Wyoming alimony is clearly defined for couples seeking to understand their rights and obligations regarding spousal support. Alimony offers support and maintenance to a former spouse who cannot adequately provide for him or herself.
This article helps you understand the different types of alimony and how spousal support is determined in Wyoming.
How To Calculate Wyoming Alimony
Calculating alimony in Wyoming is very much at the discretion of the judge. During separation or divorce proceedings, couples work through tough issues such as child custody and support and marital property division. However, numerous couples require the court’s intervention when discussing alimony.
– Amount of Alimony
Wyoming has no specific formulae used to calculate the amount of alimony. The Wyoming alimony laws (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 20-2-114 (a) (2021).) that address alimony have allowed the court to award alimony to a spouse, taking into account the spouse’s ability to pay.
This ensures that the awarded alimony is reasonable and doesn’t overwhelm the paying spouse. The statute doesn’t provide any other factors, and it’s up to the judge to calculate favorable alimony on a case-to-case basis.
For temporary support requests, the court may gather financial information from each spouse and use the retrieved data to calculate alimony. Long-term alimony payments require an in-depth analysis of the couple’s income and their future earning potential to formulate a fair and agreeable spousal support order.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alimony payments must be made by cash, check, or money order and should be specified as alimony.
– Duration of Alimony
Spousal support in Wyoming becomes effective after a court issues a decree. Temporary or short-term alimony is only available during the legal divorce process, and it aims to help the recipient spouse prepare for a single income.
A judge may order for short-term divorce if the spouse has marketable job skills or education and can find employment. Once a divorce is finalized, temporary support terminates, and post-divorce alimony (if awarded) takes over.
Rehabilitative alimony is one of the most common support types in Wyoming. It’s awarded to a spouse who has the potential of becoming self-supporting and only needs a boost to acquire an education or source for a job. Once financial independence from the ex-spouse is attained, rehabilitative support terminates.
Permanent alimony lasts until either spouse dies and is reserved for spouses in long-term marriages or certain circumstances such as declining health, advanced age, or loss of education.
How To Pay Spousal Support Wyoming
A payor is expected to fulfill their alimony obligation by making monthly, quarterly, or a lump sum payments. Lump-sum payments can be one payment or several installments for many years. The payments can be directly deposited from the paying spouse’s income to the recipient’s account through a withholding order.
How To Avoid Paying Alimony in Wyoming
Spousal support is not automatic after divorce. You and your spouse will go through a “determination of support” process to establish whether alimony payments should be awarded by the court.
Either one of the spouses can petition the court to have the alimony terminated or modified. The dependent spouse may have become financially self-supporting hence eliminating the need for alimony. The paying spouse may also find the alimony to be too high and request a reduction or termination.
– Modification of Wyoming Alimony
Modification of alimony is allowed if either partner can prove there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last order, like an illness, disability, or job loss. To change or modify an existing order, the court will hold a special hearing to review evidence backing the need for a modification. The paying spouse will be required to continue paying as per the existing order until the matter is determined in court.
Couples who independently formulate an alimony settlement agreement can’t later ask the court to modify the contract. For example, a settlement agreement can state that the paying spouse should make alimony payments for six years after the divorce. If the document fails to specify how future adjustments are to be done, the payor is obligated to pay for the whole six years with zero room for modification.
– Termination of Alimony
Unless the court order states otherwise, Wyoming spousal support can be terminated when either spouse dies. Wyoming is a unique state that doesn’t automatically terminate alimony once the recipient spouse remarries.
The paying spouse has to request the court to review the terms of alimony and prove that there is a substantial change that accompanies the remarriage, such as the recipient spouse being financially stable. Cohabitation can also result in the termination of alimony as the court requires two ex-spouses to live separately for alimony to be valid.
Signing a prenuptial agreement potentially eliminates the need to pay alimony as it clarifies the financial agreement between spouses in the event of a divorce. Ultimately, choose the right divorce attorney who is knowledgeable enough to help you understand alimony laws in Wyoming and increase your chance of avoiding payments.
Wyoming law notes that once a person reaches retirement age, that person is not obliged to continue paying spousal support. However, you may not be exempted from paying Wyoming spousal maintenance if the divorce happened during retirement. The court will consider your retirement income in determining alimony instead of the income you had while employed.
If you voluntarily retire at an earlier age, the court may not view this as sufficient reason to modify or terminate spousal support. The only exception is if the retirement was due to an illness or inability to work.
– What Are the Factors the Court Considers When Deciding on Spousal Support in Wyoming?
Wyoming alimony laws are not gender-based, and either spouse is free to request support from the other. Before issuing a spousal support order, the court may consider:
- Gross income of each spouse.
- Earning potential of both spouses.
- Marriage duration.
- Each spouse’s collective financial assets and joint marital property.
- Age and health of both spouses.
- The education and job skills of the spouse seeking alimony.
- The ability of a spouse to pay.
Some things a judge will not consider include disability benefits to either veteran spouse for service-connected disabilities and awarding any other income and property of the veteran to their current or former spouse as compensation.
– Is Alimony in Wyoming Taxed?
The IRS taxes alimony for divorces that were finalized on or before December 31, 2018. The paying spouse deducts spousal support payments, and the dependent spouse is required to report such payments as taxable income. Starting January 1, 2019, the Tax Cuts and Job Act eliminated tax deductions for alimony payments.
– Is Wyoming a No-Fault State For Divorce?
Wyoming is a “no-fault” state. This means that the state doesn’t permit divorce based on a spouse’s behavior, such as abuse, cheating, drug use, or felonies. Since cheating doesn’t hold ground in a Wyoming divorce court, neither spouse can use it as an argument for alimony. But, this doesn’t guarantee that all courts will overlook it in deciding alimony since Wyoming laws allow for a judge’s discretion in determining cases.
– How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Wyoming?
The total cost of a divorce in Wyoming can be broken down into court fees and attorney fees. The court fee for filing divorce paperwork in a Wyoming court is $70. The total lawyer fees and mediation costs range from $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the nature of the court case.
– How Is Child Support Calculated in Wyoming?
Calculation of child support in Wyoming is done using both “percentage of income” and “income share”. For instance, if the parents’ combined income is less than $833,000, the child support to be paid by the noncustodial parent will be 25% of the income. Wyoming laws require that child support payment should not be less than $50 per month.
The amount the primary custodian receives in child support may influence the amount of alimony to be awarded. Situations where the custodian is unable to support themselves or has a special needs child severely influence the case of alimony to be received by the primary custodian. Thus, the paying spouse will be required to pay both the child support and alimony.
– Can Alimony in Wyoming Be Decided Out of Court?
A couple can decide to discharge the court if they jointly disagree with the court’s decision. Often, a Wyoming alimony mediator may help the two come to a mutual alimony agreement and, the final document will be signed and availed in court for processing.
Spousal support can be difficult for divorcing couples to understand and take care of. Here are some of the major points about Wyoming alimony covered in this article:
- Calculating Alimony in Wyoming is very much at the discretion of the judge.
- Rehabilitative alimony is the most common support type in Wyoming.
- Either spouse can petition the court to have the alimony terminated or modified.
- Couples who independently formulate an alimony settlement agreement can’t later ask the court to modify the contract.
- Spousal support in Wyoming can be terminated when either spouse dies unless the court order states otherwise.
Wyoming law requires the judge to ensure a just and equitable spousal support order. It’s not used as a punishment, nor will the court discriminate against a spouse based on gender.
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