Articles Posted in Family Law

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The district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded primary physical custody of the parties’ daughter to Father. After Mother and Father divorced, Mother remarried and announced her intent to relocate to southern Colorado. Both parties sought primary physical custody of their daughter. The district court found that the child’s best interests were served by Father having primary custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court’s findings provided the court with a reasoned explanation for the district court’s decision to separate the child from her siblings; and (2) the district court did not err in admitting into evidence two letters written by Mother’s older child describing the child’s complaints about her relationship with Mother and recounting various instances of conflict. View "Paden v. Paden" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s ruling holding Husband in contempt and finding insufficient evidence to hold Wife in contempt. Both parties filed contempt motions alleging that the other party violated obligations imposed by both the divorce decree and a previous contempt ruling issued by the district court. In the first round of contempt motions filed by the parties, the district court found only Husband in contempt but ordered both parties to complete certain obligations. The Supreme Court held that there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s ruling on the second contempt motions of Husband and Wife. View "Fowles v. Fowles" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the juvenile court’s permanency order with regard to Mother’s child, an order that changed the permanency plan for the child from family reunification to adoption. The court held (1) despite the troubling delays in this neglect proceeding, Mother waived her due process and other claims relating to the change in permanency from reunification to adoption when she advocated the same change in permanency; and (2) the juvenile court did not err in refusing to designate the adoptive parents in the permanency order because determination of the adoptive parents is a matter for a separate proceeding. View "DM v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the termination of Mother’s parental rights with respect to two of her sons. The court held (1) the district court’s conclusions were amply supported by evidence, the accuracy of the district court’s conclusions was highly probable, and termination under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 14-2-309(a)(v) was supported by clear and convincing evidence; and (2) the district court’s closure of Mother’s termination trial was improper under Wyo. Const. art. I, 8, and because Mother did not direct the court to particularized facts showing that she was actually harmed or prejudiced by that error, the court was constrained to conclude that the error was harmless. View "LeBlanc v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In this divorce case, the Supreme Court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital assets and in denying Wife’s request for post-decree alimony of $2,000 per month for ten years. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital assets and liabilities as it did because this division was not one that shocks the conscience of the court or appears to be so unfair and inequitable that “reasonable people cannot abide it”; and (2) the district court acted within its discretion in deciding that alimony was unwarranted to even up the division of marital assets and liabilities. View "Porter v. Porter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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When Mother and Father divorced, the decree of divorce awarded legal and physical custody of the parties’ two children to Mother, with Father having rights of reasonable visitation. Approximately four months after the decree was entered, Father filed a motion for an order to show cause, alleging that Mother had violated the decree by denying him in-person and telephonic visits with the children. Following a hearing, the district court held Mother in contempt. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err (1) in finding Mother in civil contempt of court with regard to supervised visitation; and (2) in finding Mother in civil contempt of court with regard to telephonic contact. View "Kleinpeter v. Kleinpeter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Mother appealed after the district court entered an order terminating Mother’s parental rights. The order followed a jury verdict finding that the Department of Family Services had proven two statutory grounds to terminate Mother’s parental rights to Child. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err (1) when it allowed the guardian ad litem (GAL) to actively participate in the termination proceedings where the GAL was required to participate fully in the termination proceedings; and (2) when it allowed Mother’s mental health providers to testify at trial over Mother’s claim of privilege. View "Cave v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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After the State filed a petition alleging that Mother had neglected her children, the juvenile court entered a consent decree providing that if would be in effect for six months and shall expire and the action be deemed dismissed “if no further action is taken in this matter.” When the consent decree had been effect for six months, and the State hd not taken any additional action, Mother filed a motion to dismiss. The juvenile court denied Mother’s motion to dismiss, granted the State fifteen days to file an amended neglect petition, and extended the consent decree for another six months. After Mother filed a motion of appeal, the children were returned to Mother, and the juvenile court closed the case. The State moved to dismiss Mother’s appeal, asserting that the return of the children to Mother and the closure of the case rendered the case moot. The Supreme Court denied the State’s motion to dismiss, holding (1) an exception to the mootness doctrine applies; and (2) on the merits, the juvenile court was not authorized to extend the expired consent decree under the applicable statutes or pursuant to the decree’s terms. View "In re Interest of DJS-Y v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order terminating the parental rights of Father, the non-custodial parent to his child, under Wyo. Stat. 14-2-309(a)(i) and (iv). The petition seeking termination of Father’s parental rights was filed by Mother. The Supreme Court held (1) the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to establish grounds for termination under section 14-2-309 by clear and convincing evidence; and (2) the district court did not err in failing to require Mother to pursue remedies other than termination of parental rights, as section 14-2-309(a)(i) does not impose such a requirement. View "Johnson v. Calkins" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The State filed a petition alleging that Mother had neglected her two children. Mother admitted to the allegations of the neglect petition and agreed to complete a Department of Family Services (DFS) case plan. The State eventually filed a petition to revoke the consent decree. The juvenile court found the children to be neglected children and ordered that DFS would have legal and physical custody of the children. This appeal concerned the juvenile court’s order changing the permanency plan from reunification to adoption. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the juvenile court did not commit plain error when it did not make a determination prior to the hearing regarding the children’s attendance at the permanency hearing; (2) Mother was not denied due process of law when the permanency hearing was held without the children; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support the juvenile court’s decision to change the permanency plan from reunification to adoption. View "ST v. State" on Justia Law