Category Archives: Wyoming

Affidavit of Survivorship in Wyoming

Whenever people own property as joint tenants, or tenants by the entireties, and one of them dies, then you clear title in the survivors with an affidavit of survivorship.

People often create joint tenancies in real estate in order to avoid probate. The joint tenants are often relatives. However, only married couples can own property as tenants by the entireties.

The way you tell what kind of tenancy you have is by looking at the deed. The deed will always have language that says something like “convey [or quitclaim] to John Doe and Jane Smith as  joint tenants [or] tenants by the entireties [or] tenants in common.”

If the deed does not say any of those three things, or if it says something else, then you should call a probate lawyer.

If the deed says tenants in common, then you cannot use an affidavit of survivorship. You will Continue reading

Adoption in Wyoming

By Steve Harton

An adoption creates a new parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted person.  An adoption bestows upon the adopting parent the same rights and privileges as the natural parents of the adopted person, and entitles the adopted person the same rights of person and property as children and heirs at law of the persons who adopted them.

Who can be adopted?

The adopted person is usually a child, but also could be an adult. The adoption processes for a child or an adult are similar, but not the same.

Who can adopt?

In Wyoming, a Petition for Adoption may be filed by any single adult, or jointly by a husband and wife (or same sex legally married couple) who maintain their home together, or by either the husband or wife if the other spouse is a parent of the child.

Wyoming Adoption Procedure

All adoptions, whether contested or uncontested, must go through the Court, and must be approved by a District Court Judge. The adoptive parents file a Petition to adopt, and then then there will be a court hearing, where the Judge will decide whether or not to grant the adoption.

The Petition to Adopt a Child

The Petition to Adopt usually contains the following information:

  • The names of the adoptive parents, along with their dates of birth and their places of birth,
  • The name, date and place of birth of the child ,
  • The names, dates and places of birth of the natural parents,
  • The names of all persons and/or agencies whose consent is required,
  • The relationship of the petitioners to the child,
  • A statement that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, and
  • A request to change the name of the child, if desired

The Petition must also contain the following documents:

  • A report of a medical examination of the child, unless exempted,
  • An affidavit from each petitioner, setting out certain information about any psychiatric conditions,  previous criminal convictions, and their current parole or probation status. (This information can also be included in the body of a verified petition), and
  • Any Consents to the adoption.

In Wyoming, certain people that must consent to an adoption, and their written consent to the adoption must be filed with the Petition to Adopt. These people are:

  • The natural parents of the child, if living; or
  • The mother and the putative father of the child; or
  • The mother alone, if she does not know the name of the putative father; or
  • The legal guardian of the child, if neither parent is living, or if the parent’s rights have been terminated, or
  • The head of the agency where the child was placed for adoption, or
  • The legal guardian of any parent or putative father who has been adjudged mentally incompetent.
  • The child to be adopted him or herself, if they are fourteen (14) years old, or older.

If any of these people did not execute a written relinquishment and consent, then the adoption becomes contested and they must be served with the Petition and Notice of Adoption Hearing.

The Petition is filed with the Court, along with a request for setting the adoption hearing.

The Adoption Hearing

Every adoption in Wyoming will have and adoption hearing. However, the hearing for a contested adoption is very different than that for an uncontested one.

Uncontested Adoption Hearing

If the adoption is uncontested, the adoption hearing is a straightforward, easy, and generally pleasant event.

Adoptive parents, and usually the adoptive child, will appear before the Judge. The Judge will review the petition, and usually ask a few questions, just to make sure the parents both understand the significance of the adoption. If the child is old enough, the Judge might ask them how they feel about being adopted.

The hearing usually just takes a few minutes, and then the Judge signs the Decree of Adoption.

Contested Adoption Hearing

A contested adoption proceeding is much more complicated, difficult and usually expensive process. However, it generally consists of the following steps:

  • The Petition to Adopt and Notice of the hearing must be served on the people whose consent was not filed with the Petition.
  • If the non-consenting people respond to the Petition, then there is often some period of discovery, and other elements of a lawsuit,
  • At the actual hearing, the Petitioners must prove that the adoption should be granted over the objections of the non-consenting parent.

The contested adoption hearing can last a full day, or even longer. At the end of the hearing, the Judge may grant or may deny the adoption.

The Decree of Adoption

The Decree of Adoption will state that the adoptive parents will now be treated in all respects as the natural parents of the child. It will also state the new name of the child, and will direct the state office of vital records to issue a new birth certificate for the child, showing the adoptive parents as the natural parents of the child.

After the Decree of Adoption

Once the Judge signs the Decree of Adoption, the Clerk of Court will issue a document called a Report of Adoption. The Decree of Adoption and the Report of Adoption are then mailed to the office of vital records in the State where the child was born, and a new birth certificate is requested.

The the parents or their attorney must request the new birth certificate, because it will not be done by the Court. The new birth certificate will cost anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the State, and may take six to eight weeks to process.

The new parents should also make sure they update their child’s records with the social security office, the child’s school, and their health insurance and health care providers.

Finally, the new parents should consider updating their will, or other estate planning documents, to consider and take into account the new member of the family!

Continue reading

Wyoming Clerk of District Court

Addresses and telephone numbers for the Clerk of District Court in each Wyoming county. The District Court Clerk is the keeper of all records for divorce papers, adoptions, child custody cases, child support, name changes, probates and guardianships.

Below is a table of the Clerks of District Court for each county in Wyoming

Albany(307) 721-2508P.O. Box 1106
Laramie, Wyoming 82070
Albany Clerk2nd
Big Horn(307) 568-2381P.O. Box 670
Basin, Wyoming 82410-0670
Big Horn Clerk5th
Campbell(307) 682-3424P.O. Box 817
Gillette, Wyoming 82717
Campbell Clerk6th
Carbon(307) 328-2628P.O. Box 67
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
Carbon Clerk2nd
Converse(307) 358-3165107 North 5th St
Douglas, Wyoming 82633
Converse Clerk8th
Crook(307) 283-2523P.O. Box 406
Sundance, Wyoming 82729
Converse Clerk6th
Fremont(307) 332-1134P.O. Box 370
Lander, Wyoming 82520
Fremont Clerk9th
Goshen(307) 532-2155P.O. Box 818
Torrington, Wyoming 82240
Goshen Clerk8th
Hot Springs(307) 864-3323415 Arapahoe
Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443
Hot Springs Clerk5th
Johnson(307) 684-7271620 W. Fetterman, Ste. 208
Buffalo, Wyoming 82834
Johnson Clerk4th
Laramie(307) 633-4270P.O. Box 787
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003
Laramie Clerk1st
Lincoln(307) 877-3320925 Sage Avenue
Kemmerer, Wyoming 83101
Lincoln Clerk3rd
Natrona(307) 235-9243115 N. Center St., Suite 100
Casper, Wyoming 82601
Natrona Clerk7th
Niobrara(307) 334-2736P.O. Box 1318
Lusk, Wyoming 82225
Niobrara Clerk8th
Park(307) 527-8690P.O. Box 1960
Cody, Wyoming 82414-1960
Park Clerk5th
Platte(307) 322-3857P.O. Box 158
Wheatland, Wyoming 82201
Platte Clerk8th
Sheridan(307) 674-2960224 S. Main Street, Suite B11
Sheridan, Wyoming 82801
Sheridan Clerk4th
Sublette(307) 367-4376P.O. Box 764
Pinedale, Wyoming 82941
Sublette Clerk9th
Sweetwater(307) 872-6448P.O. Box 430
Green River, WY 82935
Sweetwater Clerk3rd
Teton(307) 733-2533P.O. Box 4460
Jackson, Wyoming 83001
Teton Clerk9th
Uinta(307) 783-0456P.O. Box 1906
Evanston, Wyoming 82931
Uinta Clerk3rd
Washakie(307) 347-4821P.O. Box 862
Worland, Wyoming 82401
Washakie Clerk5th
Weston(307) 746-47781 West Main
Newcastle, Wyoming 82701
Weston Clerk6th
Clerk of District Court

Weston County Courthouse

Whenever you are requesting documents, or inquiring about a case, be sure to have the names of the Parties, as well as the docket number, available to get the fastest service.

Whenever you want a Judge to do something on your divorce, child custody or child support case, you have to file the papers with the Clerk of District Court, not with the Judge.

What can I file with the Clerk of District Court?

Some of the things you should consider filing yourself are notices of a:

  • change in your address,
  • change in your employment, and
  • change of your name.

You may also consider filing a request for child support abatement.  This is a little more complicated,  but many people do it successfully without the help of an attorney.

Finally, you could file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause when your ex does not follow the Court’s orders.

By Steve Harton

Steve Harton is a family law attorney in Wyoming.

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Personal Representative Attorney Fees in Wyoming

Personal representative attorney fees in Wyoming are generally determined by the size of the estate.  The more valuable the estate, the higher the attorney fees.

The most common way to establish estate value is to use the valuation as set out in the Report of Appraisal.

Now the Report of Appraisal will only be prepared if a “formal” probate is opened.  If the value of the estate is less than $200,000.00, then the estate can be probated with an Affidavit for Distribution for personal property (WS § 2-1-201) or an Application for Decree of Distribution for real property (WS § 2-1-205).

Statutory Schedule of Fees

However, the following schedule of statutory fees is useful to determine the fees charges by the personal representative’s attorney:

  1. For the first one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) of the value, ten percent (10%) or $100.00;
  2. For the amount over one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the basis, five percent (5%) or $100.00 plus an additional $200.00;
  3. For the amount over five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, three percent (3%) or $100.00 plus $200.00 plus an additional $450.00;
  4. For all sums over twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, two percent (2%).

I don’t think you will find any attorney that will probate a Wyoming estate valued at less than $20,000.00 for the statutory fee of $750.00, unless it is a very simple estate containing something like a car and a bank account (of  a  few thousand dollars).   Most attorneys will charge at least a $1,000.00 plus costs.

However, most attorneys will probate a Wyoming estate for the statutory fee of approximately 2% of the value reported in the Report of Appraisal.  So, if the estate consists of a bank account of $100,000.00 and a house worth $250,000.00 and cars and motorcycles worth $50,000.00, then the estate will be valued at $400,000, and the attorney’s fee will be .

In such a case, the attorney fees will be $750 for the first $20,000.00, and 2% for the rest ($380,000.00), or about $7,600.00 plus $750.00, or $8,350.00.

The Formula

So, the precise calculation is as follows:

PRAF = 0.02(AV – 20,000) + 750

Where PRAF is the Personal Representatives Attorney Fee, and AV is the Appraised Value on the Report of Appraisal.

The Rule of Thumb for Personal Representative Attorney Fee

However, if you are not that into algebra, then you can just use the rule of thumb, which is a little over 2% of the appraised value.

By Steve Harton

Steve Harton is a probate attorney in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming.  If you have questions about probate in Wyoming, please call him at (307) 382-5545, or visit