Qualifying For Spousal Support/Alimony
Alimony can be requested by either spouse as soon as divorce proceedings begin. For the court to accept the request for alimony, the financial position of the spouse making the request must be worse than that of the spouse being asked to pay. Although spousal support is not commonly awarded in Wyoming, marriages where one spouse provided significantly more financial resources to the marriage may establish grounds for a judge to grant alimony.
Factors the court considers in deciding on alimony include:
- The income and assets of each spouse
- The ability of each spouse to earn a living
- Whether one spouse stayed home to support the career of the other
- The health of each spouse
- The financial needs of the petitioning spouse
- The ability of the petitioner spouse to pay
As soon as the judge grants alimony, both spouses have the right to challenge the amount and duration of payments.
Basic Types Of Alimony In Wyoming
The amount of alimony awarded is not based on a calculation, but what the court deems to be fair based on the financial situations of each spouse. Payments fall into one of the three categories:
Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is intended to be used to pay for education or job skill training to help the financially disadvantaged spouse improve their chances of finding work. This kind of alimony is usually paid monthly and can be modified or discontinued if there is a change in circumstances.
Long-term alimony: In long-term marriages where the financially disadvantaged spouse cannot realistically become self-sufficient, long-term alimony is sometimes granted. Permanent alimony is rarely awarded in Wyoming, but when age and a lack of skills make living independently unrealistic, long-term support is often granted.
Lump-sum alimony: If both parties are in agreement, alimony can be awarded in a lump sum rather than as a series of payments over time. The judge also has the discretion to award alimony as a lump-sum payment, but this is not common.
Modifying The Terms Of Alimony
The court allows for changes to the terms of alimony payments, but only through a petition for modification. Without a modification request, the paying spouse can only stop making alimony payments if the term has ended or the receiving spouse has died. Changes to the term and amount of payments may be granted for changes of circumstance such as job loss or the marriage of the recipient spouse. Even if both spouses voluntarily agree to change or end payments, the paying spouse is still legally required to continue paying.