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Olsen v. Olsen

Supreme Court of Wyoming

September 27, 2013

Carl S. OLSEN, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
Candy M. OLSEN, Appellee (Defendant).

Page 889

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 890

Representing Appellant: Pro se.

Representing Appellee: No appearance.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ., and TYLER, D.J.

BURKE, Justice.

[¶ 1] Appellant, Carl S. Olsen, appeals the district court's denial of his motion to modify the custody of his three children. He also challenges the district court's finding that he was in contempt of court for failing to comply with the divorce decree. We will affirm.

ISSUES

[¶ 2] The issues presented by Mr. Olsen, reworded for the sake of clarity, are as follows:

1. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it determined there was no material change in circumstances?
2. Did the district court deny due process to Mr. Olsen?
3. Did the district court abuse its discretion by failing to give paramount consideration to the best interests of the children?
4. Did the district court abuse its discretion in awarding certain costs to Ms. Olsen?
5. Did the district court improperly fail to consider contradictory testimony?
6. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it found Mr. Olsen in contempt?

FACTS

[¶ 3] The parties were married in 2000 and divorced in 2010. Custody of their three children was awarded to Ms. Olsen.[1] Mr. Olsen appealed that decision. We affirmed. Olsen v. Olsen, 2011 WY 30, ¶ 1, 247 P.3d 77, 78 (Wyo.2011).[2]

[¶ 4] Even before we issued that decision, Mr. Olsen filed a petition in district court seeking a modification awarding him custody of the children. He alleged, among other things, that the children's physical and mental health had deteriorated while in Ms. Olsen's care, that Ms. Olsen was unable to provide basic provisions for the children, and that Ms. Olsen, in bad faith, planned to move with the children from Wyoming to Utah.[3]

Page 891

He further alleged that he could provide the children with a stable and caring environment, so that the best interests of the children would be served by awarding custody to him. While Mr. Olsen's petition was pending, Ms. Olsen filed a motion seeking to have Mr. Olsen held in contempt for failing to comply with the divorce decree's order to list their jointly-owned real property for sale.

[¶ 5] Following a three-day hearing, the district court issued a decision letter denying Mr. Olsen's petition to modify custody on the basis that Mr. Olsen had not demonstrated a material change in circumstances. It also granted Ms. Olsen's request to hold Mr. Olsen in contempt on the basis that he had willfully disobeyed the order ...


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