The laws governing child support in Wyoming are different from that of other states. WY child support law sets how much the child maintenance should be, and the duration of such payments, plus it seeks to guide parents in exceptional cases such as deviation, support for disabled children, and retroactive support.
As you may already know, child support (or child maintenance) is a continuous monetary payment made by a spouse to another spouse, guardian, caregiver, or the state for the upkeep of children after a divorce or separation.
The person who is required to pay child support is referred to as the “obligor,” whereas the person who is eligible to receive child maintenance is referred to as the “obligee.”
What are WY Child Support Laws?
In Wyoming, the obligee is typically always the person who has primary custody of the child, which means the person who lives with the child, pays the majority of the living expenses, and has primary custody of the child.
The obligor is typically always the spouse who doesn’t have primary custody of the children and may or may not have custody or access to them.
What does Child Support Cover in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, child support is intended to cover the basic needs of the child, including:
- Food and clothing
- Shelter and housing
- Medical and dental care
- Education Expenses
The amount of child support ordered is based on the income of both parents and the number of children in the family, as well as the child’s needs.
Child Support When One Parent Lives Outside Wyoming
To enforce child support orders beyond state boundaries, each state has to have the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) in place. Wyoming is no exception.
The UIFSA ensures that child support processes and procedures are consistent across states. When one spouse lives in another state where the Wyoming courts do not have the authority to adjudicate or enforce orders, UIFSA reduces these bottlenecks.
As a result of the UIFSA, a WY child support attorney can take legal action against a spouse who now lives in another state to enforce a child support order.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated In Wyoming?
In Wyoming, child support is calculated using guidelines established by the state. The basic child support obligation is calculated by using the Child Support Schedule, which is based on:
- The combined income of both parents
- Number of children in the family
- Parents’ gross income is determined by looking at their income from all sources, including:
- Self-employment income
- Income that is excluded from the calculation includes:
- Public assistance
- Veterans benefits
- Social security benefits
- Once the basic child support obligation is calculated, the court will consider additional expenses such as:
- Daycare costs
- Uninsured medical expenses
- Extracurricular activities
- The court will order the parent with the higher income to pay a greater portion of these additional expenses
- The court will also consider other factors that are relevant to the child’s needs, such as:
- The child’s age
- The cost of living in the area
- The child’s standard of living prior to the separation
Wyoming Child Support Calculator or Worksheet
While a child support calculator can be used to estimate child support, it is not a guarantee of the final amount of child maintenance that the judge will order. A child support worksheet is a form used by the WY courts (or negotiating spouses) to approximate the basic child support obligation of the parents.
Regardless of which approach you use, spouses can decide on a child support sum and amend the worksheet accordingly to ensure it accurately reflects their agreement. Both establish a presumption duty to pay child support.
The final decision on the amount of child support is made by the administrative law judge, administrator, or court.
How Wyoming Guidelines are Applied
The WY court will use child support guidelines, which are law-based and are sometimes known simply as “Guidelines. Guidelines establish a fundamental minimum amount of child maintenance, from which the court can differ after considering a variety of considerations.
The criteria are believed to be rational, and a decision of support that conforms to the guidelines is believed to be in the best interest of the child,” according to the guidelines.
The Wyoming Guidelines are based on Net Monthly Income. The court also will employ one of two methods after determining Net Monthly Income:
1. The first method applies if an obligor’s net monthly income is less than $7,500.00. The judge will consider the number of children in the household who are the subject of the petition in this case (note that a different calculation applies if an obligor has children in two different households).
2. The second method applies if an obligor’s net monthly income is more than $7,500.00.
Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Maintenance
For child support calculation purposes, gross income includes:
- all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
- self-employment income
- interest and dividends
- net rental income from property the parent owns
Even jobless parents are likely to have some sources of income, like:
- severance pay
- unemployment benefits
- retirement benefits
- veterans’ benefits
- disability benefits, or
- workers’ compensation awards.
A WY family court judge may also allocate an income value to parents who do not currently have income-earning employment (like a second house). If a jobless parent inherits assets that can be sold, for instance, the judge may include the property’s market value as a part of such parent’s income.
Where parents willfully go unemployed or underemployed in order to avoid paying child support, judges may infer (assign) income based on what they are supposed to be earning.
Net Income for WY Guidelines
Remove the following costs from the total gross income to get the parent’s net income for paying child support in Wyoming:
- Social Security taxes, or any mandated retirement plan contributions if the parent does not pay those taxes.
- Income taxes, both federal and state (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
- union dues
- The WY court has ruled the parent to pay the child’s health and dental insurance premiums, as well as additional medical bills.
Parents who have already paid child support for another kid or children (from a previous relationship) may be eligible for a refund.
Is Medical Health Insurance Part of Child Support in Wyoming?
Yes, in addition to the amount of support determined by the guidelines in Wyoming, the parents will be responsible for the child’s health and dental insurance.
Whereas the noncustodial parent is presumed to provide coverage, this can readily be transferred to the other parent if it makes good sense.
For instance, suppose the custodial parent’s employer offers healthcare insurance for the dependent but the noncustodial parent does not.
Factors Wyoming Courts Consider Before Ordering Maintenance
The following factors must be considered by the court when determining whether Wyoming Family Code applies:
- The age of the child and needs; the parents’ ability to assist
- Financial resources available to the child
- For a set period of time, you have custody and access to a child.
- An increase or decrease in the obligee’s earnings or income due to the obligee’s property and assets
- Childcare expenses incurred by either parent in order to keep a job
- any other children under the care of either party
- Any other children under the care of either party
- What kind of alimony or spousal maintenance is being paid or received;
- Obligor or obligee receives an automobile, house, or other benefits from his or her employer or business entity.
- The parties or the child’s special education, health care, or other expenses
- The cost of traveling to obtain custody of and access to a child.
- Cash flow from any estate and assets, including real estate, personal property, and business property, can be positive or negative.
How to Challenge or Modify Child Support Order
- Gather information: Collect financial information and any relevant documents, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and medical bills, to support your case for a child support modification.
- File a motion: File a motion to modify child support with the court that issued the original order. This can be done with the help of an attorney or by using the self-help resources provided by the court.
- Attend a hearing: Attend a hearing where the judge will consider the evidence and testimony presented by both parties. The judge will then make a decision on whether to modify the child support order.
- Keep records: Keep records of all payments made, including checks and receipts, and any correspondence between you and the other parent or the child support enforcement agency.
- Seek legal advice: If you are unsure about the process or have questions about your specific case, it is recommended to seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in child support cases.
- Keep in mind that Wyoming has specific guidelines and factors they use to determine child support, and the court will use them to decide whether a modification is necessary.
Steps to Collect Child Support in Wyoming
Getting a child support order in place is only half the struggle in Wyoming. You’ll also have to collect the money itself. A noncustodial parent is responsible for paying the full amount of child maintenance per month as imposed by the court. Here are the steps for getting child support in WY
1. Open a Child Support Case
Complete a child support application with your local child support agency/office
2. Locate the Other Parent
To begin the child maintenance procedure in WY, the child support services (CSS) office will use the information provided by the applying parent, as well as information gathered from other sources, to try to locate the other parent.
3. Establish Parentage
It’s critical to establish a legitimate relationship with the child when the other parent has been located. The state will assist you in locating the sufficient means. Parents can choose to acknowledge their parentage voluntarily or organize a genetic screening.
4. Establish a Child Support Order
A Wyoming child support order specifies how much the other parent should pay and includes details such as the payment schedule and provisions for the child’s health insurance.
5. Set Up Payment
Deducting child maintenance from a parent’s paycheck and transferring the money to the other parent or guardian is the most typical method of payment. It’s a simple way to make and track child support payments.
6. Enforce the Support Order
Your WY child support services will enforce the child support order if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay any. Exposing overdue child support payments to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, and Withholding child maintenance from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits are examples of other enforcement measures.
7. Review the Order
Three years after the order is issued, either parent can request their local child support office to revise it. They can ask for a reassessment sooner than three years if a parent’s situation has changed significantly, such as loss of employment or imprisonment.
Wyoming Child Support Services Office, Number and Login Portal
Office – 2015 Carey Ave #601,
Phone Number – +1 307-635-3365
Online Login Portal – https://childsupport.wyoming.gov/
Retroactive Child Support and Arrears
In Wyoming, the consequences of not paying child support orders can include:
- Garnishment of wages: Child support can be garnished from your wages directly by your employer.
- Tax refund interception: The state can intercept your federal and state income tax refunds to pay for unpaid child support.
- Suspension of driver’s license: Your driver’s license can be suspended until you are current on your child support payments.
- Suspension of professional licenses: Your professional licenses such as hunting, fishing, and other recreational licenses can be suspended.
- Denial of a passport: You may be denied a passport if you are behind on child support payments.
- Credit Reporting: Your child support arrears can be reported to credit bureaus and negatively impact your credit score.
- Contempt of court: You can be held in contempt of court for not paying child support, which can result in fines and even jail time.
- Interest: Interest will accumulate on the unpaid balance of child support.
In order to enforce retroactive child support payments in Wyoming, the custodial parent should take the following steps:
- Contact the Wyoming Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED): The custodial parent should contact the CSED and explain the situation. They will be able to assist with the process of enforcing retroactive child support payments.
- File a motion with the court: The custodial parent should file a motion with the court that issued the original child support order, requesting that the non-custodial parent pay retroactive child support.
- Gather evidence: The custodial parent should gather evidence, such as pay stubs, bank statements, and other financial documents, to support their claim for retroactive child support.
- Attend a hearing: The custodial parent should attend a hearing where the judge will consider the evidence and testimony presented by both parties. The judge will then make a decision on whether the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying retroactive child support.
- Keep records: The custodial parent should keep records of all payments made, including checks and receipts, and any correspondence between them and the non-custodial parent or the child support enforcement agency.
- Seek legal advice: If the custodial parent is unsure about the process or has questions about their specific case, it is recommended to seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in child support cases.
If you feel the arrears are being demanded wrongly, you can learn how to get child support arrears dismissed HERE.
How to Pay Child Maintenance in Wyoming
In Wyoming, parents can pay child maintenance in a variety of ways, as long as your order doesn’t state otherwise:
- by debit or credit card,
- bank transfer
- direct deposit
- income withholding, or
- auto-draft from a bank account.
How to Check your Child Support Payment History in WY
In Wyoming, there are several ways to check your child support payment history, though using child support payment records is extremely beneficial
- Online: The Wyoming Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) provides an online portal where parents can access their child support payment history, check the status of payments, and update their contact information.
- Phone: Parents can call the CSED at the toll-free number 1-800-457-3659 to check the status of their child support payments, inquire about their payment history, and ask any other questions they may have.
- In-person: Parents can visit their local CSED office to check the status of their child support payments, review their payment history, and ask any other questions they may have.
- Mail: Parents can also request a copy of their child support payment history by mail. They can contact the CSED for the proper forms and mailing addresses.
When Does Child Support End in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, child support generally ends when the child reaches the age of 18, or 19 if the child is still in high school and expected to graduate before turning 19. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- Emancipation: If a child gets legally emancipated, child support will end. Emancipation is a legal process where a minor child is declared to be an adult by a court.
- Military Service: If a child enters into active military service before turning 18, child support will end.
- Death: If the child dies before reaching the age of 18 or 19, child support will end.
- Disability: If the child becomes permanently disabled, child support may continue past the age of 18 or 19.
- Agreement: Child support may also end if the parents agree to end it before the child reaches the age of 18 or 19.
Nevertheless, if the judge determines that the child is disabled (physically or mentally), the child can receive support perpetually.
How Does WY Child Support Work if one Parent Has no Job?
If one parent is unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income to that parent, which means the court will assign an income to that parent based on their earning potential or past earnings.
The court will use the imputed income to calculate the child support obligation. However, if the parent can prove that they are unable to work due to disability, illness, or other factors, the court may consider this in determining the child support obligation.
If the unemployed parent is unable to pay the child support, the court may also consider other forms of support, such as in-kind support (like providing a home or car), or other contributions to the child’s care and expenses.
The court may also consider the unemployed parent’s ability to pay in the future, such as their job prospects and the likelihood of future income. The court may also set up a payment plan or modify the child support order in the future if the parent’s financial situation changes.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible in Wyoming?
NO. In Wyoming, child support payments are neither taxable to the recipient nor tax-deductible by the payer as stated by the IRS. Don’t include child support payments when calculating your gross income to see whether you have to file a tax return.
However, either parent may be eligible for a dependency exemption per child. If the parents can’t agree on who receives the exemption, the judge will set out the terms in a court order.
Getting a Skilled Wyoming Child Support Attorney
If you are involved in a family law matter in Wyoming, you may have a lot more questions than answers at this moment. You are not alone; Correspondence with members has shown that using the services of specialized child support attorneys saves a lot of hassles and most importantly, ensures you come out as a winner for you and your kid.
If you need to fight your child maintenance cause in WY with confidence, then you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
Luckily, we have compiled a database of these expert child support lawyers and made them available for the convenience of our members. You can reach them at the click of a button for legal advice and representation on child maintenance.
- Wyoming Child Adoption Guidelines
- Wyoming Childcare Guidelines
- Wyoming Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Wyoming Child Support Guidelines
- Wyoming Divorce Guidelines
- Wyoming Marital Property Guidelines
- Wyoming Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Wyoming Child Support Payment History
- Wyoming Child Support Calculator
- Wyoming Grants and Assistance for Single Mothers
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