from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable
Michael N. Deegan, Judge
Representing Appellant: J. Craig Abraham, Gillette, WY.
Representing Appellee: Molly R. Hoon-Hanks of Lonabaugh and
Riggs, LLP, Sheridan, WY.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
JLK (Mother) and MAB (Father) have a child together. They
share custody of the child pursuant to an Order on Child
Custody, Visitation and Support (Custody Order), which
provides for the parties to alternate custody on a weekly
basis until the child reaches school age. To address
Mother's concerns regarding Father's alleged drug
use, the Custody Order allows Mother to make one request per
month that Father submit to a drug test. Father is required
to take the test within twenty-four hours of receiving the
request. If the test is positive for the presence of drugs,
he forfeits his next weekly visitation. If the drug test is
negative, Mother must reimburse Father for the cost of the
test before she may make another request.
A dispute arose between Mother and Father concerning the
testing, and Father filed a show cause motion alleging that
Mother had violated the order by failing to allow him his
visitation and reimburse him for a negative test. Mother
responded with her own show cause motion alleging that it was
Father who violated the drug testing requirement. The
district court denied Mother's motion, granted
Father's motion, and ordered Mother to pay Father's
attorney fees and costs, as well as the costs of the negative
drug test. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
Mother presents a single issue for our review: whether the
district court erred in finding Mother violated the custody
order. In arguing that issue, however, Mother contends that
the district court's ruling was in error because it was
Father who violated the order. For clarity, we therefore
address Mother's appeal as presenting two separate
1) Whether the district court erred in finding that Father
did not violate the Custody Order's drug testing
2) Whether the district court erred in finding Mother in
contempt of court for her violation of the Custody Order.
Father alleges on appeal that Mother has not purged herself
of the contempt found by the district court and presents as
an additional issue the question whether this Court should
dismiss Mother's appeal and assess sanctions in the form
of attorney fees and costs for Mother's failure to purge
herself of the contempt.
On January 1, 2012, a child, CRB, was born to Mother and
Father in Gillette, Wyoming. On June 22, 2012, the Sixth
Judicial District Court, Campbell County, entered a
Stipulated Judgment and Order Establishing Paternity and
Support. The order established Father's paternity and set
his child support obligations. On February 11, 2013, Father
filed a petition to establish child custody and visitation,
by which he sought primary custody of CRB, subject to
Mother's reasonable visitation, as well as a
corresponding modification of child support.
On February 3, 2015, the district court held a hearing on
Father's petition. At the close of evidence and after
hearing closing arguments, the court issued an oral ruling.
The court ordered that the parties alternate custody of CRB
on a weekly basis until she reaches school age, at which time
Father would then have primary custody of the child, subject
to Mother's reasonable visitation. To address allegations
by Mother that Father used illegal drugs, the court commented
Now, on visitation, and this is a little bit different, but
as I say, the Court's a little bit skeptical, skeptical
about [Father's] claims to have been drug-free since
1997. Now, he may be of the view that that's exactly how
it was. And arguably, the testimony of Ms. Faye and Ms.
Draper was motivated by disaffection with [Father]. I mean
after all, he was married to Ms. Faye and then he wasn't
and she claimed he was carrying on with Ms. Draper; and who
knows. And they were friends, they were witnesses for
[Mother], so maybe they ginned this whole thing up, I
don't know. But arguably, mom has a comfort level that
needs to be met here on that front, and I'm going to try
and accomplish that in this way. This is a little bit
different, and I hope this works. Let me ask dad first, the
outfit where he got his drug test, is that open seven days a
week or just five days a week, do we know?
[Father's Counsel]: He may be able to say.
[Father]: I believe it's five days a week. I never asked.
THE COURT: All right. That's all I need to know.
Here's the Order: Mom is going to have the right, one
time per month, to require dad to submit to a five-panel drug
test within 24 hours of her request being made, so long as
that can be accomplished, mom, within the business hours of
the outfit that's doing the testing, and right now
it's Occupational Testing, it might be some other outfit
down the line. And if the test is negative, mom will have to
pay the cost of the test. If it's positive, then dad not
only will have to pay the cost of the test, but he will lose
his next week-long period of custody in the preschool era,
and once the child is in school, he will have to yield two
additional weekends in the month following to mom for
* * * *
[Father's Counsel]: Can I ask one more question about the
drug testing? Does mom need to submit a request in writing,
or an oral request is fine?
THE COURT: Well, that's a good question. I thought of
that when I announced the Order. And people these days, they
text each other. And as long as mom can prove she made the
request and dad received it, I think that's a little bit
easier than having some highly defined method of
communication. What do you think, [Mother's Counsel]?
[Mother's Counsel]: I think there has to be some type of
actual notice, just actual notice. You know, it can['t]
be he said she said, but text messages or something, it's
going to be up to [Mother] to request it in a way that she
can verify that the request was made.
THE COURT: That's the point I was trying to make. I
don't want to hamstring people.
[Father's Counsel]: All right. So as long as there was
notice that she ...