The Complaint for Divorce
By Steve Harton
This is Part 1 of a series that will walk you through an uncontested divorce in Wyoming, if you have no minor children with your spouse. I will be explaining the use of the pro se forms provided by the Wyoming Supreme Court, which can be found here. You will need form DNCP 7. At the end of the post, there is a link to an example of a completed complaint.
The complaint for divorce is the document that starts the divorce process. It identifies the court, contains the names of the Parties, states the facts that give the Court jurisdiction to hear the case, and requests the Court to grant to the Plaintiff the things he or she wants.
County – Divorces are handled in District Court, and there is a District Court in each county in Wyoming. Therefore, you will file in the County in which you reside, so you fill in your county name in the place provided.
District – Each county belongs to one of nine judicial districts. You can find out which district your county is in on this page. Enter the number of your district at the place indicated.
Names of Parties
The Plaintiff is you, the person filing for the divorce. Please enter your full, legal name here, as it appears on your birth certificate. Do not write Matt, if your name is Matthew. If you are a Junior, then be sure to indicate that as well.
The Defendant is your wife or husband. Again, enter their full, legal name.
Leave the Civil Action Case Number space blank. The Clerk of Court will assign this number when you file the Complaint, and they will write it on the form for you.
The Body of the Complaint
In Paragraph 1, you will write in the name of the County that you reside in. The paragraph also states that you have lived in the State of Wyoming for more than sixty days prior to filing the Complaint. This is a jurisdictional requirement, and if this is not true, then the Court will dismiss the case.
The only exception to this is if you were married in Wyoming less than sixty days ago, and you have lived here ever since. If that is the case, then check the Yes box. If not, then check No. If you have lived here for more than sixty days, then do not check either box.
Date and Place of Marriage
Enter the date and place of marriage. Whenever you are writing a date, it is a good idea to write out, or abbreviate the name of, the month, and write the full year. Therefore, you should write “Oct. 11, 2012” instead of 10/11/12.
You must enter the city, the county, and state of marriage. This is not the city where you got your marriage license, but the city or town where the ceremony took place. If you got married outside of the city limits, enter the name of the nearest city or down. If you don’t know which county you were married in, just do an online search and the Wikipedia entry will list it.
Enter the date that you and your spouse last lived together. This is usually the date when you or the other moved out of the home you shared. If you are still living together, then enter the date that you are filing the Complaint with the Court.
Is Wife Pregnant?
You have to indicate whether or not the wife is pregnant. If no, then check that box, and you are good to go.
However, if the wife is pregnant, you will almost certainly have to wait until after the baby is born before the divorce is granted. The reason for this is that if the parent are in dispute as to whether or not the husband is the father, then genetic testing will have to be done. Such tests are usually done after the baby is born. Even if there is no dispute that the husband is the father, the decree needs to identify the child by name and birth date, so that custody and support can be ordered.
If both parties are sure that the husband is not the father, then the divorce could be granted, but the decree must contain specific and special language to indicate that fact.
As the form says though, if the wife is pregnant, you should really consult with an attorney.
In paragraph 8, you must indicate whether or not the husband or wife should be awarded alimony, or if neither person should be awarded alimony.
In Wyoming, alimony is rarely awarded. The courts prefer to make an adjustment in property division instead. However, alimony is sometimes awarded in long term marriages, where (usually) the wife stayed home, put her education and/or career aside, and raised the kids and supported the other spouse’s career.
When you are done filling out the Complaint, you must date the document. Notice how the form is in the format of day, month years. So for October 11, 2012, you would write the 11th day of October, 2012.
You must also sign your name, print your name, your address and phone number. Be sure to put down a good address, because all notices from the Court will be mailed to that address. If the address is no good, or you don’t always get your mail at that address, you might miss an important event or an important pleading. Unfortunately, the Court will assume that you received whatever was mailed to the address that you listed.
So that is it. The Complaint for Divorce is completed! The next step is filing it with the Court.
To view a filled in Complaint for Divorce, click here.