Legal Information: Wyoming


December 23, 2016

If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?

To change a custody or visitation order that is already in place, you need to file a petition to modify the order (which you can find on the Wyoming Courts website).  For the judge to grant you a change in custody or visitation, you need to show that there has been a material (substantial) change in circumstances since the order was issued and that changing the order would be in the best interests of your child.  Although there are many things that can qualify as a material change in circumstances, the law specifically identifies the "repeated and unreasonable failure of the custodial parent to allow visitation provided for in the custody order" as one example of a material change that can cause the judge to modify the order.*

Also, if a parent is in the military and gets temporarily deployed, is ordered to move a substantial distance away, or there is some other military-related reason that s/he can’t exercise his/her custody or visitation responsibilities temporarily, this could be grounds to temporarily modify an order.  However, the temporary duty, mobilization or deployment and the resulting disruption to the child's schedule are not considered a “material change in circumstances” for the purpose of seeking a permanent modification of the order.**  Note: During the time that the service member parent is away, his/her visitation rights can be used by his/her family member who has a close and substantial relationship to the child.***

* W.S. § 20-2-204(c)
** W.S. § 20-2-205(a)
*** W.S. § 20-2-205(b)