Wyoming Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Wyoming and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Wyoming courts.
In Wyoming, you can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
It is important to be aware of the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation when creating a parenting plan in the State of Wyoming.
These laws can be found in the Wyoming Statutes, Chapter 20, Domestic Relations.
The law specifies the factors the court uses when ruling on child custody cases, defines many of the terms used by the courts, and describes the manner in which custody may be awarded.
If you use the law as a guide when creating your parenting plan and consider the best interest of your child to be the main priority of the plan, you will be better equipped to create a parenting plan the court will accept.
In the State of Wyoming, the courts have the power to decide the custodial arrangement for any child when the case is brought before the court for litigation.
The court may award physical and legal custody either jointly to both parents, solely to one parent, or in any combination the court finds to be in the best interest of the child (20-2-201-d).
Physical custody pertains to the actual physical care of the child, where he or she lives, etc.
Legal custody involves the rights and responsibilities of each parent to make important decisions, such as where the child will go to school, what doctor he or she will see, etc.
When ruling on any matter involving the custody of a child in the State of Wyoming, the court uses the best interest of the child as the ultimate determining factor.
In determining the best interests of the child, the court considers (20-2-201-a):
- The quality of the relationships between the child and each parent. The ability of each parent to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, and shelter, medical care, and protection while the child is in that parent's care
- The ability of each parent to arrange for adequate and appropriate childcare for the child, as needed
- The ability of each parent to properly care for the child as it pertains to their competence and fitness
- The willingness of each parent to function as a parent by accepting parental responsibilities
- The willingness of each parent to accept the child during specified visitation times
- The willingness of each parent to relinquish the child to the other parent at the appropriate times
- How the each parent can maintain and strengthen their relationship with the child
- How the parents and the child interact and communicate with each other and how the interaction and communication may be improved
- The ability and willingness of each parent to allow the other parent to have relationship with the child
- The willingness of each parent to allow the other parent to have parenting time with the child without intrusion or interruption
- The geographical proximity of the parents' homes to each other
- The mental and physical health and abilities of the parents
- Any other factors the court finds relevant
Parents in the State of Wyoming are permitted and encouraged to work together and submit a parenting plan to the court.
This is often the best method of creating a parenting plan, as the parents have intimate knowledge of the child's needs, habits, schedule, and their own availability and history of care.
When you are able to work together to create your parenting plan, it is beneficial to your child, but sometimes working with the other parent can prove to be difficult.
If you cannot agree on the issues in your custody case, you may want to attend mediation to try to work your differences out. However, even if you are unable to agree on anything, you are still permitted to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court on your own. It gives the judge something to consider.
Regardless of how you submit your parenting plan, the court will review it to make sure it serves the best interest of your child and meets the requirements of the law.
If the court determines your parenting plan is acceptable, it will be made part of the court order and will become part of a legal document that both parents will be required to comply with.
A comprehensive parenting plan may include:
- The full name and birth date of each child involved in the proceeding.
- A statement detailing which parent(s) shall have legal custody of the child and which parent(s) shall have physical custody of the child.
- The designation of the primary residence of the child, for legal purposes.
- An allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, including which parent(s) will be authorized to make the major decisions in the child's life, such as decisions regarding the child's education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
- A child visitation schedule that clearly defines when the child will spend time with each parent on a regular basis, for holidays and special occasions, and for vacations. It is important to create the child visitation schedule as specific as possible, in order to provide the child with stability, security, and so it is easily understood and enforceable.
- Provisions that allow the child to communicate with each parent by phone, mail, and electronic means.
- Provisions for the transportation of the child between exchanges, including who will transport the child, who will incur the transportation expenses, and where the exchanges will occur.
- A method for dispute resolution that designates returning to court as the last resort.
- A method for modifying the parenting plan as the child's needs may change in the future as he or she grows and matures.
- Any other provisions the parents are able to agree on and wish to include
The top ten cities in Wyoming (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Gillette, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Green River, Evanston, Riverton, Cody.