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CL v. ML

Supreme Court of Wyoming

May 29, 2015

CL, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
ML, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County. The Honorable Marvin L. Tyler, Judge.

Affirmed.

For Appellant: Kenneth S. Cohen, Cohen Law Office, P.C., Jackson, Wyoming.

Appellee, Pro se.

For Guardian Ad Litem: Jean A. Day, Jean Day Law Office and Mediation, Jackson, Wyoming.

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

OPINION

Page 273

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] The district court issued an order granting ML (Father) visitation with his five-year-old daughter, ZGL. CL (Mother) challenges that order in this appeal. We affirm.

Page 274

ISSUES

[¶2] Mother presents the following issues:

1. Whether the district court abused its discretion by excluding testimony relating to alleged incidents of domestic abuse.
2. Whether the district court erred in ordering that the minor child could not leave Teton County without the consent of both parents.

FACTS

[¶3] The parties began dating in 2007. Mother became pregnant in 2008 and gave birth to a daughter, ZGL, in 2009. The parties never married and they separated approximately six months after their daughter was born. Mother resides in Teton County. Father resides in Jackson, Wyoming from June through September, and in Las Vegas, Nevada from September to June. In January 2011, Father filed a petition to establish paternity, custody, and visitation with ZGL. In the petition, Father requested joint legal custody of ZGL, and " such physical custody arrangements and visitation as may be in the best interests of the child." Mother answered and requested that the district court enter an order awarding her primary physical custody and granting visitation to Father.

[¶4] In May 2011, Mother filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in which she asserted that Father had verbally abused and threatened her. The district court entered an order enjoining the parties from threatening each other and from engaging in non-consensual physical contact. In June, Mother alleged that Father had physically and sexually abused ZGL. Mother subsequently filed a motion for an order requiring Father to complete a psychological evaluation and parenting assessment. In that motion, Mother asserted that she " continues to have difficulty with [Father] due to his aggressive behavior and physical abuse in the presence of the parties' daughter." Following a hearing, the district court ordered Father to complete an anger assessment evaluation and ordered both parties to obtain parenting assessments. The assessment recommended that Father attend counseling and that he avoid all unnecessary contact with Mother.

[¶5] On February 20, 2012, Father was arrested and charged with a domestic violence battery, following an altercation with Mother when the parties were exchanging ZGL. Father subsequently pled no contest to a charge of unlawful contact. On February 28, the Teton County Circuit Court issued a protection order finding that an act of domestic abuse, as defined by Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-21-102(a)(iii), had occurred. The order awarded Mother temporary custody of ZGL and denied Father visitation.

[¶6] Shortly thereafter, the district court held a hearing on Mother's renewed motion for psychological evaluations and parenting assessments and Mother's motion for an order to show cause as to why Father should not be found in contempt of court for violating the court's restraining order. Following the hearing, the district court ordered each party to submit to a psychological evaluation and parenting assessment by Dr. Steven Nelson. The court further ...


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