Wyoming Family Court Records
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What are Wyoming Family Court Records?
Wyoming family court records are documents containing official accounts of the litigation processes of Family Courts within the jurisdiction of the state. These records are generally managed and disseminated by various court clerks, which are the state’s designated record custodians. They feature information regarding family cases including motions filed during court proceedings, court actions and summons, court orders, sworn statements along, appearances and witness testimony as well as the court’s final verdicts and decrees. In accordance with Wyoming’s public record laws, these records may be made available to interested and eligible persons upon request unless sealed or deemed confidential by court order.
What Cases are Heard by Wyoming Family Courts?
In the state of Wyoming, both district courts and circuit courts have jurisdiction over civil court cases. However, while Wyoming district courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction, circuit courts are limited jurisdiction courts hearing family-related cases including those pertaining to violence and abuse. The cases heard by Wyoming family courts include:
- Disputes pertaining to marriages, divorces, separation, and annulment
- Domestic assault and domestic abuse-related matters
- Cases relating to child adoption and custody, child support, alimony/spousal support, etc.
- Guardianship, minor emancipation, and related interventions
- Cases relating to wills, trusts and domestic financial rights and settlements
The Wyoming state judiciary is a 3-tier system consisting of the state Supreme Court, Wyoming District courts and Wyoming Circuit courts. As required by state law, family court records are maintained and disseminated by the court clerks of the court where the case was heard, which is the Family Division of the state’s circuit courts. Where the original verdict is reviewed by a higher court, the updated court case records will also be maintained by the administrative arm of the appellate court.
What is Included in Wyoming Family Court Records?
Family court records generally feature information regarding the court’s processes. However, most courts employ differing operational strategies, and as such, records may be unique to the judicial district where the record was generated. Regardless of these specificities, most family court records feature general court case information and details of the parties involved.
Most records include information regarding the original filing—i.e. the place and date the complaint or suit was filed as well as details of the court processes such as court summons, actions, motions, motion arguments, filed pieces of evidence and other related information. In addition, family court records feature details of any court-issued rights or agreed-upon settlement and the court’s final verdict regarding the case. This may include details and/or conditions for adoption, child custody and visitation or protective orders. Financial settlements in cases divorce, alimony/spousal support, and child support may also be indicated.
Are Family Court Records Public in Wyoming?
As provisioned by Wyoming public record laws, all court records are presumed to be public unless otherwise ruled by a court. Thus, most family court records are available to interested members of the public upon request. These records are primarily managed and disseminated by the office of the court clerk in the court where the case was heard. However, the right of public access to family court records is not absolute. The following records are confidential and are sealed on request or state statutes:
- All records containing the personal and contact information of a minor or juvenile as well as a domestic violence/assault victim
- Records pertaining to parental rights including adoption and guardianship records, and records indicating the termination or relinquishment of parental rights
- Documents filed by child protective services, adoption agencies, and public protective service institution during the proceeding
- Records pertaining to psychological and mental health evaluations
- Tax returns along with records detailing the property inventory of persons and other financial information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers and social security numbers
To access any of the above-mentioned records in Wyoming, the requesting must obtain the required legal authority which is usually issued by a state-licensed judge.
How Do I Get Family Court Records in Wyoming?
The Wyoming state judiciary provides public access to family court records via various channels. Given the unique processes employed by most courts, the requirements for accessing these records may vary from court to court. However, most Wyoming family court records can be accessed by making in-person requests to the record custodian, using state-managed, district-operated or third party online resources or by sending written mail-in requests to the courthouse where the case was heard.
How to Obtain Wyoming Family Court Records Online
Interested members of the public may access Wyoming family court records using the online resources provided by the Wyoming state judiciary. While various circuit courts operate independent online repositories, the Wyoming judicial branch features a centralized E-filing system that maintains records generated by the state’s appellate courts. This can be accessed remotely or by using the public terminals available at the state’s courthouse.
To obtain family court records using the local repository of the state’s circuit courts, interested persons may use the Circuit Court Location to retrieve information regarding various circuits and courts as well as their respective online resources.
However, the Wyoming Appellate E-Filing tool is featured on the Wyoming Judicial Branch website. Users may search the online database by case number, issue or participant name. To find a record by case number, users must input the case number of the record of interest, the status of the case and the approximate date on which the record was docketed. On the other hand, issue searches can be conducted using the case subtype information, and details of the issue (i.e. adoption, abuse/neglect, etc.), while participant searches require the requestor to provide the full name of one or both of the parties involved in the case.
In addition to the above, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
- Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels
Family Court Records can include Wyoming marriage records and Wyoming divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
How to Make in-person Requests for Wyoming Family Records
Wyoming family court records can also be obtained by making in-person requests to the courthouse where the case was filed/heard. In-person record requests are especially recommended for persons looking to access full court case information, given that the state judiciary enforces some restrictions on the electronic dissemination of court records. To request Wyoming family court records in person, the requesting party is required to:
- Find the Record Custodian
Wyoming family court records are generated and managed by the various court clerks of the state’s family courts which are divisions of the Wyoming circuit courts. To make in-person record requests, the requesting party is required to locate the judicial district in which the suit was filed. Records are best located by considering the most current status of the case. Where the case has been concluded and a judgment issued, the record will be in the custody of the court clerk of the courthouse where the case was heard. However, if the judgment has been reviewed by a higher court, requestors may locate the record of interest in the administrative arm of the appellate court. The addresses and contact information of the various district and circuit courts in the state can be obtained on the District Court Location or Circuit Court Location page.
- Gather All Relevant Information
Given that most Wyoming courts employ unique operational processes, the record retrieval requirements of these courts may vary between the districts. Thus, upon confirming the location of the record or its custodian, requestors may proceed to contact the relevant office for information regarding any record retrieval requirements of the courts. Generally, requestors are generally required to provide all information required to facilitate a record search. This includes the full name of the parties involved, the case file number, appellate record number or docket number of the record and the approximate date the suit was filed.
- Provide Identification & Fee Requirements
Requestors may also be required to present a government-issued ID to verify their eligibility to access the record of interest, as well as cover the costs of search and/or copies. For persons requesting access to sealed or confidential records, a court-issued subpoena must also be presented before the access to the record is granted.
- Make the Request
Requests for family court records can be made during official working hours to the office of the record custodian. However, requestors are advised to schedule their appointment at the courthouse beforehand. Most courthouses provide public access computer terminals with which interested parties may self serve in the courthouse. However, if the requestor requires full court case information and/or a confidential record, the party may be provided with an application on which information regarding the record of interest should be indicated.
How to Access Wyoming Family Court Records via Mail
Wyoming family court records may also be accessed by making requests to the custodian via U.S. mail. However, records may only be disseminated via mail if the record of interest is deemed public information. While the requirements for obtaining family court records generally varies by judicial district, case type and the information contained in the record, mail-in requests require that the requesting party provide a written request containing the following information:
- The personal and contact information of the requesting party
- The type of record required
- General court case information—i.e. details of the initial filing and hearing
- The full name of one or both of the parties
- The case file number, docket number or appellate number of the record of interest
- The names and/or state bar number of any of the legal representatives involved.
In addition to the above, come record custodians have specific protocols and additional requirements. Thus, requesters are advised to inquire from the office of the court clerk before proceeding with the request. In some cases, requests must also be accompanied by a cheque/money order to cover any applicable fees and a stamped, self-addressed envelope with a photocopy of the requestor’s government-issued ID.
Specialized Family Court Records
Wyoming family courts generate and issue a variety of court decrees, orders, and records in addition to maintaining and disseminating records of family court cases and proceedings. These documents provide legal authorization for a variety of functions and processes including marriage dissolutions, adoptions and child custody as well as will execution and the issuance of financial claims. Like court records, these documents may be made available to interested and eligible persons. However, the eligibility requirements for accessing these records generally varies.
How to Obtain Wyoming Adoption Records
The Wyoming Department of Health is tasked with providing access to a variety of vital records including records of Wyoming adoptions. As per Wyoming state law, adoption records are confidential after being filed in the state. Thus access to these records requires a court order issued by a federal court, a Wyoming district court or the court in which the adoption was issued. Upon obtaining the court order, the requesting party must submit the original copy of the order along with a completed Application to Open a Sealed Adoption File request form and the indicated feeds and ID requirements. These should be mailed or submitted in person to:
Vital Statistics Services
2300 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone (307) 777–7591
Fax (307) 777–2483
How to Obtain Wyoming Divorce Records
The Vital Statistics Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Health also processes requests for records of divorces that occurred within the jurisdiction of the state. As per Wyoming state law, divorce records may be obtained by one of either party affected by the divorce or a lawyer acting for either party. Divorce record requests can be made by completing the Wyoming Vital Record request form which should be accompanied by the indicated fees and ID requirements and mailed to:
Vital Statistics Services
2300 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.