Lawyers Handling Divorce & Child Custody in Cody and Throughout Wyoming
The Wyoming family law attorneys at Burg Simpson proudly help clients during some of the most difficult times of their lives. When a family divides, the emotional, financial, and legal challenges that arise can feel overwhelming. Burg Simpson understands the stress and pain these cases often present. We are committed to helping you navigate these troubling situations with strength and dignity.
At Burg Simpson, our experienced family law attorneys will listen to your side of the story, answer your questions, and address your concerns. We know what a difficult time this is for you and your family, and we strive to find the most effective and cost-efficient solution to your problems. Above all, this is your life and your case; we are here to support you with guidance
and provide all of your available options.
Contact Burg Simpson today online or at 307-527-7891 for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. Our family law lawyers serve clients throughout Wyoming from our office in Cody.
What Is Family Law?
Family law encompasses the state and federal statutes that govern the “family unit” and can include issues such as:
- Divorce & Child Custody
- Child Support
- Guardianships & Conservatorships
- Spousal Support/Alimony
- Grandparent Rights
- Marital Agreements
The family law attorneys at Burg Simpson in Cody, Wyoming are particularly sensitive to the intensely personal issues involved with family law matters. We strive to exercise the utmost compassion and expertise when it comes to matters such as annulment or divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and more.
Just as with any marriage or spouse, no two divorces are exactly the same. Our lawyers will take the time to listen to the details of your situation and provide guidance to help you navigate the divorce process appropriately. Our attorneys can help with multiple types of divorce, including contested divorce, uncontested divorce, and high-asset divorce.
A contested divorce is one in which neither party can agree on the terms of the divorce, such as child custody, the division of assets, etc. In some cases, a spouse may become hostile or violent when dealing with divorce. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to keep yourself and your children safe. Our Cody family law attorneys can help you get a court order to have your spouse removed from your shared living space and ordered to stay away from you and your children.
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the terms of the divorce, and thus do not generally have to go to court. This can save money and eliminate the stress of litigation.
Even in an uncontested divorce, it may be in your best interest to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to ensure the required paperwork is filed correctly, completely, and with the legally necessary provisions to ensure a clean divorce and fewer problems down the road.
High-asset divorces include situations that involve numerous marital assets or when one or both spouses have a high net worth. These situations are typically much more complex than other divorces and require a knowledgeable attorney with experience in these difficult matters.
During divorce proceedings, spouses are required to disclose all debt amounts, owned real estate, and privately owned property. Wyoming recognizes both marital and separate property; however, this isn’t necessarily straightforward. For example, if one spouse owned a house before marriage, but both partners made contributions to the property during the marriage, the home may be viewed as marital property.
Assets that are potentially eligible for reassignment through divorce can include:
- Investment accounts
- Vehicles and boats
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Rental properties
- Commercial properties
- Residential properties
The seasoned family law attorneys at Burg Simpson are skilled negotiators and experienced litigators. We will advocate aggressively on your behalf at the negotiating table or at trial, if necessary. Our depth of resources includes experts in asset valuation, business and property appraisals, and tax implications.
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Child Custody & Visitation
Wyoming state child custody laws center on the best interests of the child (see Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-201) and largely comprise two key concepts: “physical custody” and “legal custody”. Physical custody refers to where the child will reside, whereas legal custody relates to the important decisions that are made when raising the child, such as religious practices, non-emergency medical decisions, and education choices.
Physical custody and legal custody are further categorized as either “joint” or “sole” custody. Joint legal custody means that both parents contribute to child-rearing decisions. With sole custody, one parent is the primary decision-making authority.
In joint physical custody agreements, the child lives with each parent for certain periods, which can range from a few days a week to several months at a time. In sole physical custody scenarios, the child resides with one parent.
Another type of custody, “split custody”, exists in situations that involve more than one child. Under Wyoming law, one or more of the children are allowed to live with one parent, while one or more children live with the other parent.
In cases where the child resides with one parent, the court may grant visitation rights to the other parent. As with custody, the child’s best interest is always the principal concern.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to visitation. The best arrangements tend to be those that reasonably accommodate the schedules of both the children and the parents.
Supervised visitation is ordered in certain situations where being alone with a parent could endanger the child (such as cases in which child abuse or spousal abuse has occurred). Under this type of visitation, the supervised parent can only visit the child in the presence of an approved third party.
Child support is intended to cover the costs of raising a child. Child support typically continues until the child is 18 years old, or longer if the child has a physical or mental disability or is still in high school. It usually does not matter exactly how support money is used as long as it is spent on the child.
Under Wyoming’s child support guidelines, parents are allowed to estimate their support obligations. The amount of support a spouse receives or pays depends on the combined income of the spouses and the number of children that must be supported.
You can get a preliminary estimate on your support situation by using Wyoming’s child support calculator. Keep in mind, this tool only provides a non-binding estimate. The court must approve the amount and occasionally increases or decreases support awards based on the child’s best interests.
A family law attorney at Burg Simpson Law Firm in Wyoming can work to ensure a fair outcome in matters of child support. Contact us today to discuss your unique situation and get started.
Spousal support, or alimony, is not commonly awarded in Wyoming; however, in marriages where one spouse provided significantly more financial resources to the marriage, spousal support may be granted. Alimony is not based on a calculation, but on what the court decides is fair based on the financial situation of each spouse. When determining spousal support, the court considers a number of factors, such as:
- Each spouse’s assets and income
- Each spouse’s ability to earn a living
- Each spouse’s health
- The petitioning spouse’s financial needs
- The petitioner spouse’s ability to pay
- Whether one spouse stayed home to support the career of the other
Alimony payments fall into one of three categories:
- Long-term alimony: Although permanent alimony is rarely awarded in Wyoming, long-term alimony is sometimes granted in long-term marriages where the financially disadvantaged spouse cannot realistically become self-sufficient due to age or a lack of skills.
- Lump-sum alimony: Alimony can sometimes be awarded in a lump sum rather than as a series of payments over time.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This type of spousal support is meant to cover expenses related to education or job skill training. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to improve the employment prospects of a spouse and is usually paid monthly and can be modified or discontinued if there is a change in circumstances.
The family law attorneys at Burg Simpson have a firm understanding of Wyoming law. If you need help with any aspect of divorce or spousal support, we can help. We will fight diligently to ensure your best interests are protected during this difficult time.
Although the terms of financial support and child custody are legally binding, they are not set in stone. Over time, people remarry or find new employment with new locations, new schedules, and new incomes. Additionally, the lives and needs of children change. As life moves on and circumstances change, spouses may seek changes to the terms of custody and support.
If you would like to modify the terms of your divorce, you must demonstrate a significant and ongoing change of circumstances. Some examples of changing circumstances that may justify a modification include:
- A remarriage has caused significant changes to the custody schedule
- Child’s needs and relationships have materially changed
- One parent’s lifestyle is a potential hazard to the child
- Relocation of a parent
- A dramatic change in income
The family law attorneys at Burg Simpson in Wyoming have substantial experience handling divorce and child custody matters. If you are seeking a modification to the terms of your custody or support agreements, call our office in Cody today.
Guardianship & Conservatorship
Guardians are individuals appointed by the court to care for the needs of others, such as a minor child or an incompetent adult. In a divorce or child custody context, legal guardians have custody of the children and the authority to make decisions concerning the child(ren)’s care, education, discipline, protection, etc.
Guardians are also considered fiduciaries, meaning they have the power to make some financial decisions regarding the ward (children); however, they are typically required to consult with the court before making more serious decisions, such as executing advanced medical directives or committing the ward to a mental health facility.
A conservator, on the other hand, is someone the court appoints to have custody and control of the ward’s property. Conservators must preserve, protect, invest, and spend a ward’s property in the best interest of the ward. Conservators must also provide the court with periodic reports and financial statements that detail the status and inventory of the ward’s assets.
In an adoption, an adopting person or couple chooses to permanently be a child’s parent and assumes all parental responsibilities, including parenting, education, and financial support for the child until that child becomes of legal age. Likewise, the child’s birth parents permanently surrender their rights to the child. There are certain differences in cases of stepparent adoption.
The choice to adopt a child can be one of the most important and fulfilling decisions parents can make. When adopting a child, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney. The knowledgeable lawyers at Burg Simpson will assist you throughout the adoption process, from guiding you through paperwork to representing you in court, and any hurdles you may encounter along the way.
Paternity law involves the legal recognition of a child’s biological father. For example, when a father denies the paternity of a child, or when the paternity of a child is in question, the mother may bring a paternity lawsuit against the alleged father to recover child support. In most cases, paternity is established through genetic testing.
If you have a child and are not married, you may need to discuss your parental rights with a family law attorney. A lawyer at Burg Simpson can help you understand your parental rights, request genetic testing, establish paternity, contest paternity, secure your rights or resolve any uncertainties you may have.
There are a number of reasons why the relationship between grandparents and the parents of their grandchildren may deteriorate. There may be disagreements about parenting styles, the parents’ character may change due to substance abuse, or some other issue may arise as to why the parents withhold grandchildren from their grandparents.
Grandparents can play a vital role in the emotional development of a child. Because of this, the right for grandparents to see their grandchildren is protected by statute in Wyoming (see Wyo. Stat. § 20-7-101).
If you are a grandparent who is being shut out from seeing a grandchild or grandchildren, you have rights. An attorney at Burg Simpson can help you navigate the legal process and gain visitation rights.
Marital Agreement/Prenuptial Agreement
Marital agreements, or prenuptial/post-marital agreements, are used to protect the division of assets in the event of a divorce. Spouses choose to enter marital agreements because they define exactly what will happen should a divorce occur and protect both parties from potential misunderstandings.
There are a number of reasons why someone may seek a marital agreement from a partner, such as:
- Protecting business interests or real property
- Protecting income as separate property
- Keeping a partner’s debts and creditors separate from their own
- Protecting children from previous relationships
Both parties entering into a marital agreement should seek the guidance of an experienced lawyer. The Cody family law attorneys can guide you through the drafting process. Once both parties agree to the terms, the agreement can be signed.
Divorces constitute the end of valid marriages. Annulments, on the other hand, invalidate marriages and establish that they never existed legally in the first place. Specific conditions must be met in order to qualify for an annulment in Wyoming. These include:
- Bigamy: If a spouse has a living wife or husband at the time of marriage
- Incompetence: If a spouse could not mentally understand the meaning of the marriage
- Incest: If the spouses are more closely related than first cousins
- Underage: If a spouse was younger than the legal age for marriage
- Force: If a spouse was threatened or forced at the time of marriage
- Fraud: If a spouse lied or hid something essential at the time of marriage
- Impotence: If a spouse cannot have sexual intercourse
Religious annulments differ from legal annulments. Once a secular divorce is finalized, a religious annulment may be pursued. If you are considering the dissolution of your marriage, it is in your best interest to consult with a Cody family law attorney who can thoroughly explain all of your legal options and recommend the best course of action for you and your family.
Burg Simpson – Good Lawyers. Changing Lives.
When facing a divorce, child custody dispute, or other family law issue, choosing the right family law attorney is the single most important decision you will make. When you choose Burg Simpson to handle your family law matter, you can rest assured that your case will be given the individualized care, attention, and effort it deserves.
Our compassionate lawyers know what a difficult time this may be for you and your family. We strive to resolve disputes as amicably as possible, without the need for litigation, but there are many cases in which this is not possible. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we will not hesitate to fight aggressively on your behalf in court.
When you choose Burg Simpson, you can expect the following from our Cody family law attorneys:
- We will support you and your best interests from the beginning of your divorce through its completion.
- We will serve as your advocate in child custody disputes.
- We will communicate on your behalf with the attorneys of your spouse.
- We will fight diligently on your behalf for a just outcome.
- We will ensure that all required documents are submitted correctly and on time.
- We will help you arrive at a fair agreement with your spouse as quickly as possible.
Burg Simpson has been helping clients since 1976. We know the emotional challenges family law cases present and we understand the complexities of Wyoming law. We can provide the knowledgeable legal representation you need at a negotiating table or in a courtroom.
Speak with a Family Law Attorney in Cody, Wyoming
Since our founding in 1976, Burg Simpson has built a reputation for providing outstanding legal services for our clients. If you are seeking a divorce, or need help with any family law issue, we can help.
Contact Burg Simpson Law Firm today online or at 307-527-7891 for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. We handle family law matters for clients across Wyoming from our office in Cody.