection in WY.  If a judge believes you are in danger of further abuse, s/he can issue an ex parte temporary order of protection.  "Ex parte" is Latin for "from one side," which means that the abuser is not notified ahead of time that the order is being issued and is not present in court. This temporary order will last only until your full court hearing when the abuser has an opportunity to tell his/her side, usually within 72 hours.*

A final domestic violence order of protection lasts up to 1 year and may be renewed multiple times for additional periods of time up to 1 year each.** To get a final order, you will have a hearing in front of a judge. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to tell your sides of the story at this hearing.

* Wyoming Code 35-21-104
** Wyoming Code 35-21-106

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back to topHow can a domestic violence order of protection help me?

An order of protection can order the abuser:

  • not to abuse you;
  • to move out, if you live together and grant you temporary possession of your shared residence;
  • to provide you with temporary suitable alternative housing, if you don't have use of the house;
  • not to contact you;
  • to stay away from where you live, work, and go to school;
  • to pay child support and temporary support for you;
  • not to abduct, remove or conceal any child in your custody;
  • not to sell your possessions or any shared possessions;
  • to attend counseling for the term of the order of protection and any extention the judge decides necessary (up to 1 year);
  • to pay for any medical costs due to the abuse (Note: You may also be able to sue for other losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including moving expenses or loss of earnings - see WY Suing Your Abuser for more info);
  • to do or not to do anything else that will keep you safe.*
As part of an order, you can also get temporary custody of your children. The judge can give the abuser visitation only if protections can be arranged for the safety of you and your children. For example, the judge can:
  • order the children to be exchanged in a protected setting;
  • order that visitation be arranged and supervised by another person or agency, and if the other person is a family or household member, establish conditions to be followed during the visitation;
  • rder the respondent to attend and complete to the court's satisfaction a program of intervention or other counseling as a condition of visitation;
  • order the respondent to not drink alcohol or use drugs for up to 24 hours before the visitation and during the visitation;
  • order the respondent to pay a fee through the court towards the costs of supervised visitation;
  • prohibit overnight visitation;
  • require the respondent to post a bond (place money with the court) to secure the return and safety of your children; or
  • order anything else to keep you, the children or anoother family or household member safe.*

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

* Wyoming Code 35-21-105(a),(b)

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back to topIn which county can I file for a domestic violence order of protection?

You can file a petition in the circuit court in the county where you live.  If there is no circuit court in your county, you can file the petition in the district court.*

* Wyoming Code § 35-21-102(a)(ii); § 35-21-103(a)

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