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Guy-Thomas v. Thomas

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 6, 2015

CYNTHIA JILL GUY-THOMAS, Appellant, (Defendant),
v.
TERRY NEIL THOMAS, Appellee, (Plaintiff)

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County. The Honorable Peter G. Arnold, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Donna D. Domonkos of Domonkos Law Office, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Zenith S. Ward of Buchhammer & Kehl, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 783

DAVIS, Justice.

[¶1] Appellant Cynthia Guy-Thomas (Wife) appeals from a divorce decree, claiming that the district court's alleged bias deprived her of a fair trial. She also complains that the division of marital property was so inequitable as to shock the conscience. We affirm.

ISSUES[1]

[¶2] 1. Did the district court demonstrate bias in the way it handled the divorce trial?

Page 784

2. Did the district court abuse its discretion in dividing the marital property?[2]

FACTS

[¶3] Wife and Appellee Terry Thomas (Husband) married in 2004. They did not have any children together, although both had children from previous relationships.[3] They lived together in Casper until 2008, when Husband moved to Cheyenne to take a new job and soon thereafter purchased a house there. Wife remained in Casper with her children, and she purchased a new house there in 2010. Husband filed for divorce in 2012.

[¶4] The district court conducted a trial to divide the parties' marital property, which was the only point of contention between them. The record indicates that the trial lasted one day, with the district court taking a short forty-five minute recess for a personal commitment, but it also indicates that he then allowed the trial to continue until 6:00 p.m. so that the parties could finish presenting their evidence.

[¶5] The court issued a clear and cogent oral ruling from the bench immediately after the evidence was closed. It subsequently issued a Decree of Divorce dividing the real property and other significant assets of the parties consistent with that ruling:

o The Casper house was to be sold and the proceeds split evenly. Wife was permitted to reside in the home for several months while the property was on the market, although she had testified that she did not want to live there or to have anything further to do with that property.
o Husband was awarded the house in Cheyenne, which the court valued at $744,000.00, with equity of $227,685.59 after the mortgage and a HELOC were deducted. Husband was required to pay ...

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