Articles 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

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Mother and Father were divorced while both parties lived in Cody, Wyoming. The court awarded Mother custody of the parties’ children, and Father was awarded liberal visitation. Mother found a job in Arizona after unsuccessfully seeking suitable employment in Cody. Mother moved to Arizona with the children after giving Father notice of the move. Thereafter, Mother filed for a change in Father’s visitation. Father cross-filed for a change in custody and to have Mother held in contempt. The court concluded that it was in the children’s best interest for Mother to continue as the primary custodial parent, made modifications to the divorce decree to provide Father as much visitation as possible under the changed circumstances, and declined to hold Mother in contempt. Father appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no abuse of discretion in the court’s determination to allow Mother to have continued primary custody; and (2) there was no basis to conclude that the district judge erred in refusing to hold Mother in contempt. View "Greer v. Greer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Mother and Family divorced in 2013. In 2015, Mother filed a motion for an order to show cause as to why Father should not be held in contempt of court, asserting that Father had failed to pay amounts owed under the divorce decree for the expenses of the parties’ two children. The district court found Father in contempt for failing to pay certain expenses and also found Father in contempt for failure to pay child support. The court ordered that, in order to purge the contempt, Father was to pay not less than $50 monthly towards the child support arrearages and ordered that interest would not accrue on the delinquent amount as long as Father made the required payments. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Mother had a judgment on the child support arrears as they became due, and the district court’s order was in error to the extent it impeded Mother’s right to execute on the judgment; and (2) Mother was entitled to interest on the arrears. Remanded. View "Rambo v. Rambo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The juvenile court adjudicated Father a neglectful parent to his two children. On appeal, Father argued that he could not be neglectful under the applicable statutes because he did not have physical custody or control of the children at the time that the allegedly neglectful behavior occurred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the applicable statutes do not require that a child’s parent or noncustodial parent have actual physical custody or control of the children in order to be found to have neglected the children; and (2) accordingly, the juvenile court correctly interpreted the statute. View "TW v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The State filed a petition alleging that Mother had neglected her seventeen-year-old son, NP. On January 6, 2016, Mother denied the allegations. Mother’s jury demand was due January 21, 2016. On February 5, 2016, Mother filed a motion for jury trial, contending that she had called the court’s office and the clerk of the district court within the prescribed time period to request a jury trial. The juvenile court rejected Mother’s request. After an adjudication hearing, the court adjudicated NP as neglected by Mother. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the juvenile court did not err in denying Mother’s motion for jury trial; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the juvenile court’s finding of neglect. View "CP v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Mother and Father divorced pursuant to a stipulated divorce decree that granted Mother custody of the children, subject to Father’s right to liberal visitation. When Mother advised Father that she intended to move to another city with the children, Father filed a petition to modify the custody, visitation, and support provisions of the divorce decree. After a trial, the district court granted custody of the children to Father. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err when, six months prior to trial, it granted Father temporary physical custody of the children upon offers of proof and argument, rather than after holding a full evidentiary hearing; (2) the court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the children’s counselor to testify as an expert witness at trial; (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding custody of the children to Father after a full evidentiary hearing; and (4) the court did not violate Mother’s constitutional rights to interstate travel and to associate with her children when it modified custody in favor of Father. View "Tracy v. Tracy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Appellee sought an order from the district court finding Appellant in contempt for violating their divorce decree by failing to pay his portion of their two children’s college tuition, expenses, and room and board. The district court entered judgment in favor of Appellee and the children. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the district court erred in entering a judgment in favor of the non-party adult children; and (2) the Court was unable to review Appellee’s claim that there was no evidence to support the district court’s judgment in favor of Appellant because Appellee did not provide an adequate record on appeal. View "Waterbury v. Waterbury" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In 2004, KGS was born to Father and Mother. In 2013, a neglect petition was filed against Mother and, after a hearing, KGS was placed in the legal custody of the Department of Family Services. The Department later filed a petition seeking termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights. After a hearing, the district court entered an order terminating Father’s parental rights. Father appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Department presented sufficient evidence to support termination of Father’s parental rights; and (2) Father failed to show that he was denied due process in this case. View "In re Termination of Parental Rights to KGS" on Justia Law