Articles Posted in Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court holding Appellant in contempt for failing to comply with the parties’ divorce decree. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court (1) violated principles of res judicata by receiving testimony in a contempt hearing on matters previously adjudicated at trial, and (2) abused its discretion when it found Appellant in contempt. The Supreme Court held (1) because Appellant failed to provide a record of the contempt hearing, the first issue will not be considered, and even if res judicata principles applied, Appellant’s argument was without merit; and (2) because no transcript of the hearing was provided, the Court must assume that the district court’s findings and rulings are correct, and thus they are summarily affirmed. View "Rigdon v. Rigdon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s termination of Mother’s parental rights to her minor children, holding that Mother may not collaterally attack the juvenile court’s permanency order during prior neglect proceedings by appealing the district court’s termination of parental rights order. In 2014, the State filed a juvenile neglect action against Mother. In 2015, Mother admitted to the neglect allegations. While reunification was first recommended as the initial permanency goal, the permanency plan was later changed to termination of parental rights and adoption. The Department of Family Services then filed a civil action to terminate Mother’s parental rights. The district court terminated Mother’s parental rights after a bench trial. On appeal, Mother argued solely that the juvenile court violated her due process rights in the neglect proceedings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mother’s remedy was in juvenile court. View "Reed v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Father and Stepmother’s petition for a decree of adoption allowing Stepmother to adopt MMM without Mother’s consent, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Father and Stepmother failed to establish that Mother willfully abandoned MMM or that she willfully failed to pay child support. Here, Father and Stepmother filed a petition for a decree of adoption in favor of Stepmother, without the consent of Mother, alleging that Mother willfully abandoned MMM and willfully failed to provide court-ordered child support. The district court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Father and Stepmother failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Mother willfully abandoned MMM or willfully failed to pay child support during the relevant period. View "In re Adoption of MMM" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order modifying the child custody, visitation and support order entered when Father and Mother divorced. The district court modified the order by granting Mother primary custody of the parties’ children and awarding Father visitation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that a material change of circumstances that was relevant to the welfare of the children warranted a modification to the joint custody order; (2) the court’s order changing custody served the children’s best interests; and (3) the district court did not err when it denied Father’s motion to require that Mother and the children be examined by a psychologist of Father’s choosing. View "Johnson v. Clifford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
In this divorce proceeding, the Supreme Court overruled its precedent disfavoring shared custody. The district court issued a final decision granting Mother and Father shared legal and physical custody of their minor child until he enters kindergarten and granted primary physical custody to Father with visitation for Mother after that. On appeal, Mother argued that the district court abused its discretion in ordering shared custody in violation of the Supreme Court’s clear rule that shared custody arrangements are disfavored. See Buttle v. Buttle, 196 P.3d 174 (Wyo. 2008). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court’s custody decisions were not an abuse of discretion. View "Bruegman v. Bruegman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the district court granting Father’s petition to modify the parties’ divorce decree. The Court held that the district court (1) did not err in concluding that Father had established a material change in circumstances to reopen the visitation provision of the decree and then modifying the decree to extend Father’s summer visitation; (2) did not have the authority to modify the original decree’s provisions regarding medical payments; and (3) abused its discretion by allowing Father to claim the children as dependents for tax purposes every other year. View "Meehan-Greer v. Greer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Mother’s motion to set aside the clerk of court’s entry of default against her after she did not respond to the petition of the Department of Family Services to terminate her parental rights within twenty days after service. In denying Mother’s motion, the district court found that Mother did not present good cause to set aside the entry of default. After a default evidentiary hearing, the district court terminated Mother’s parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the district court did not abuse its discretion when it applied the three-factor test applied in civil actions to determine a motion to set aside the entry of default judgment and weighed the three factors to deny Mother’s motion to set aside the entry of default against her. View "Hurd v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s final order granting primary custody of the parties’ children to Father but reversed the court’s contempt finding against Mother. Father filed a petition seeking to modify the custody, visitation, and child support provisions of his divorce decree. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court, on its own motion, entered a temporary custody modification order, which was, in effect, a trial coparenting plan that would become permanent unless either parent requested a new hearing to establish that it was unworkable. Father filed such a motion. The district court held a second evidentiary hearing and then entered a final order granting primary custody of the children to Father. The court then held Mother in contempt of court for violating certain terms of the initial temporary order. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) although the district court abused its discretion when it entered the temporary custody order, the permanent custody modification was not an abuse of discretion; and (2) the district court abused its discretion when it held Mother in contempt of court and improperly factored Mother’s contempt into her contempt motion against Father. View "Swan v. Swan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and remanded in part the final decree of divorce entered by the district court in this case. Before Wife filed for divorce from Husband, the parties executed a stipulated judgment and decree of divorce establishing property distribution, child support, child custody and visitation, and alimony. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court correctly found that the stipulated decree was a valid agreement between Husband and Wife that was supported by consideration, and the stipulated decree was not unconscionable; (2) the district court appropriate enforced the order in the divorce decree with respect to the property, debt distribution, and alimony; but (3) the district court erred in enforcing the order with respect to child custody, visitation, and child support. View "Long v. Long" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Family Law

by
In this dispute over Plaintiffs’ right to prepay a contract for deed and Defendant’s obligation to deliver the deed, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s rulings in favor of Plaintiffs. The district court ruled in favor of Plaintiffs and ordered Defendant to pay attorney fees and costs for discovery violations. The Supreme Court agreed with Plaintiffs’ statement of the dispositive issues, holding (1) Defendant's appeal of the declaratory judgment ruling was untimely; (2) the district court properly awarded fees and costs for failure to present cogent argument or pertinent authority; and (3) Plaintiff should be awarded sanctions pursuant to Wyo. R. App. P. 10.05. View "Byrnes v. Harper" on Justia Law